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Works Without Narration


 

"Peck's pulsing rhythms audibly and visibly struck a chord ... and gave yesterday's show a flashy finish."
Richmond Symphony / Richmond Times-Dispatch

Although it begins in a Mozartian vein Don't Tread On Me quickly gets rugged with unequivocal rock influence, and is given a special energy by feroce string crossings. However, that does not make the piece difficult. The rhythms are straightforward and everything is idiomatic. That plus the extremely accessible nature of the piece (and its length) have allowed conductors to program it in many varied contexts.

duration: 3' 30"

(1995)

Recordings

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This is the finale movement of the string orchestra piece Signs of Life. The variety of colorful instrumental techniques (including "Peckzicatto"), sophisticated fast rhythms, and Delta Blues influence, have allowed conductors to program Signs of Life (Scherzo) in many varied contexts as a one movement string piece. However, unless already in an orchestra's repertoire, it is not easy to perform with little rehearsal.

duration: 6'

(1983)

Recordings

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Widely performed on classical concerts, this visually interesting and colorful percussion concerto has often appeared on educational/family concerts. The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed and broadcast the work under the direction of Keith Lockhart on its educational series; and many other orchestras have also been very successful with the work as presented for young people, high school students, and any context where a tremendous audience response is desired.

Confirming its visual appeal, a youth-concert production of The Glory and the Grandeur with Grammy-award winning conductor Thomas Conlin won first prize at the prestigious Houston International Video Competition in live musical performance.

Performable by the orchestra's percussion section or by guest artists.

Young audience member's after-concert comment:
"If I was you people I would play The Glory and the Grandeur every place I go."
Arronda McClain, 7th grade, South Ashboro Middle School

duration: 12'

(1995)

3(3rd db. picc.)/2/2+b.cl./2+cbn. - 4/3/3/1
timp. - 1 perc. - harp - strings -
solo percussion trio

(3 percussion soli perform in front of the orchestra)

Recordings

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"A stunning all-American blend of Broadway, chimes, brass band and the National Anthem, showcasing every part of the orchestra in three minutes time."
The Evansville Courier

duration:  3'

(1995)

2+picc./2/2+b.cl./2   4/3/3/1
timp.   2 perc.   strings

[Bass clar. is optional; cues are provided in other parts.]

For more information, review comments, etc. about this piece under the ORCHESTRAL WORKS listing, click here.


Allegro vivace throughout, Flying on Instruments draws upon jazzy, Latin, and Gospel-music flavors with massed strings and other sections featured as group soloists.

duration: 4'45"

(1997)

3(3rd db. picc.)/2+E.h./2+E-flat/2+dbn.   4/3/3/1
timp.   3 perc.   strings

Instrumentation may be reduced:

Flying on Instruments may be performed without
English horn and Contrabassoon.
Cues are provided in other instruments.

For more information, review comments, etc. about this piece under the ORCHESTRAL WORKS listing, click here.


Openly nostalgic with many style elements of traditional blues and Americana, Out of the Blue is a moderately-paced intermezzo.

duration: 8'45"

(1997)

3(3rd db. picc.)/2+E.h./2+E-flat/2+cbn. - 4/3/3/1
timp. - 3 perc. - strings

Instrumentation may be reduced:

Out of the Blue may be performed without
Flute III/piccolo, Oboe II, E-flat Clarinet, and Contrabassoon.
Cues are provided in other instruments.

For more information, review comments, etc. about this piece under the ORCHESTRAL WORKS listing, click here.


 

The Thrill Beyond Words is a purely instrumental version of The Thrill of the Orchestra, a pocket-sized (11 minute) concerto for orchestra. It allows one to hear the music of Russell's best-known piece, and its distinctive showcase of orchestral forces, without narration. The premiere performance was by the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra, conducted by its Music Director Bruce Kiesling. This was part of the 75th anniversary multi-media show honoring the historical Carolina Theatre, which commissioned the work.

duration: 11'

(2002)

3(3rd db. picc.)/2+E.h./2+b.cl./2+cbn.  4/3/3/1
timp.  3  perc.  strings
narrator

[The full-size orchestra may be reduced by the omission of any or all of the following instruments: fl. III, E.h., b.cl., cbn., tpt. III, perc. III. Cues for these instruments are provided in other parts.]

Recordings

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The second section (Allegro) by itself and various cut versions of the whole concerto have been played on youth concerts. In addition to its extremely accessible style, the visual interest of the timpani soloist, especially in the fast sections II and IV, provides action for any audience, including young people.

duration: 22'

(2000)

3(3rd db. picc.)/2+E.h./2+bass clar./2+cbn. - 4/3/3/1
2 perc. - piano - strings
solo timpani

For more information, review comments, etc. about this piece under the CONCERTOS listing, click here.


This is not a typical youth concert piece. Though it does contain some very loud and rhythmic music, it ends softly and is clearly about a serious topic. However, the Virginia Symphony found an effective place for Peace Overture on youth concerts entitled "Heroes and Human Rights" conducted by Wes Kenney.

duration: 11'

(1988)

3(3rd db. picc.)/2+E.h./2+b.cl./2+cbn. - 4/3/3/1
timp. - 4 perc. - piano - strings

Recordings

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Revolutionary Action is a short, high-energy rock-music piece based on the first section of Jack and Jill at Bunker Hill. The latter piece (with narration) is available on The Thrill of the Orchestra CD.

duration: 4'

(1995)

3(3rd db. picc.)/2+E.h./2+b.cl./2+cbn.   4/3/3/1
timp.   2 perc. (incl. drumset)   harp   strings

[The orchestra may be reduced by the omission of any or all of the following instruments:
fl. II, E.h., b.cl., cbn., tpt. III, harp. Cues for these instruments are provided in other parts.]

Recordings

For more information, review comments, etc. about this piece under the ORCHESTRAL WORKS listing, click here.