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Seven Steps from Hell

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Michael Schelle

Michael Schelle

General Info

Year: 1985
Duration: c. 12:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: MMB Music
Cost: Score and Parts - On Request   |   Score Only - $34.95


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV

(percussion breakdown needed)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The basic compositional structure of Seven Steps from Hell is the direct result of the fusion of two initial concerns: ancient oriental philosophy and autobiographical elements (with just a passing nod to the jazz classic, Seven Steps to Heaven). Both are interrelated and evolved/occurred quite spontaneously and simultaneously during the initial stages of the composition of the work. The work incorporates a number of direct and indirect oriental references. The evolution of this aspect of Seven Steps from Hell owes its history to many varied "inspirational" events that accumulated to form a base "philosophical" structure. Events ranging from personal Chinese fortune cookie messages and "analysis" of the low budget Godzilla films, to studies of certain oriental philosophies and direct ancient Chinese folk chants blended to create an approach that began to relate to the "autobiographical" concerns of the time.

The work is divided into three primary sections, with each comprised of two sub-sections. The seventh "step", then, is the interaction of the opening and closing measures which, similar in musical materials, suggest an "open-ended" or cyclical approach. The work concludes with a brass harmonization of the ancient Chinese folk tune, "Chu Tau Ko," as a direct assistance to the conclusion of both initial concerns mentioned earlier (oriental and autobiographical concerns). The text of "Chu Tau Ko" seems to directly apply to the composer's own professional and personal concerns at the time..."In your hands you hold the hoe, rooting out the weeds so rice can grow...this ancient land must grow, freedom lies beneath your hoe..."

Seven, historically a magical and mysterious notion and number, is also a formal and structural numeral in the work, having to do with intervals, subsections, motives, etc. Finally, in reference to the title, the question remains: Is one moving closer to ...or further away from...

Seven Steps from Hell was commissioned for the Illinois Wesleyan University Wind Ensemble.

Program Note by Michael Schelle


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer


None discovered thus far.