According to Milan Kundera, symphonic music is a journey through the world, through ever-changing landscapes. It can, according to Rautavaara, also be a journey through human life. The title of the 8th symphony,"The Journey", also had a concrete reason; one of the motifs in the third, slow movement is sung in Rautavaara's opera Thomas to the words "This journey goes on... whose is it? - Of one who wanders from the end of the journey? ...beyond time?...". The symphony (1999) is in four movements. The first is peaceful, proceeding in long sweeps. The symphony having been commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Rautavaara was able to make the second movement an extremely virtuosic, technically demanding scherzo. The third movement is a slow, poetic episode beginning and ending with the 'signature' motif. The finale is a broad stream. Einojuhani Rautavaara's large-scale works have almost always ended in silence. According to the composer, the 8th symphony nevertheless wanted to end fortissimo - con grandezza.