NOMINEE: 2017 ECMA for Classical Recording of the Year

Glass Houses for Marimba
Music by Ann Southam

Performed and arranged by Taktus
Greg Harrison, percussion
Jonny Smith, percussion

***#9 on CBC Music’s Top 10 Classical Recordings of 2015***

« …this album succeeds on all fronts. » I Care if You Listen

« …absolutely brilliant recording… » – Scene Mag

« The playing throughout the CD was impeccable and articulate. » – The WholeNote Magazine

« The percussion duo Taktus wasn’t even on our radar until Centrediscs dropped this sonic bomb in July, and now we’re superfans. » – CBC Music

Ann Southam’s Glass Houses (1981) is a stunning collection of Canadian minimalist music. Combining smooth, soaring melodies with intricate counter-rhythms, each piece takes the listener on a journey through a gradually unfolding sonic experience. Inspired by the music of Philip Glass, Ann originally composed these pieces for solo piano. The brilliance of these works is the continual shifting of the rhythmic melodies against the metric bass line. The Glass Houses collection is a hallmark of 20th Century Canadian composition.

Greg Harrison and Jonny Smith, the young Canadian percussion duo known as Taktus, have arranged several of the Glass Houses as duets for marimba. The percussive nature of the marimba accentuates the rhythmic interplay between melody and bass line. The warm harmonic resonance of the instrument’s wooden keys give the music a new sound and vibe. The Taktus arrangements are a modern and creative reshaping of Ann’s classic works.

Ann’s delight in hearing one of these arrangements was the impetus for these new marimba versions to be recorded. Now, after almost six years of shaping and refining their arrangements, the Taktus duo presents their debut album, Glass Houses for Marimba. Dynamic and compelling minimalist music from one of Canada’s most renowned composers, arranged and performed by two creative contemporary artists.

Track List:

1. Glass Houses No. 5

2. Glass Houses No. 13

3. Glass Houses No. 1

4. Glass Houses No. 7

5. Glass Houses No. 8

6. Glass Houses No. 9


« A great recipe relies on quality ingredients and flawless execution, and this album succeeds on all fronts, from composition to arrangement, performance and sonics. Marc O’Brien’s cover art is on the nose, and at the same time striking and contemporary. Glass Houses for Marimba is a standout among hundreds of releases by Centrediscs (many of them Canadian essentials) since its inception in 1981 » – Bruce A. Russel, I Care if You Listen

« Renowned Canadian composer Ann Southam created a series of minimalist pieces for solo piano during the Eighties that took their cue from the deceptively simple sounds that characterized the work of Philip Glass. Southam’s works created a stir in the music landscape at the time of their introduction to the world and their resonance is destined to generate everwidening ripples with this absolutely brilliant recording of six of those pieces arranged for marimba by Taktus. This duo (Greg Harrison and Jonny Smith) have taken a loving approach to these ethereally beautiful compositions and in the process used the unique acoustic properties of the marimba to bring out colours and tonalities that serve to take this music to even greater heights. Ambient music redefined and renewed. » – Rod Nicholson, Scene Mag

« As presented by Taktus, this set of pieces from Southam’s Glass Houses is mesmerizing. The playing is impeccable and sensitive, the pick-up is clean, and the playback sound is rich. My one regret is that the disc lasts only forty-six minutes, leaving ample room for more of this captivating music. I would have been very pleased to hear the duo perform additional pieces from Glass Houses or another of Southam’s works. Nevertheless, I give this disc my highest recommendation. » Timothy Maloney, CAML Review

« The album is very much a delight to hear. Southam is complex and inventive enough that repeated hearing continues to unfold the music for you; it is tunefully effective enough that every time you hear it is pure pleasure. I can’t think of any music better suited for two excellent marimba players! Get this one with no fear. It is exceptional–a tribute to the continuing relevance of Ann Southam and to the fine virtuosity of Taktus. » – Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Music

This recording generously supported by:

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. / Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.