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Peter Anthony Togni: Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae

  • Jeff Reilly, bass clarinet
  • Elmer Iseler Singers
  • Lydia Adams, conductor
  • ECM New Series

The words of Jeremiah - the Bible's Cassandra, his prophecies of doom unheeded - have inspired composers for centuries, from Palestrina in the 16th century to Leonard Bernstein in the 20th. Peter Anthony Togni, whose Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae is the first Canadian work to be recorded for the eclectic ECM New Series label (and who is widely known as a CBC Radio 2 host), is perhaps the most recent of these. Togni's Lamentations share aesthetic and spiritual ground with such composers as Osvaldo Golijov, Arvo Part and John Taverner, but it is the solo bass clarinet's plangent, gritty and sometimes shrill personification of the prophet - which sounds "with the sadness of centuries" against the close, modal harmonies of the choir - that gives this setting its potency.

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