Vala, Night of the Seventh refers to one of the Prophetic Books of William Blake, and to some specific lines:
"Thou knowest that the Spectre is in Every Man insane, brutish,
Deform'd, that I am thus a ravening devouring lust continually
Craving and devouring;.......
; but my eyes are always upon
Delusion, and I cannot crave for anything but thee: not so
the Spectre of the Dead, for I am as the Spectre of the Living."
The piece was written in November of 1974 and premiered the following year at the Experimental Theater at California Institute ofthe Arts. It was composed at a time when I was wrestling with the aesthetic crisis of how to create emotional response with the abstractions of nontonal materials. The tortured revelations of the Blake text spoke to my restlessness, and the piece continually floats between totally chromatic, free and more traditionally melodic elements. I envisioned the english horn as a lone, primeval voice in the interior blackness of Everyman's soul. I see Vala as a kind of abstract morality play.