Drastic Measures (1976), Russell Peck

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Drastic Measures (1976), Russell Peck
Year of Composition: 1976    
Cantabile e molto rubato

Composer Biography

1945 —

RUSSELL PECK (born Detroit, 1945) is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he also received Master and Doctoral degrees in composition. His teachers have included Clark Eastham, Leslie Bassett, Ross Lee Finney, Gunther Schuller, and George Rochberg. Mr. Peck's orchestral compositions have received over 2,000 performances by more than 200 orchestras in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. These include major American orchestras such as Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Milwaukee, etc., Britain's London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic, and orchestral performances at Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center, and in Berlin, Warsaw, Barcelona, Kiev, Montreal and Singapore. Most recently a consortium of over 35 orchestras - the largest in history - has commissioned Mr. Peck's new timpani concerto Harmonic Rhytfun. The premiere performances begin in September 2000 and include a Carnegie Hall performance with Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony following performances in Kennedy Center.

Composition Notes

"During my brief university teaching career I came into contact with excellent saxophonists at Northern Illinois University who had a quartet and wanted a piece from me. That's how I came to write Drastic Measures in 1976. A year later I went to the School of the Arts in North Carolina where James Houlik had a great saxophone studio and a wonderful student quartet that became the New Century Saxophone Quartet. I touched up the piece for them and that became its final form."

"The first movement is slow, lyrical and polyphonic, highlighting the serious capabilities of the ensemble. The virtuosic second movement is more blues, jazz, and rock-oriented, and highly energized, even including slap-tongue accents. It's also rhythmically complex. What maintains the classical integrity of the piece despite the popular flavor in the second movement is its tight formal coherence. A three note motive heard as an accompaniment figure at the very opening of the first movement becomes the basis for the whole piece, reaching several climactic expressions in the second movement." - Russell Peck