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Seven Deadly Sins, The

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Robert Xavier Rodríguez

Robert Xavier Rodríguez

General Info

Year: 1984
Duration: c. 17:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alhambra RXR available through G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Rental


1. Processional
2. Pride
3. Gluttony
4. Lust
5. Avarice
6. Envy
7. Anger
8. Sloth
9. Dies Irae
10. Recessional


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Pianos (2)
Timpani I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Antique Cymbals
  • Bag of pennies
  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos, large and small
  • Cash Register
  • Castanets
  • Chimes
  • Cowbell
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong, small
  • Pots and pans
  • Ratchet
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Suspended Finger Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks (5)
  • Tenor Drum
  • Tom-Tom, large and small
  • Trap Set
  • Tub of water
  • Vibraphone
  • Whip
  • Wind Chimes, glass
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Since its premiere in 1985, The Seven Deadly Sins has become a classic of the wind ensemble literature, with over 100 performances throughout the United States and Canada. Each instrumental group musically depicts one of the sins: trumpets = Pride, kettle drums = Gluttony, saxophones = Lust, clarinets = Avarice, other woodwinds = Envy, horns = Anger, low brass = Sloth. The work may be performed in a variety of production settings: as a fully staged ballet; in a partially staged concert version using theatrical devices such as slides, lighting, balloons, mimes, costumes and/or limited stage action by the instrumentalists themselves; or in the traditional concert format.

1. Processional. The Seven Deadly Sins enter quickly and pass in review: led by Pride (trumpets) and followed by Gluttony (timpani), Lust (saxophones), Avarice (clarinets), Envy (other woodwinds), Anger (horns), and finally, at a much lower tempo, Sloth (lower brass).

2. Pride is the longest movement. The image of Narcissus admiring his reflection in the water is portrayed by the trumpets, as they croon over an undulating piano/percussion accompaniment which wells up then recedes in palindrome, or mirror, fashion.

3. Gluttony is a vigorous toccata in which the timpani and pianos introduce a "gobbling" motif which is gradually taken up by the entire ensemble, accompanied by a cow bell and a rack of pots and pans. A "burp" from the brass, produced by popping into their mouthpieces leads directly to...

4. Lust, a short but passionate intermezzo for two intertwining pairs of saxophones.

5. Avarice begins with a cadenza in which five clarinets compete in a musical depiction of a dice game: two pairs of instruments "roll" unsuccessfully before a fifth player "strikes it rich" on a high B-flat and ushers in some spirited Dixieland, suggestive of a Bourbon Street night on the town. Strains of the hymn Let the Lower Lights Be Burning are also discernible. All of this quickly comes to an end when the money runs out -- literally, in this case, poured from a money bag into a tambourine.

6. Envy follows, a mournful adagio in which the flutes, oboes, and bassoons longingly repeat themes from the previous two Sins. The movement grows in intensity and leads to...

7. Anger, another toccata, in which the trumpets of Pride return, and, with the horns of Anger, lead the ensemble to a furious climax.

8. Sloth provides a respite from all this activity in the shortest movement of the ballet: twelve simple chords from muted trombones and tuba, accompanied by a gong which is submerged in a tub of water.

9. An excerpt from the Gregorian sequence for the dead, the Dies Irae, is intoned by the pianos and percussion in a stern commentary of the Seven Deadly Sins.

10. Recessional. The Sins again pass in review and file out in their original order.

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth) Wind Symphony (Eddie Airheart, conductor) – 16 April 2019
  • East Texas State University (Commerce) Wind Ensemble (Gary Hill, conductor) – 28 February 1985 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Perusal score
  • Robert Xavier Rodríguez website Accessed 8 January 2020
  • Rodríguez, R. (1984). The Seven Deadly Sins Ballet for Wind Ensemble and Percussion (1984) [score]. Alhambra Music: New York.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 513.