In an acclaimed chapter on interpretation, Schweizer explores how timpanists can use knowledge of the composer's style, psychology, and musical intentions; phrasing and articulation; the musical score; and a conductor's gestures to effectively and convincingly play a part with emotional dynamism and power. The greater part of the book is devoted to the interpretation of Baroque and Classical orchestral and choral music. Meticulously drawing on original sources and authoritative scores from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, Schweizer convincingly demonstrates that timpanists were capable of producing a broader range of timpani tone earlier than is normally supposed. The increase in timpani size, covered timpani mallets, and thinner timpani heads increased the quality of timpani tone; therefore, today's timpanist's need not be entirely concerned with playing with very articulate sticks. In exhaustive sections on Bach, Handel, Haydn, and Mozart, Schweizer takes the reader on an odyssey through the interpretation of their symphonic and choral music.
Relying on Baroque and Classical performance practices, timpani notation, the composer's musical style, and definitive scores, he interprets timpani parts from major works of these composers. Schweizer pays particular attention to timpani tone, articulation, phrasing, and dynamic contouring: elements necessary to effectively communicate their part to listeners.
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