About the album
“Beautiful craftsmanship is [Hartke’s] hallmark but not his limitation: the imaginative drive is fresh, partly in being so playful, though he can also be solemn.” – New York Times Tituli / Cathedral in the Thrashing Rain is the first all Stephen Hartke disc on the New Series. His music was introduced on the label through Michelle Makarski’s 1995 solo recording Caoine. Stephen Hartke’s music grows out of a variety of impulses and inspirations, including poetry, plainchant, the paintings of Joan Mir. In the case of both Tituli and Cathedral in the Thrashing Rain, the inspiration comes, at least initially, from words: Tituli is built on fragments of inscriptions carved and scratched on ancient Roman artifacts, and Cathedral in the Thrashing Rain is a setting of a poem by Japanese poet and sculptor Takamura Kotaro (1883-1956). But as playwright and poet Philip Littell notes in the CD’s liner essay, “Hartke’s music is about a double listening, first to the sounds themselves, with the apposite yet anachronistic marimba and violin combined with singers in Tituli, the evocations of medieval organum in Cathedral in the Thrashing Rain and, next, to the voices in the text calling out: look at me, remember me, listen to me, witness me. These may be humble and fragmentary voices, but they are possessed of an energy and a will to speak that has triggered the composer to remake their world.” Tituli / Cathedral in the Thrashing Rain is the first ECM New Series title to be released in hybrid CD/SACD format, meaning that it can be played on either a standard CD player or on a Super Audio CD player. SACD format provides superior sonic warmth and clarity, thanks to the Direct Stream Digital system (DSD), which samples music at 64 times the rate of conventional CDs. This album is currently available in the US only.