Another Night at the Symphony

Last Saturday night I went to the Symphony again. This program was one I exchanged a ticket for since I wasn’t able to attend the original program. The featured soloist was a timpanist. I wasn’t sure what to expect which is probably why I hadn’t bought the ticket originally.

It was a very unusual program. Entering the hall, your eye was immediately drawn to a “cage” type structure to the left of the conductor’s podium. In it were a number of timpani (kettle drums) arranged on the floor and more smaller ones hanging from what was very similar to a pot rack in a chef’s kitchen. I learned that those hanging ones were called tenor timpani.

The soloist played a concerto which had been written for timpani. It almost turned him into a whirling dervish since in places he had to spin around and almost blindly strike the proper drum. He also had to tune the drums and adjust pedals (think they allowed the tuning). I read later that he spent a year working on this piece.

The second half of the program was a Schubert symphony and soon had us back to familiar sounding music.

The concert was unusual for another reason. I have no idea why but it was a “beer and pretzel” program. There are a number of craft breweries in the area and they were giving away samples of beer and had smallish pieces of think pretzels on long picks. I enjoyed the pretzels while others enjoyed the beer.

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