To be busy with the past means not necessarily nostalgie or conservatism. This would be only true if you look on tradition and progress like a pair of opposite, if you can discover in the past only the sediments and not the potential, if you would interpretate the history of music (and all history?) as a one-lined progression, as a systematic development from inferiority to superiority, so as an arrow and not as a network, which connects ideas, materials, archetyps over the centuries.
As already "Sept Variations" Sept Nouvelles Variations works with elements, moments, materials of seven partly famous (even popular), partly unknown compositions of the past (Offenbach, Brahms, Schubert, Bruckner, Grieg, Schumann, Monteverdi), of which opera scenes are at the beginning and end, and their selection is based solely on the fact that they were close to me at the time of composing, persecuted me.
In the literal sense of 'Variation' I 'varied' the given on the basis of seven different approaches: merged and extended far-distant bars (I.), released four upbeat notes (II.), separated melody from harmony (III.), isolated rhythm whilst simultaneous pitch reduction (IV.), put own materials contrasting against the original, opening in a synthesis (V.), let harmonics and the resulting melody emerge in two mutually moving levels (VI.) and interrupt phrases, defoliate, then melt away and freeze (VII.).
Unintentionally, I went in other directions than in the earlier orchestral piece: the originals are usually encircled so long by their own components until their momentary forthcoming appearance seems inevitable. So they are recognizable in different grades and extents, then flash up shortly like found again jewels, now perhaps with a deeper experience; the originals are no quotations but moments come to theirselves, arised from a strange context, which hit and blured their presence.