Saturday night's Tilson Auditorium concert by the Terre Haute Symphony is titled "Enigma" and does include Elgar's famous piece, but it features Russell Peck's Timpani Concerto ‘Harmonic Rhythm.'
Instead of his usual obscure position in the back of the orchestra, Paul Walker and his five timpani and an arsenal of things to tickle, caress and beat upon them will be out front.
Walker has loved drums since as long as he can remember. "I really got the drumming bug early when I was just a kid," he says. "And not only that, but it was the timpani that really did it for me. Yes, I do play all of the percussion and I like the variety, but it's the timpani that I really like the best."
"It's the lowest voice and sometimes the audience may not hear it clearly, but it's vital to the overall sound. If the timpani is off the entire orchestra can't get in tune. It can't really sound with its fullest power." he adds.
Although the Peck Concerto is not in three separate sections Walker describes the parts. "There's a joyful opening, very straight forward and rhythmic. Then, the middle section is prettier and shows off the melodic qualities of the timpani. Finally, the last section is kind of barbaric and crazy. It summarizes the piece and really captures the heart of the timpani."
The Terre Haute Symphony conducted by David Bowden opens their concert with the overture to the folk opera The Bartered Bride by Bedrich Smetana followed by the Peck Concerto and concludes with Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations.