- Mirage, for marimba
- Thirteen Drums, for percussion solo
- Ripple, for marimba
- Johali, for solo percussion
- Portrait of Forest, for solo marimba
- Time, for marimba solo
A talented student of Keiko Abe and an acclaimed soloist with the Kroumata Percussion Ensemble, Mika Takehara makes an impressive debut on BIS with this 2004 recital of six virtuosic works for solo marimba and other percussion. The four marimba offerings -- Yasuo Sueyoshi's wildly gestural "Mirage," Akira Miyoshi's effusive "Ripple," Toshi Ichiyanagi's moody "Portrait of Forest," and Minoru Miki's discursive "Time" -- are unlikely to impress in terms of their musical content, but they are challenging enough to show Takehara's skills to best advantage, and allow her to display her full range of techniques and expressions on the instrument. The two works for various unpitched percussion -- Maki Ishii's obsessively driven "Thirteen Drums," and Hideki Kozakura's poetically atmospheric "Johali" -- offer music of greater excitement, more varied textures and more exotic colors, and may serve as aural respites if the marimba's limited timbres induce ear fatigue. Yet even if there are no masterpieces on this disc, Takehara has at least chosen works that suit her abilities and has delivered performances that will convince the listener of her staying power. BIS provides excellent sound quality, and Takehara's presence is almost palpable.