Seven O’Clock Shout

for Orchestra

Commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra

Valerie Coleman

Duration: 5' 24"
Instrumentation:2+picc, 1+corang, 2, 2 - 2, 2, 1, 1 - timp, 3 perc, hp, str

Conductor's Score


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The virtual premiere was held on July 6th, 2020 at the direction of Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Seven O’Clock Shout is an anthem inspired by the tireless frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the heartwarming ritual of evening serenades that brings people together amidst isolation to celebrate life and the sacrifices of heroes. The work begins with a distant and solitary solo between two trumpets in fanfare fashion to commemorate the isolation forced upon human kind, and the need to reach out to one another. The fanfare blossoms into a lushly dense landscape of nature, symbolizing both the caregiving acts of nurses and doctors as they try to save lives, while nature is transforming and healing herself during a time of self-isolation.

When a composer has the rare opportunity to create for musicians they have gotten to know, the act of composing becomes an embrace tailored to the personality and capabilities of the musicians with elements of both challenge and appreciation. One such moment is dedicated to humanity and grace, as a clarinet solo written for Ricardo Morales, followed by a flute solo with both Jeffrey Khaner and Patrick Williams in mind, providing a transition into a new upbeat segment. Later, to continue tradition from the first commission the composer received from the orchestra, a piccolo solo dedicated to Erica Peel dances with joy.

It was suggested that a short work for a debut by multi-track recording could account for the ensemble performing together as if they were in the same room. One of the devices used to address this is the usage of Ostinato, which is a rhythmic motif that repeats itself to generate forward motion and in this case, groove. The ostinato patterns here are laid down by the bass section, allowing the English horn and strings to float over it, gradually building up to that moment at 7pm, when cheers, claps, clangings of pots and pans, and shouts ring through the air of cities around the world! The trumpets drive a infectious rhythm, layered with a traditional Son clave rhythm, while solo trombone boldly rings out an anthem within a traditional African call and response style. The entire orchestra ‘shouts’ back in response and the entire ensemble rallies into an anthem that embodies the struggles and triumph of humanity. The work ends in a proud anthem moment where we all come together with grateful hearts to acknowledge that we have survived yet another day.

The Philadelphia Orchestra performs Seven O'Clock Shout

Valerie Coleman talks about Seven O'Clock Shout

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