November 17, 2009

Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae

Lamentations of Jeremiah ECM
Lamentations of Jeremiah ECM

Of all the recorded offerings for Holy Week, this is by some measure the most original and affecting that has come my way. – Norman Lebrecht

Recent Performances of Lamentations


Lamentations of Jeremiah, with Jeff Reilly and the Elmer Iseler Singers was performed on January 28th, 2013 at the opening of the Winnipeg New Music Festival. The festival is an annual presentation by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra that has been running since 1992.

Winnipeg New Music Festival – Lamentations of Jeremiah Review Janaury 2013 – Winnipeg Free Press

MAY 2012

Peter-Anthony Togni’s Lamentations of Jeremiah, with Jeff Reilly and the Elmer Iseler Singers was performed on May 20th, 2012 as part of  Podium 2012, the bi-annual conference of the Association of Canadian Choral Communities which took place in Ottawa, Ontario from May 17th to 2oth.


Lamentations of Jeremiah

Concerto for bass clarinet and choir
on texts from “The Book of Lamentations”
  • Peter-Anthony Togni, composer
  • The Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams, conductor
  • Soloists: Bass clarinetist/improviser Jeff Reilly, soprano Rebecca Whelan


I     Quomodo sedet sola civitas (14:53)
How doth the city sit solitary

II     Quomodo Dominus filiam Sion obtexit (6:09)
How hath the Lord covered with obscurity the daughter of Zion

III     Silentio (6:01)

IV     Quomodo obscuratum est aurum (12:03)
How is the gold become dim

V     Recordare, Domine (16:15)
Remember, O Lord


Jeff Reilly
Jeff Reilly at the premiere

Weaving an intricate, universal tale of a prophet who speaks the truth and is disregarded, Jeff Reilly, often improvising the bass clarinet, Rebecca Whelan, and the 20-voiced ensemble offer a poignant interpretation of Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae (Lamentations of Jeremiah), a compelling and expressive piece that was commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts. This is the first work by a Canadian composer to appear on the prestigious ECM label (under the guidance of producer/guru Manfred Eicher) as part of the ECM New Series, which has launched the careers of some of the world’s most famous contemporary composers. In the year of its 40th anniversary, ECM Records has been named both Classical and Jazz Label Of The Year by the world’s leading publications in these genres, Gramophone and Downbeat respectively.

After a world premiere in Toronto in 2007 and a 2008 tour in Nova Scotia, Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae was recorded in Halifax in October 2008 in the richly acoustical All Saints Cathedral in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As Keith Horner explains in his CD liner notes, Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae is “a virtuoso concerto, incorporating improvisation and choral support”. Composer Peter-Anthony Togni points out that the origins of the word ‘concerto’ embrace the concept of ‘playing together.’ “So I wanted this sense of performing together, and still have the bass clarinet as concerto virtuoso and improviser, and then combine this with the challenge of telling a story,” adds Togni.

“Togni’s music is deeply felt, simply put well-crafted and irradiated by a personal sense of the divine… Jeff Reilly is an undisputed master of the Bass Clarinet who has gone to the end to explore its sonic universe.” – Halifax Herald

Photos from the CD Launch in Toronto – November 14, 2009
St. Anne’s Anglican Church


2011 East Coast Music Awards

Peter-Anthony Togni’s Lamentations of Jeremiah was nominated for an East Coast Music Award in the category of Classical Music. Congratulations to everyone involved in the production and performance of the recording!

Press and Reviews for Lamentations of Jeremiah

Winnipeg New Music Festival – Review Janaury 2013 – Winnipeg Free Press

Review – Contemporary Classical for Christmas

Review – The Lebrecht Report – CD of the Week

Review – The Whole Note

Review – East Coast Connection

Review – Toronto Globe and Mail

Listen to the BBC Radio 3 review with Andrew MacGregor and Jeremy Summerly.


5 thoughts on “Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae

  • I listened to the Lamentations a couple of days ago on the Italian State classic radio channel (Filodiffusione 5). It was a revelation! I am buying the recording for myself and for some friends. I think it’s great!

  • After a wholly lovely journey through your “Lamentations…” I discovered it was you, Peter, who had composed it. I am buying it because I need it and love it; the fact Peter T. composed it is affirming and cause for special celebration that it was in you to do. You know your path – see you there!

  • I’m so glad I heard the Halifax performance, recorded for ECM, before I listened to that gassy BBC review. They remind me of the two old guys on the Muppets sitting up in their box, never happy with anything, darning with faint praise…yet they say the composition/performance is better than the Hilyard Ensemble with Garbarek, that Togni should definitely write another one, etc…
    People, buy the CD and go to the performances. Judge for yourselves. Prepare to be moved. This is great music, written and performed by great people living amongst us. Canada is rich.

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