A Cup of Sins

Parisa Sabet — A Cup Of Sins (cover)A Cup of Sins is a new CD release of works by Iranian-Canadian composer Parisa Sabet.  If there’s a unifying theme it’s religious/cultural persecution in Iran and there’s a strong Bahai influence.  The six pieces are scored for various combinations of voice, piano and small ensemble and add up to about an hour of very rewarding music.

The first piece, Shurangiz, is a riff on music for the tar (a kind of Iranian lute) and it’s scored for flute, clarinet, piano, violin and cello.  It’s an interesting combination of traditional Iranian influences with a nod to Western minimalism.  It’s quite meditative in mood. Continue reading

hymns of heaven and earth

hymnsofheavenandearthhymns of heaven and earth is a Centrediscs CD featuring three works by Halifax based Peter-Anthony Togni.  I have limited experience with Togni.  I thought his Responsio (reviewed for Opera Canada) was inspired but was less impressed with his Isis and Osiris – Gods of Egypt.  Perhaps unsurprisingly I found the new CD most interesting when it leaned towards Togni’s liturgical/spiritual side and less so when he seemed to be teetering on the edge of pastiche.  The title piece; a string quartet in four movements, is lyrical and rooted in the idea of “light”.  It’s essentially tonal with minimalist elements; repeated figures etc, and a distinctly liturgical feel.  I enjoyed it a lot and it gets a really good performance from Ilana Waniuk and Suhashini Arulanandam on violins, Rory McLeod on viola and Dobrochna Zubek on cello.

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