The solos in this concert series were written for the percussionist who is looking for recital and audition pieces that are challenging for the performer and enjoyable for the audience.
Finding quality timpani etudes and solos that do not sound cliche or predictable can be a challenge. Thankfully, this collection of pieces offers music that is challenging while remaining attainable for most timpani students. The music incorporates a variety of tuning schemes and rhythmic treatments, and approaches timpani from an idiomatic perspective, rather than music for four or five toms/surfaces.
Drawing on his orchestral performance experience, the composer has included many passages and themes that mimic those found in standard orchestral repertoire, such as rolls between drums, sixteenth-note passages and tuning relationships of dominant-tonic. In addition to some “expected” musical ideas, Timothy Adams also incorporates more complex challenges for the perfomer, including quintuplets, tunings of augmented fourth relationships, and fast, rhythmic passages that dance across all the drums in rapid succession. Where this collection falls short is that Adams offers no instruction with regard to tunings, number of drums, opening pitches, dampenings or stickings. While this can be good (students will have to figure it out themselves), it could prove frustrating to young percussionists.
I appreciate that Adams gave each etude a title (“Arch,” “Elegy,” “Statement,” “Like Water” and “Branches”) that relate to the nature and character of the piece. Every musician enjoys performing music with a title, as opposed to “Etude 4 from so-and-so’s book.” These pieces, which range from three to five minutes, can be utilized effectively in private instruction, performing in a studio class or compiled together for a suite to be performed in public. These aspects will serve students and audience members alike and are worth considering for your library.
— Joshua D. Smith, Percussive Notes — July 2017