Actually, back in the day, brass players and timpanists were the most revered musicians in an European court... mainly because they had the capacity to play loudly and thus create an air of majesty, grandeur and power.
...or that's what I've been told by a revered historian.
Ah, good to know. Thanks... I suppose my point was to say that percussion as an instrument wasn't nearly as favored by composers and the general populace back in the day as it is today, and that even if it was revered for certain sounds, it is adored even more so today.