The percussion ensemble, Smoke and Mirrors plays as if all five musicians were one person. The musical selections on this album are refreshingly fully-developed works, each very different from the others, each with its own story. As a whole, these pieces illustrate the breadth of contemporary classical music written for percussionists, as well as the flexibility and virtuosity of Smoke and Mirrors percussion ensemble.
Smoke and Mirrors uses rhythm, pitch and timbre to create intensely effective experiences. The recording includes compositions by Steve Reich, Eric Whitacre, Happenstance, a world premiere recording by Derek Tywoniuk, and works by Toru Takemitsu and Ravel. It opens with Reich’s complex Nagoya Marimbas which shows off the virtuosity of the ensemble. Together the five musicians weave into filaments of sound and rhythm as if they were one person.
Sleep is based on Whitacre’s beautiful choral work; this stunning arrangement preserves the essence of the choir, creating an equally beautiful percussion soundscape. Toru Takemitsu’s Rain Tree is a quiet contemporary work which continuously metamorphoses itself in a smooth sea of tonality. Closing the album is Ravel’s Sonatine, a naturally rhythmic composition that showcases the true spirit of Ravel’s music.