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Tituli/Cathedral I/T Thrashing Classical, Hybrid SACD

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Sure-Footed Gems for Vocal Ensemble July 11 2014
By Ronald Gold - Published on
Format: Audio CD
If you're familiar with Stephen Hartke (b. 1952), you know he's one of America's most accomplished and emotionally satisfying composers. If you don't know him yet, no better place to start than with these two inspired works, featuring the Hilliard Ensemble, a widely-recorded and applauded five-man vocal group.

In Tituli, a setting of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan inscriptions, the vocalists are joined by the unlikely but fiercely apt combo of solo violin (Michelle Makarski) and two percussionists (Lynn Vartan and Javier Diaz). The harmonic underpinning is Josquin Desprez, but the structural elements, including spoken and exclamatory passages, remind me of such post-modernists as Luc Ferrari and Heiner Goebbels. Cathedral in Thrashing Rain, for the Hilliards alone, is an English translation of a tribute to Notre Dame by a contemporary Japanese poet. The closest musical parallels here are the organum of Leonin and Perotin. These musical references are just to give you an idea of the sound. There is nothing derivative about these deeply satisfying works.