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Mirrors of Emptiness

Composer: Grigory Smirnov

Instrument: Marimba and Digital Delay

Level: Advanced

Published: 2008

Price: €20.00


Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration: 15 min.

      Digital delay (echo) produces reflections of sound like a mirror produces reflections of light. Sound of marimba reminded me of something empty: marimba actually uses a physical emptiness for the acoustic resonance. I thought about how emptiness can produce some illusion of ‘fullness’ just through numerous reflections of itself. In the same way some of our ‘empty’ thoughts growing by external reflections and repetitions may produce an ‘empty’ reality.

  • Instrumentation +
    • Marimba
      Computer (Digital Delay)

  • Watch+
    • Performed by Jia-Jia Quai


      Performed by Denis Petrunin

  • About the composer +
    • A native of Siberia, Grigory Smirnov is a composer and pianist living in New York. His music has been performed around the globe in major venues, such as Lincoln Center, Tanglewood Festival, Merkin Concert Hall, Brevard Music Center, Moscow Philharmona and The Copenhagen Opera House. Among his recent works is the song cycle “Dowson Songs”, commissioned by The ASCAP Foundation and premiered at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center in New York. As a pianist, Grigory Smirnov performs classical, contemporary and improvisational music. He currently teaches at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. 

      Born in Novosibirsk, Russia, Grigory Smirnov started music lessons at the age of five. He attended Novosibirsk Music College as a pianist and Glinka Novosibirsk Conservatory, where he studied composition with distinguished Russian composer Yuri Yukechev. During his years in Russia, he was awarded a composition prize at Prokofiev International Competition and debuted as a composer of orchestral music with his composition Pastorale that was premiered by the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2009 Grigory Smirnov was awarded a full scholarship from The Juilliard School and moved to the United States. At Juilliard he studied with Christopher Rouse and received Master of Music degree in composition. He was also a composition fellow at Tanglewood Music Center. 

      More information at www.grigorysmirnov.com.

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, May (59) 2012)

      This solo for marimba with stereo digital delay is featured on Jia Jia Qiao’s CD The Alchemist. This challenging 15-minute solo utilizes four mallets throughout. The digital delay and installation diagram are clearly illustrated in the performance instructions. The performer must have some knowledge of digital effect processor technology. The digital delay must be set up accurately to achieve the composer’s desired effect. The electronic sound is intended to be in the background, supporting but not overpowering the performer. The rolling timbral effect created by the digital delay is mesmerizing and is absolutely required for an effective performance.  

      The piece is based on quasi-minimalistic melodic material. The piece begins with a single note, and the melody (based around A) is constructed as the piece progresses. If you are searching for a 15-minute, minimalist-style piece for your next recital, this is your piece. The only criticism I have is its long length with a similar timbre throughout.  

      —Dave Gerhart

  • Credits +

    • Photo: Valentina Smirnova
      Front cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
      Copyright © Edition Svitzer 
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark