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"The Tragedy of a Young Soldier" by Christopher D. Walker

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Published on Nov 7, 2011

Written and performed by Christopher D. Walker, "The Tragedy of a Young Soldier" is a story-driven piece for solo timpani. The score is available from Tapspace at http://www.tapspace.com.

"The Tragedy of a Young Soldier" is about a young, colonial period man who is called to war and dies on the battlefield.

The first movement ("Soldier's Theme") is a theme and variations that incorporates extremes in dynamics as well as technically challenging pedal work on the top drum. I like to think of his theme as if he were whistling. There is also some foreshadowing by the use of excerpts from "Taps" and "Amazing Grace."

The second movement ("Called to War") is his call to action. It starts off slow and almost inaudible. Then the frontline begins to charge! Multiple waves of battle occur until he is hit by some great explosion on the field.

The transition to the final movement ("The Aftermath") occurs through the eerie sound of the gong. Every drum is set with the pedals to their lowest setting allowing the drums to be somewhat indeterminate in pitch. Our hero is left to die alone, face down in the mud while the faint sounds of explosions are still felt all around. His spirit begins its final, lonesome march to the other side. The movement ends with the soldier's last heartbeats.

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