Concerto No. 2 for Timpani and Orchestra

The Grand Encounter

William Kraft

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Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

First came the commission from the San Francisco Symphony, initiated by Michael Tilson Thomas, a conductor whose musicianship and scholarship I have known and profoundly admired for decades, but also a man of fine and honestly felt humanity.

Then it was David Herbert, a truly great timpanist and musician ? one term referring to technical ability, the latter term referring to the essential comprehension of what the music is about.

Finally, it was the request by Michael to have the concerto fill the entire first half of the concert, a piece of around thirty minutes in length and in one movement. This I took as a challenge.

Stravinsky once said he needed a problem to solve before he could begin composing. For me the term ?challenge? works better for some reason, and this certainly was a challenge ? a challenge much heightened by David Herbert telling me he was having nine small timpani made to extend the range of the timpani up to ?A? 440.

Written in two overall parts, there is the option of putting a space between Part I and Part II or going straight on. Within these two parts are several sections. Most of the sections are variations and extensions of the three-note motive played by the timpani following a brief opening section. The following sections throughout the piece are concerned with varying the motive to give the sections independent identities.

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Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director, and written especially for David Herbert, Timpani soloist
Composition Date 2005, rev. 2006
Duration 00:30:00
Orchestration Solo Timp.; 3(dbl. 2Picc./dbl.AltoFl.) 3(dbl.E.H.) 3(dbl.B.Cl.) 3(dbl.Cbsn.) - 4 3 3(dbl.Bar.) 1; 4Perc. Pno.(dbl.Cel.) Hp. Str.
Premiere 9th-18th June, 2005 (7 performances). David Herbert, solo Timpani, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, California.

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