Mirror of Truth
2004 / J.L.P. Productions
Review by Kathy Parsons
Mirror of Truth is pianist/ composer Clara Ponty’s long-awaited third release of original compositions, and it is dazzling! A classically-trained pianist who was competing at the international level, Ponty grew up immersed in many musical genres thanks, in large part, to her father, renowned violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. Many artists are able to freely weave in and out of genres, but Clara Ponty’s artistry places her in a class by herself. Using her amazing pianistic skills to express deep emotion rather than to impress or show off, the music is complex and multifaceted. This is anything but ear-candy, and the music is meant to be listened to and savored many times with something new to be heard each time. Jean-Luc Ponty appears on eight of the twelve tracks, and acted as co-producer. Other tracks feature Taffa Cisse on percussion, Laurent Cirade on cello, Jeremy Lewis on bass, and Patrick Manouguian on guitar.
The CD opens with “Glimpses of Paradise,” which appeared on Ponty’s first album as a piano solo. It is now fleshed out with piano, percussion, and synth embellishments that give it more of a jazz flow than the more classical solo version. “In Quest Of New Horizons” is a trio for piano, cello, and violin that has a beautiful searching and mysterious quality. The title track is a quartet that includes percussion and bass. It is a free-flowing piece that feels very improvised. “Autumn Bells” is a much quieter and more subdued duet for piano and violin, and is a favorite. Deeply passionate and a bit dark, this is a real beauty. “The Last Romantics” and “Joyous Awakening” are the only piano solos, and I love ‘em both. “The Last Romantics” has a tragic quality, and yet there is a sense of hope. “Joyous Awakening” is freer and more improvised. I also really like “Atlantis,” which is definitely on the jazz side of the spectrum. Full of energy, Ponty adds her lovely voice as another instrument. “In the Shadow of Stars” is ethereal and floating with the piano providing a sparkling backdrop to a violin improvisation. “Serenity” is a gorgeous duet for piano and acoustic guitar. True to its title, it has a gentle flow and a very peaceful feeling. There is obviously a variety of styles and approaches on this album, but they hold together as a very satisfying whole.
Mirror of Truth is a stellar album, and it’s so great to hear what Clara Ponty has been up to the past five years! Sure to be on my Top 10 for 2004, the CD is available from amazon.com.
September 13, 2004