This volume, the third in a trilogy entitled The Timpani, represents a unique iconographical and documentary history of the timpani. Combining a wealth of pictorial material with extensive written sources, it offers a rich and comprehensive survey of the instrument's history from the middle ages to the present. This series of books fills a gap of long standing in the published literature of kettledrums by providing a combination of visual and descriptive evidence. Presented here is a wide-ranging pictorial lode drawn from a variety of sources-for example paintings; baroque organ cases topped by angel-musicians; engravings from books describing court festivals; prints and drawings; wood carvings; and photographs. Written references reflect a wide and fascinating panoply of descriptions concerning the construction, musical contexts and performance techniques of the timpani-for example, eyewitness accounts chronicling the role of instruments at various historical events; archival documents dealing with payments to musicians or the make-up of instrumental ensembles; regulations concerning court musicians; and even patent specifications.
The Timpani Supplement II: Still More Pictures and Documents is another fascinating and most unusual book of interest not only to performing musicians, teachers and scholars alike, but one which provides the general reader or music-lover with a glimpse into the world of a hitherto neglected musical instrument.
November 18, 2014
Bowles presents more material on the big drums, referring each picture and document to a page in the introduction to Volume One . The pictures range from painting from the Mughal Dynasty during the 16th century to photographs of drums and drummers in 2014, all in black and white. The documents begin in 1151 and the Second Crusade and include mention of kettle drums in relation to King Charles II in 1661, Catherine the Great in Moscow in 1731, Napoleon's 1810 birthday, Gustave Mahler in 1901, and timpanist David D. Wuliger being beaten to death in Houston at age 76 in 1998. The final document reports on the retirement of Louis Charbonneau in 2003 after 48 years with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Edmund A. Bowles:
An acknowledged expert in the history and performance of the timpani, about which he has written and lectured extensively. He studied timpani with Lawrence White of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Hermann Ommen of the Hessian State Orchestra in Wiesbaden while serving in the Army in Germany towards the end of WWII, and attended the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. In addition, he has been an occasional performer of baroque timpani and participated in early music ensemble recordings of Handel's Messiah.
Dr. Bowles has published widely in the areas of musical iconography, late medieval musical instruments and performance practices, musical ensembles in court festivals of state, and the impact of technology on musical instrument-building. In addition to this present series, his books include Musikleben im 15. Jahrhundert (Leipzig, 1977), Musical Performance in the Late Middle Ages (Geneva, 1983), and Musical Ensembles in Festival Books, 1500-1800: An Iconographical and Documentary Survey (Ann Arbor, 1989. In addition to dozens of articles in scholarly journals, he has contributed to the Dictionary of the Middle Ages, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the New Harvard Dictionary of Music, and the several New Grove dictionaries.
Dr. Bowles is a member of the American Musical Instrument Society and served on its board of directors. He received the Society's Nicholas Bessaraboff Prize for promoting the history, design and use of musical instruments, and was a recipient of its Curt Sachs Award in recognition of his distinguished contribution to the study of musical iconography, performance practices, the history of the timpani, and the use of technology in the service of the arts and humanities.