To Dream of Silence is the latest CD release by Jeff Reilly that chronicles a series of powerful dreams experienced between 2008 and 2012. It also includes a world premiere recording of Christos Hatzis’ Extreme Unction, for bass clarinet and string orchestra and a re-mix by the great Joshua Van Tassle.
Here’s a beautiful 2 minute video we made about this project:
I’ve always been a dreamer. I’ve always had powerful dreams. Many of these dreams have changed my life.
To Dream of Silence is a story of personal transformation as told through dreams. It is a meditation on the human psyche, and the challenges our souls face in times of change. It is dark, richly textured and full of heart. It chronicles a period between 2008 and 2012 where I had some truly significant dreams. Some were harrowing and intense, others astoundingly beautiful, all were deeply transformative.
Seeing that for the past 30 years I have been a musician, producer, performer and composer in the world of contemporary classical music and jazz, it seemed time to gather up all that experience and put it into bringing these dreams to life through music and narration.
I realized through making this album that the real engine of transformation is the heart. The heart is an image that keeps coming back throughout the entire project, the heart of the machinery of a vast basement, the pounding heart of recovery from terror, a bursting heart upon witnessing indescribable beauty, a heart in the final moments of life, and the rich heart of our home.
To Dream of Silence occupies a unique sound world. Jeff Reilly’s bass clarinet combines with the pipe organ of long-time collaborator Peter-Anthony Togni, the extended percussion of Jerry Granelli, two full string orchestras, and sound sculptures created in the tiny village of East Dover, Nova Scotia by the blacksmith John Little. Rinde Eckert adds a great deal with his sparse and powerful narrations.
One of the most powerful moments on this disc is the piece Extreme Unction by Christos Hatzis performed on this album by the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra conducted by Kevin Mallon. It is a powerful depiction of both the struggles against, and the final acceptance of the inevitability of death. It seems a very fitting way to complete a series of pieces about psychological and spiritual transitions. Death, as this brilliant work by Christos shows us, is the ultimate transition.
To Dream of Silence: Music by Jeff Reilly and Christos Hatzis
To Dream of Silence 2:36
Eighty Steps 5:44
Your Dark Beauty 6:05
Endless Chambers 7:20
Food for a Soul 4:00
Extreme Unction 11:45
Eighty Steps re-mix 5:58 Re-mix by Joshua Van Tassle
All works by Jeff Reilly except track 7 by Christos Hatzis
Jeff Reilly – bass clarinet
Rinde Eckert – narration
Peter-Anthony Togni – pipe organ
Jerry Granelli – percussion
The Sanctuary String Orchestra conducted by Jeff Reilly
Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra conducted by Kevin Mallon
Mattieu Keijser – percussion
Joshua Van Tassel – percussion and re-mix
The Blue Engine String Quartet
Christoph Both – cello
Featuring the sound sculptures of John Little
Produced by Jeff Reilly and Rod Sneddon
Engineered and mixed by Rod Sneddon
Digital Editor: Jeff Reilly
Recorded in Nova Scotia, Canada between 2000 and 2016 at First Baptist Church in Amherst, St Mary’s Basilica in Halifax, Eglise St Bernard in Church Point, Rod Sneddon’s living room in Halifax, John Little’s Blacksmith Foundry in East Dover, and the Dunn Theatre in Halifax.
Mastered by Simon Heyworth, Super Audio Mastering, Chagford, Devon, UK
CD Design: Jody Burry, Fogo Creative
Special thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts and FACTOR for funding this recording. Thanks also to Arts Nova Scotia for funding the creation of To Dream of Silence and the Ontario Arts Council for funding the creation of Extreme Unction.
Join us as we delve into the positive power of this auspicious date in this special season – in an atmosphere of depth, reflection, lyricism and the celebration of intense beauty.
The Christmas season is often the busiest time of year. Preparations can often be so intense that we sometimes miss out on the chance to “step away” and find time for deep reflection. Blackwood’s “Concert of 100 Candles” celebrates reflective music. Music that boldly shifts down into the heart of space, openness, and contemplation and for a little over an hour, gives you a chance to go slow in a fast time.
Please feel free to lie back, relax and let the sounds wash over you!
This year, you can expect a full selection of annual Christmas favourites, although some of them will be in a slow form that you haven’t heard before. You will also hear a collection of new works the duo has prepared especially for this Christmas season, like this performance of Peter-Anthony Togni’s SILENTIO.
A featured work on my upcoming release To Dream of Silence is a work by the Canadian composer Christos Hatzis: Extreme Unction. Set for solo bass clarinet and string orchestra, it is a powerful depiction of both the struggles against, and the final acceptance of the inevitability of death. The recurring theme that runs through this entire release is the power of the heart as an engine of transformation. In To Dream of Silence you hear the heart of the machinery of a vast basement, the pounding of a heart recovering from terror, a bursting heart upon witnessing indescribable beauty, the rich heart of our home and finally in Christos’ work we hear a heart beating out the final moments of life. Death, as this brilliant work by Christos shows us, is the ultimate transformation.
All tracks available on all download and streaming sites (Itunes, Spotify etc.. ) on September 29th
Christos Hatzis wrote this work using recordings of my improvisations that he then re-worked and orchestrated. Here is a letter I sent to Christos when I was preparing this work for the performance and recording of this piece last June:
“I have fallen in love with your piece in a truly complex way. It’s not all joy and light I have to tell you. Truth be told I am finding it hard to articulate what it is like to realize a piece that is so much me but also so much you. It is like we have had a strange musical baby together that has its own life that in turn describes death in such a chaotic, but nuanced expression. Hard, but beautiful. Hard to be me when my expression is chopped up, reset, orchestrated and returned with greater depth and power than any individual gesture could possibly express. My feelings around it are much deeper and more realized than they were in the Toronto performance. Maybe it’s the amount of time I have spent on it this time around, as now I certainly feel that I have wrestled this anguished beast into technical submission, while last time I think it was beyond my grasp…. but also I think it has to do with turning 60 – it changes you somehow. I hope you will hear all this in my performance, it certainly is my intention.”
Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra players:
First violins: Manuela Milani, Martine Dubé, Sara Mastrangelo, Geneviève Petit
Second violins: Solange Tremblay, Marjolaine Lambert, Maria Nenoiu,Brigitte Amyot
Violas: Catherine Ferreira, Sonya Probst
Cellos: Julian Armour, Thaddeus Morden
Bass: John Geggie
Nominated for a Juno Award in 2016 as well as the winner of the 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Masterworks Award, RESPONSIO is Peter-Anthony Togni`s breathtakingly beautiful meditation on Guillaume de Machat’s medieval masterpiece the Messe de Nostre Dame. Featuring a bass clarinet (Jeff Reilly) that soars over the timeless sonorities of a world class vocal quartet, RESPONSIO is a deep reflection on over 1,000 years of spiritual music making.
This is a one night only event, a rare opportunity to experience this work with the original world class performers.
RESPONSIO was released internationally in September of 2015 on the Montreal based ATMA classique label. CDs will be available for purchase at the concert.
RESPONSIO will also be performed in April and May as follows:
The long awaited release by the Halifax based trio Sanctuary is here. ESTUARY was released internationally on Friday, September 25th. The third CD from this truly unique trio of pipe organ, cello and bass clarinet reflects 17 years of refinement and development.
Ranging from the full, suspended sound of Peter-Anthony Togni’s “Nuer Prayer”, through the austere beauty of Jeff Reilly’s “Creatures of Infinite Grace” to the driving rhythms of Christoph Both’s “Sonora”, ESTUARY is a deep-listening dive into the musical minds of these three highly experienced musicians.
Recorded by Rod Sneddon, produced by Jeff Reilly and mastered by Britain’s renowned mastering engineer Simon Heyworth, ESTUARY presents a pristine sound with incredible depth and resonance.
For a free track download please go here. The trio will perform tracks from ESTUARY in 2 concerts, one in Halifax and the other in Wolfville, NS on October 6th and 7th:
Tuesday, October 6th at 7:30 pm
Fort Massey United Church
5303 Tobin St. Halifax, NS
Wednesday, October 7th at 7:30 pm
Wolfville Baptist Church
487 Main St. Wolfville, NS
Tickets are 15/10 at the door and also can be purchased on-line for a reduced rate here.
Here is a beautiful little promo video about Responsio, a new work for bass clarinet and vocal quartet by Peter-Anthony Togni. It’s based on the 14th century masterpiece the “Messe de Nostre Dame” by Guillaume de Machaut. This stunning piece will be released on the Montreal based label ATMA Classique on Sept. 11th, 2015 and toured nationally in April and May of 2016..
Blackwood is the new duo of Peter-Anthony Togni on both piano and pipe organ and Jeff Reilly, bass clarinet. Together these two musical soul-searchers have toured the world with the trio Sanctuary, released concertos for bass clarinet and choir on the German Label ECM Records, as well as creating string orchestra concertos and full length works for solo bass clarinet and vocal quartet. In Blackwood, the two of them explore the full range of their musical experience, from modality to modernism, in a sound that that is beautiful, mysterious and totally engaging. For more videos and info on Blackwood go here.
Congratulations to Peter for this incredible acknowledgement of what is truly an extensive and beautiful masterwork combining the ancient and the new. Responsio is a contemporary response to Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame and it features:
June 2017 9 Performing with the young musicians of the Halifax Schools Symphony Orchestra doing a brand new concerto for bass clarinet and orchestra by the brilliant Peter-Anthony Togni. So great to be around young people falling in love with music again! More info here. 16 Performing with the 13 Strings Chamber Orchestra in their concert Illuminations. I am playing two concertos: Extreme Unction by Christos Hatzis and Illuminations by Peter-Anthony Togni. Of special note is that Extreme Unction will be recorded for release on my upcoming CD “To Dream of Silence” in the fall of 2017.
15 CD release! Look for more info here as we roll out the release of my solo project To Dream of Silence
21 Performing with Blackwood (Peter Togni and I) and the great Andrew Sneddon at Fort Massey church in Halifax 30 Sanctuary is back! The Sanctuary Trio performs in Annapolis Royal at the Kings Theatre at 7:30!
October 2017 22-24Blackwood (Peter Togni and I) head in to the studio (Trinity St Stephen’s church in Amherst) with the great Rod Sneddon to record our first duo record. Look for a release in early 2018.
December 2017 15-23Blackwood (Peter Togni and I) tour Nova Scotia with our very special Christmas concert program. Stops in Halifax, Truro, Lunenburg and more. Keep an eye out here for more details.
Jan 2018 9 I am conducting the Upstream Orchestra in performance at the 2018 Open Waters Festival in Halifax, NS. This will feature a new 7 movement composition of mine “To Dream of Silence”.
Looking forward in 2018 to the performance and recording of Peter-Anthony Togni’s concerto for bass clarinet and orchestra with the Ottawa based 13 Strings ensemble conducted by Kevin Mallon, plus a feature performance of the Lamentations of Jeremiah with the Calgary based professional choir Luminous Voices as part of the Easter 2018 Holy Week.