Music: Concerto for Skins

"Oompah! Oom-pah!" muttered the tympanist as he lashed about in a semicircle, flailing out a solo on his five kettledrums. Then he took a cue from Conductor Howard Mitchell, launched a new flight that moved him to rumble out a profound "Ye-e-a-ah!" For all its appearance of a tribal dance the occasion was a regular concert of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington. The piece, entitled Concerto for Five Kettledrums and Orchestra, was an answer to a tympanist's dream: being liberated from his exile at the rear of the orchestra and placed out...

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