July 23, 2013


Banner-2-for-title-745x368Winner of the 2014 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award

CD Released on ATMA Classique on September 11, 2015

Order your copy today from the ATMA website.

RESPONSIO,  by Peter-Anthony Togni

A contemporary response to Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame
Responsio cover

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 – September 2015

Canadian and World Premiere

RESPONSIO was premiered in Nova Scotia during August of 2013 with:

Jeff Reilly – bass clarinet
Suzie Leblanc – soprano
Andrea Ludwig – mezzo soprano
Charles Daniels – tenor
John Potter – tenor

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.

The Project

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.

5 thoughts on “Responsio

  • This is simply gorgeous! Bravo, Peter, and hearty congratulations.
    I look forward to hearing the entire work – very sorry to have missed it last August.

  • Dear Peter,

    I attended your concert at All Saints Cathedral last night. What a stunningly beautiful experience!

    Someone said it was being recorded for broadcast on YouTube. I can’t wait to hear it again.

    Just one point: Although I could listen listen to Jeff Reilly play solo all day long – especially in that acoustic – there were points where I longed to hear the blend of voices without any accompaniment.

    Scott Beard

  • Thank you Peter for a moving and brilliant concert last night at All Saints Cathedral, Halifax. I look forward to hearing the recording when it becomes available. It was a privilege to hear such wonderful singers and instrument soar through history.

  • Shall I be able to recognize the Ordinary of the Mass in Peter A. Togni’s Responsio? I’ve heard only the Agnus Dei with four voices, and I’d love to hear the entire Ordinary by Machaut in the same voices.
    The opportunity to hear the bass clarinet plus Charles Daniels and Suzie LeBlanc on Aug. 23 in Wolfville, NS, seems to good to pass upl

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.