The cornerstone of Jones’s prolific output is the Symphony, memorably described by him as ‘a dramatic structure with an emotive intention’. He tackled the form afresh with each of his thirteen examples, deliberately aiming at differences of character, duration, form, rhythm, thematic or harmonic material, difficulty and orchestration.
The first twelve of his symphonies are based on a different note of the chromatic scale. He maintained that he never set out with this unique goal in mind, but he realised that he could achieve it after he had completed his Seventh.
Though each of Jones’s thirteen symphonies is a unique and highly personal statement, the cycle as a whole, which dates from 1947 to 1992 and thus spans virtually his entire career as a mature composer, maintains an unwavering consistency of quality and vision. He demonstrates a steadfast integrity throughout, never bowing to the latest trends.
The Twelfth Symphony (1985) was commissioned by the Civil and Public Services Association as a farewell gift to their retiring General Secretary, Ken Thomas.
Jones described his main purpose in writing the symphony as being 'to communicate as directly and succinctly to the audience as possible'. The sectional structure of the work is straightforward. The outside movements basically follow the Sonata Allegro pattern.
Daniel Jones's Symphony in memory of John Fussell (Symphony no.13) (1992). The work is a personal tribute to a friend of the composer, who was Swansea's Director of Music and City Organist from 1970 until 1990, the year of his death.
The headings of the four movements were suggested by Jones as an approximate description of their character: each passes through many moods.