Composer: Magnus Ohlsson
Duration: approx. 6 min.
Timpania is based on famous excerpts from the classical timpani literature. The piece is basically meant for auditions, but also appropriate for concert performance. It is requested to present this etude with great respect towards the style, colour and sound of the original composers.
The excerpts are taken from:
1. Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, 3rd movement going into the 4th movement
2. Brahms: Symphony No. 1, 4th movement
3. Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
4. Tjajkovskij: Symphony No. 4, with some quotes from Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
5. Britten: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
6. Mahler: Symphony No. 5, 1st movement
7. Mahler: Symphony No. 5, finale of the 5th movement
8. Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, 4th movement
9. Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, 1st movement
About the composer +
Magnus Ohlsson is principal tympani player in Malmö Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He studied music in Malmö musikgymnasium for Peter Winberg and after this at the Royal Danish Musikacademy for Bent Lyllof and Poul Leerhöj. He also played with various Orchestras in Denmark and Sweden. Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Danish Radio Entertainment Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra Malmö Opera Orchestra, Umeå Sinfonietta.
Review (Percussive Notes, April 2020)
Many composers over the years have include significant orchestral excerpts in their timpani etudes and solo works—Delécluse, Hochrainer, Firth, and Peyton to name a few. Pedagogically, these solos provide an excellent, small-scale vehicle to discuss particulars within a player’s approach or a composer’s aesthetic; however, many of these pieces focus on either one composer or one specific technique within an excerpt, missing the larger picture of capturing the skills required for successful execution of a multitude of excerpts. Magnus Ohlsson’s solo seeks to fill this void in the solo timpani repertoire.
Written for four drums and requiring some fast tuning during and between phrases, “Timpania” utilizes nine orchestral excerpts for timpani, arranged and connected into one piece using some original ideas to bridge each musical selection. These excerpts include: Beethoven, “Symphony No. 5”; Brahms, “Symphony No. 1”; Bartok, “Concerto for Orchestra”; Tchaikovsky, “Symphony No. 4”; Britten, “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”; Mahler, “Symphony No. 5”; and Beethoven, “Symphony No. 9.” Ohlsson does a good job of staying true to the source material and including a sufficient chunk of the original so each section feels complete. Although somewhat spliced together, Ohlsson arranges the excerpts in a way that moves the music forward and provides for a climactic and exciting end.
“Timpania” is much more useful as a study work than a performance piece; Ohlsson himself refers to the piece as an etude in the program notes. In order to properly play this piece in its entirety, performers need to be aware of the stylistic nuances between each composer and excerpt, providing a great teaching tool in lessons to help develop students’ tone, color, touch, and ear toward the variety of musical periods represented in the six-minute solo. Ohlsson’s compilationwould be well suited for a graduate student in lessons as well as an undergraduate student’s end-of-semester performance as a culmination of excerpts studied throughout the year.
Front Cover image: Gaia Gomes
Engraving: Magnus Ohlsson & Johan Svitzer
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark