Orchestral Music
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The music of Russell Peck: Brilliant, ApproachableŃCharged with Energy!

Russell Peck (1945-2009). Peck's music is vibrant, energetic and accessible for all audiences, and has been arranged on this CD as a short concert. All of the music is for full orchestra except the first piece, which is for string orchestra. "My musical beginnings were Mozart and Motown," Peck used to say. He was influenced by his father, an avid symphony fan and professional singer, who "listened to Mozart on the radio, practiced barbershop quartet singing in the basement, and also did radio chorus work with the Detroit Symphony," and who wanted Russell to become a composer. Peck also appreciated Motown, then in its Detroit heyday. "I loved it. It inspired me just as the great composers did," he said. After receiving a doctorate in composition from the University of Michigan, Peck became the Ford Foundation composer-in-residence for the city of Indianapolis, followed by a short period of university teaching. "During the 1970s I was developing a very successful career in composing and narrating my own works, such as Jack and Jill at Bunker Hill for young people's concerts with major orchestras. Then came 1978. I dropped out of music altogether to make ending global starvation my sole priority, which I pursued at the United Nations. The period when I did this exclusively finally ended with my writing Signs of Life and the other pieces on this CD."
Russell Peck, composer
The Glory and the Grandeur
Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Paul Polivnick, conductor

Russell Peck, composer
Signs of Life II
Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Paul Polivnick, conductor
first movement performed by ensemble from the Colorado Symphony Orchestra

Russell Peck, composer
The Upward Stream
London Symphony Orchestra, James Houlik, saxophone, Paul McRae, conductor

Russell Peck, composer
Peace Overture
London Symphony Orchestra, Paul McRae, conductor

"Russell Peck's works are brilliant, vivacious, approachable, and charged with energy... The Glory and the Grandeur is 13 minutes of percussion dynamite, while The Upward Stream seems to me one of the better saxophone concertos written recently. All of this music radiates a sense of good, healthy fun, and it sustains repetition. Performances and recording are uniformly excellent. I hope this disc sparks more interest in a composer who cares about his audience, and whose music reflects his concert without compromise or condescension." (Fanfare)
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