Winner of the 2014 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award
CD Released on ATMA Classique on September 11, 2015
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RESPONSIO, by Peter-Anthony Togni
A contemporary response to Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame
In Responsio Peter-Anthony Togni reflects, comments, refutes, challenges and embellishes the bare medieval voice of Guillaume de Machaut and his medieval masterpiece the Messe de Nostre Dame. Juxtaposing bursts of bass clarinet improvisation against through composed choral material, Responsio casts the role of the bass clarinettist into that of a time traveller, bringing forward Machaut’s beautiful 14th creation into the heart of the 21st century.
Congratulations to everyone who helped bring this project to life!
Composer Peter-Anthony Togni has brilliantly created a soundscape spanning the centuries. Togni follows in the compositional footsteps of medieval composers by borrowing, responding and drawing on Guillaume de Machaut’s medieval masterpiece Messe de Nostre Dame (circa 1365). The surprising success of Responsio lies in the strength of Togni’s writing as he then combines and contrasts this medieval groundwork with musical ideas from the intervening centuries. – The Whole Note, Sept 2015
View a promo video of the piece:
Canadian and World Premiere
RESPONSIO was premiered in Nova Scotia during August of 2013 with:
Luminous Voices – Rapturous Renaissance
On January 11th, 2015 Calgary’s Luminous Voices performed excerpts of RESPONSIO with guest Jeff Reilly as part of their Rapturous Renaissance program at Cathedral Church of the Redeemer.
2016 Performances of RESPONSIO
On April 20 of 2016, the original recording artists performed the work as part of the Vocal Series at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, and also gave a performance in Halifax.
Responsio, scored for solo bass clarinet and vocal quartet, includes the entire Messe de Nostre Dame within the fabric of a 55 minute work. Togni integrated a substantial amount of newly composed material into the mass, drawing upon the medieval practice of troping as a point of compositional departure.
Troping was a technique used by medieval composers to respond to existing liturgical music and texts. It was an embellishment of the chant melodies or in some cases were poetic reflections or commentaries on the liturgical texts.
Drawing on the resources of over 1,000 years of music making, Responsio exploits the full potential of the world class performers involved. It is a dynamic, fluid and powerful live performance work.
Along with the wide ranging creative expression of bass clarinetist Jeff Reilly,Responsio draws upon the full resources of 4 singers that are among the very best in the world. The British tenors John Potter (past member of the Hilliard ensemble, and one of the singers in the very successful Officium project on ECM records) and Charles Daniels (famous for his work with the Kings Consort and his extensive discography) along with Canadians Suzie Leblanc (one of Canada’s most celebrated sopranos, equally at home in early and contemporary music) and Andrea Ludwig (a true rising star in opera and contemporary concert performance) gives this project a very special weight.