Symphony No. 7 (Sessions)

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The Symphony No. 7 of Roger Sessions was written in 1967 for the 150th anniversary of the University of Michigan (Prausnitz, p. 285). It was premiered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on October 1, 1967, by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jean Martinon.[1][2]


The symphony is scored for three flutes, three oboes, four clarinets, three bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, one tuba, timpani, percussion, piano, harp, and strings.[3]

Structure and character[edit]

It is in three movements:

  1. Allegro con fuoco
  2. Lento e dolce
  3. Allegro misurato – Tempo I, ma impetuoso – Epilogue: Largo[2]

Andrea Olmstead describes all of Sessions's symphonies as "serious" and "funereal", with No. 7 being one of four with, "quiet reflective endings."[4]

The composer said that the symphony was influenced by the Story of O.[5]


  1. Peter Leonard/Louisville Orchestra (Louisville First Edition Records LS 776, 1981. With Sessions' Divertimento for Orchestra.)
  2. Dennis Russell Davies/American Composers Orchestra (Argo 444 519-2, 1995. Symphonies 6, 7, 9.)


  1. ^ "Chicago Symphony Premieres 1966–1990" (PDF). Retrieved 10 September 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "UMS Concert Program, October 1, 1967: Chicago Symphony Orchestra". University Musical Society (Ann Arbor). 1 October 1967. Retrieved 15 August 2015.  External link in |website= (help)
  3. ^ "Presser's Roger Sessions Symphony No. 7 Page". Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Olmstead, Andrea (2012). Roger Sessions: A Biography, p.356. Routledge. ISBN 9781135868925.
  5. ^ Andrea Olmstead, Roger Sessions: A Biography (New York: Routledge, 2008}: 360. ISBN 978-0-415-97713-5 (cloth); ISBN 978-0-415-97714-2 (pbk); ISBN 978-0-203-93147-9 (ebook).


  • Prausnitz, Frederik. Roger Sessions: How a "Difficult" Composer Got That Way. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-19-510892-2.

Further reading[edit]

  • Imbrie, Andrew. "The Symphonies of Roger Sessions". Tempo (new series), no. 103 (December 1972): 24–32.