The work is in three movements.
It is scored for a large symphony orchestra comprising 2 flutes,piccolo (doubling flute), 2 oboes, cor anglais (doubling oboe), 2 clarinets (second doubling clarinet in E flat), bass clarinet (doubling clarinet), 3 bassoons (third doubling contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion instruments (four players), piano, celeste, 2 harps and strings. The symphony was the subject of harsh press criticism on account of its seemingly conservative style at a time when the European avant-garde style was in its ascendance. With time, however, it has been recognised as a mature, subtle and superbly crafted work with many refinements of orchestration, a characteristic of this composer. The finale is notable for its use of a twelve -tone Note-Row, a device used in Serial music.