Book Reviews
Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
  • Subscribe
Pin it

Orchestal Excerpts for TimpaniOrchestral Excerpts for Timpani provides authentic parts for 57 of the most-requested audition excerpts for timpani. The enclosed 78-track audio CD includes these excerpts played by major orchestras, plus 21 play-along practice tracks. This unequaled collection is enriched by comments and performance suggestions by Randy Max, timpanist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, who also offers detailed tuning plans, advice for practicing timpani and ear training, and historical information. The latest addition to the hit Orchestral Excerpts series, this unique book with audio provides indispensable audition preparation material for timpanists of all levels, from student to professional.

REVIEW

Orchestral Excerpts for Timpani is a collection of parts, spanning 111 pages, from standard timpani audition repertoire, and comes with one audio CD which contains orchestral performances of each excerpt in the book, plus practice tracks.

After a brief preface from legendary percussionist/composer, William Kraft, the book starts out with an introduction explaining the various features in the book. It is these "features" that places this book in a league of its own ... more about that later.

Orchestral Excerpts for Timpani is organized by composer and includes:

SAMUEL BARBER

  • Medea’s Meditation and dance of Vengeance

BÉLA BARTÓK

  • Concerto for Orchestra
  • Music for String Instruments, Percussion, and Celesta
  • Piano Concerto No. 2
  • Violin Concerto No. 2

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

  • Symphony No. 1
  • Symphony No. 5
  • Symphony No. 7
  • Symphony No. 8
  • Symphony No. 9
  • Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
  • Violin Concerto

HECTOR BERLIOZ

  • Symphonie Fantastique

JOHANNES BRAHMS

  • Symphony No. 1

BENJAMIN BRITTEN

  • The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra

ELLIOTT CARTER

  • Variations for Orchestra

EDWARD ELGAR

  • Variations on an Original Theme, "Enigma"

PAUL HINDEMITH

  • Sympmphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber

GUSTAV MAHLER

  • Symphony No. 5
  • Symphony No. 7

FRANK MARTIN

  • Concerto for 7 Winds, Timpani, Percussion, and Strings

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

  • Symphony No. 39

SERGEI PROKOFIEV

  • Symphony No. 6

WILLIAM SCHUMAN

  • New England Triptych

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH

  • Symphony No. 1

RICHARD STRAUSS

  • Burleske
  • Der Rosenkavalier Suite

IGOR STRAVINSKY

  • The Rite of Spring

PIOTR ILYITCH TCHAIKOVSKY

  • Symphony No. 4

RICHARD WAGNER

  • Götterdämmerung

And now for the pièce de résistance.

Included with each excerpt:

  • A brief biography of the composer and historical information about the work.
  • A list of tempi — the score's notated tempo, as well as the clocked tempos from numerous cited recordings which is then averaged.
  • Tuning plans, in both American and German set-ups; up to three different tuning plans for pedaling excerpts (eg. Barber, Bartók, Strauss).
  • Commentary from the author with constructive comments on how to learn and practice each part/excerpt, including thoughts on mallet choice, stickings, dampening, pedaling and dynamics. There's also preferred stickings and tuning plans of several famous timpanists on some of the excerpts
  • An errata listing, meaning a list of mistakes/inconsistencies (eg. incorrect notes, dynamics, etc.) between the timpani part and the conductor score.
  • Audio examples from orchestral recording which best represent the "acceptable audition tempo"; "play-along" tracks, at various tempos, for those excerpts involving meter changes.

As you can see, there is an abundance of information here. For anyone preparing for a timpani audition, Randy Max has essentially done all of the time consuming work for you; collecting all the parts and finding good recordings. What took Randy years to compile, and not just the physical labor involved, but the wealth of his wisdom, experience and personal study, makes this book a MUST HAVE for all serious students and teachers of the instrument. Professionals will also find this book helpful in re-examining and strengthening their own performance practices.

Orchestral Excerpts for Timpani is more than just a book of excerpts — it's a monumental educational resource filled with historical data, technical details, and practical, sage advice — all the ingredients necessary to help one prepare for that next orchestral timpani audition.