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Classical Music Review

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Mirrored Glass


Composers: Ann Southam and Philip Glass
Performed by: Taktus - Greg Harrison and Jonny Smith (marimbas)
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 24 January 2020

Greg Harrison and Johnny Smith, collectively known as Taktus, release an album of pieces performed by marimba. Mirrored Glass examines similarities and differences, like reality and the image in the mirror. Creating a two-sided album, percussionists Harrison and Smith take inspiration from piano composers Ann Southam and Philip Glass...

For some unfathomable reason, in some circles, there's still an element of snobbery when it comes to percussion instruments. Some see them as accompaniment only instruments. Taktus's Mirrored Glass takes that misconception and blows it out of the water.

Mirrored Glass sees percussionists Greg Harrison and Johnny Smith (aka Taktus) take inspiration from composers Ann Southam and Philip Glass as they transpose the spirit of their work to marimbas.

This really is an album of two-halves. The musical styles of Southam and Glass are completely different. Southam's pieces are upbeat and, mostly, fast-paced, whilst Glass's compositions are darker and almost cinematic.

On the first segment of the album, Taktus performs arrangements of Southam’s 'Glass Houses' and 'Rivers 1'. The second segment features arrangements of Glass’s 'Etudes' and 'Music in Contrary Motion'.

'Etude 5' reminded me of Carter Burwell's music for Being John Malkovich (1999) - it has a similar eerie quality and plodding pace.

If you previously shied away from percussion based releases, this could be the album that changes your view.


Darren Rea

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