The Final Precipice (1993) by Jeffrey Peyton
Instrumentation: 5 timpani and tape
Duration: 10 minutes
The Final Precipice, composed for five timpani and computer generated tape, won the 1995 Percussive Arts Society Composition Competition prize. Jeffrey Peyton endeavored to write an acoustic percussion piece that blended well with computer generated soundscapes. Although the sounds may seem outdated by today’s standards, the harmonic overtone qualities of the timpani mix quite well with the MIDI sounds of the electronic track.
Peyton, a timpanist himself, insists that the piece should be subtitled “Concerto for Timpani.” The work absolutely reflects a concerto in its form and structure. There are three distinctive sections: an exciting opening and active melodic phrases, a slow and ethereal section consisting of rolls in the low drums, and an up-tempo finale which features triplet rhythms.
Jeffrey Peyton is an active percussion teacher, performer, and composer residing in Portland, Oregon. He is Professor of Percussion at Portland State University. Additionally, he serves as the Principal Timpanist of the Oregon Ballet Theatre and the Oregon Bach Festival, and is a percussionist with the Portland Symphony. Peyton’s compositions have been performed and recorded throughout the world, and are published by his own Cascadia Publications. – Christine Augspurger