It was October 2009 when I began working on the first movement of this symphony. The other parts were roughly sketched in the following weeks and months. Early 2010 I was able to set out the entire structure of the symphony, based on the material I had by that time. From the early days of this work, it was clear to me its layout would be unconventional, simply because the whole symphony would be composed of not less than 7 distinct movements.
This symphony was also the first of my works to carry the musical signature C-A-A-E-ut(C)-sol(G), CAnAEUS, which is being used in the 1st and 6th movements. The main theme heard in the 1st movement, returns at the end of the Interludium and at the end of the Finale. Basically this symphony is split in 3 parts: movements 1 and 2 ending with an Interludium (movement 2b); movements 3 and 4 ending with the "Signatura" - which is entirely composed using the above mentioned musical signature and finally, part 3, the Finale.
IV.Movement 3 (4)
V.Movement 4 (3)
(This symphony can be listened to on my page https://composersforum.ning.com/profile/Canaeus)
The original movement 4 was completely replaced in October 2011 by some sketches I made for a slower and slightly more tranquil movement, which held more promise as the opening for part 2 of the symphony, so its order was also switched with movement 3, changing the existing movement 3 to 4. Both current movements 1 and 3 are in a very emotional way reminiscent of some music by Shostakovich. In a sense this whole symphony was also conceived in a former personal style of mine as a praise to Shostakovich (especially in the Finale in which I used Shostakovich's musical signature and some elements from his 8th string quartet) -which I regard as highly influental to my personal musical development. And this former "old" style of mine also posed a great problem to me in regard to the completion of this opus. It was started in the autumn of 2009, but only finished in 2012, a time in which I have already developed a different personal musical style.
The "minimalist-baroque"-style I use these days, stands in sharp contrast to the style of this First Symphony. Despite these almost conflicting styles there are still a great deal of similarities, and I still see this symphonic work as most vital to the later works I composed. The works composed prior to this symphony were often born out of sketches I made in Cubase, and which were then exported and completed in a music notation program such as Sibelius. This symphony was among the first major works entirely composed on either paper or in Sibelius, except the Finale, which was born out of some ideas I made in Cubase.
Some people have asked me what the "story" was behind this symphony. "It has some dramatic, violent and dark movements, so there has to be a story behind it", they reasoned. In a sense there is, but at the same time there isn't. It wasn't conceived around a single theme or story. That is also the reason why I decided early on not to give it any specific name, as happens so often with symphonies. If there would ever have been "a story" involved, it would be more like a "cluster of sentiments, interests".
I already mentioned Shostakovich, but I would also like to mention the subsequent Arab revolts taking place from early 2011 throughout the year (and probably years to come)... Perhaps they have been of influence to the mood in the music too, although I consider myself not to be a composer working on "moods of the day". Dark music could have been easily written on a bright sunny summer holiday, while more uplifting music could very well have been composed on a depressing rainy autumn day. Personal mood doesn't necessarily influence my musical mood, but most of the time works the other way around. Music truly is a universal emotional language. So I hope that the "language" I speak with my music, reaches its purpose: to touch and move hearts.
Canaeus, Antwerp, May 2012.