Principal percussion has explosive final bash of the year

Principal percussion has explosive final bash of the year


norman lebrecht

January 01, 2021

A message from Graham Johns, principal percussionist of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Make sure you watch to the end.



  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Wonderful. I would like to see (hear) Mr Johns in Mahler 8.

    • christopher storey says:

      I remember his splendid part , now too many years ago, in Bolero . It was the first time I had ever seen a live performance, and until then I had not realised what a tour de force of both concentration and stamina it is for the tympanist

      • Maestro51 says:

        The test of stamina and concentration falls on the shoulders of the snare drummer. 27 minutes of the same two-measure rhythmic pattern. The timpani part is really nothing too special in comparison.

        • M2N2K says:

          Don’t exaggerate: even Celibidache at his slowest would not have been able to stretch Ravel’s Bolero to “27 minutes”.

      • Greg Bottini says:

        “I had not realised what a tour de force of both concentration and stamina it is for the tympanist”….
        ….to stay awake.
        It’s the snare drummer who plays all the way through.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      No hammer in M8, but huge tam-tam smashes at the end of Part II.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        I mean the strondous drum in the beginning of the first movement. Mahler had a specially designed drum; the Concertgebow Orch. also has one.

    • Novagerio says:

      Don’t you mean Mahler 6?

  • christopher storey says:

    That should be percussionist !

  • Violin Accordion says:

    The go to choice for eliminating antisocial neighbours

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Now HERE’S some Mahler 6 humor:

  • Greg Bottini says:

    He should lay a Timex wristwatch on that thing to see if the watch truly “takes a licking and keeps on ticking”.
    (People of a certain age will get the reference.)

  • Karl says:

    Thor couldn’t do any better.

  • Albert Dock says:

    Must have took a lot of talcum powder!

  • John Borstlap says:

    The picture actually shows the box of the Liverpool Phil wherein they put players who protest too much during rehearsels, thereby wasting costly rehearsel time. The round hole is for the breathing and the man next to the contraption is an usher specially hired to hammer the head back into the box when it appears again with its expostulations.

  • Irene Wynne George says:

    Oh Graham that is better than the one we did with the BBC Northern years ago when recording at the Salford University.Kevin brought the plaster off the wall.Good fun!!!
    Irene ♬♫XXĞ

  • Edgar Self says:

    The last time I saw the CSO play Mahler’s Sixth, each time the hammer-stroke neared, a round spotlight surrounded the percussionist at center rear stage on a riser, just to be sure we didn’t miss it. Small chance of that! EMT’s were in attendance with resuscitators.