In the new issue of the magazine, I have a Salzburg chronicle, which includes a note on Martin Grubinger, the percussionist (and, as it happens, a Salzburg native):

Grubinger is an extraordinary musician (and I apply this word, “musician,” to a percussionist consciously). He is full of music. He is pulsing with music, bursting with it. In his hands, a whack is not a whack. There are a thousand degrees of whack. He is alive to every vibration, to every gradation of pressure. It is a pleasure to watch him work, as well as to hear him.

I thought you would get a kick out of a note from a reader, as I did. He is Scott Eddlemon, the executive director of the Symphony of the Mountains, in Tennessee.

During lessons with Saul Goodman, the great timpanist of the New York Philharmonic, we would play along with recordings of great symphonies. I would struggle to internalize his highly technical directions, as when, in an exciting passage, he would yell, “Whack it! But don’t bang!”

After four years of working through all the timpani repertoire from Haydn to William Schuman, I think I finally figured out the difference between the two. So, Jay, you chose your word wisely!

Now, ponder a remarkable fact: Saul Goodman was the principal timpanist of the New York Phil. from . . . 1926 to 1972.

Writes Mr. Eddlemon,

Goodman was amazing. I was honored to study with him—how many of us can say we studied with a musician who played for Toscanini? In fact, when I asked him whom he had studied with, he answered, “All the great conductors I ever played under.”

For years, he talked about writing a book—he already had the title, “A View from the Rear.” He never finished it, but happily one of his students put it together and recently published it. Great reading about the old days of music in NYC.

The book is here. And “A View from the Rear” is a perfect title. It belongs in a special category with the title of one of Gerald Moore’s memoirs (and remember, Moore was a pianist who spent most of his career accompanying singers): “Am I Too Loud?

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