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Anonymous 4


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music:

Early Music—Medieval chant and polyphony, (traditional)

Status:

Final release, Three Decades of Anonymous 4: 1986-2016 (compilation, 2016); final studio release, 1865: Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War (with Bruce Molsky, 2015)

See also:

Anonymous 4's site

Comparisons:

Unlike most Early Music ensembles, their music is almost entirely a cappella. (Neile)

Covers/own material:

Early Music

General comments:

Lovely voices and harmonies to die for. (Neile)

The group consists of four women, typically singing a cappella. Anonymous 4 are wonderful if you like early music. (Kate_Tabasko@transarc.com)

Wonderful! Beautiful! Haunting vocals. (Matt.Bittner)

I can't recommend this group highly enough. (lissener@wwa.com)

Comments about live performance:

I have been lucky enough to hear Anonymous 4 live several times. Each time I have been transported by the beautiful sounds of their voices and the lovely music they perform. The most exquisite experience was when they each stood in a corner of an old church and sang to the audience in the middle. An occasion for shivers up the spine. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

Any—all are consistently beautiful. (Neile)

Recordings include:

  • Anonymous 4 Portrait
  • An English Ladymass (1992)
  • On Yoolis Night (1993)
  • Love's Illusion: Music From The Montpellier Codex 13th Century (1994)
  • The Lily and The Lamb: Chant and Polyphony from Medieval England (1995)
  • Miracles of Sant'Iago: Music from the Codex Calixtinus (1996)
  • A Star in the East: Medieval Hungarian Christmas Music (1996)
  • 11,000 Virgins: Chants for the Feast of St. Ursula (1997)
  • A Portrait of Anonymous 4 (compilation, 1997)
  • Lammas Ladymass: 13th and 14th Century English Chant and Polyphony (1998)
  • Legends of St. Nicholas (single, 1999)
  • 1000: A Mass for the End of Time (2000)
  • The Second Circle: Love Songs of Francesco Landini (2001)
  • La Bele Marie: Songs to the Virgin (2002)
  • Wolcum Yule: Celtic and British Songs and Carols (2003)
  • American Angels (2004)
  • The Origin of Fire: Music and Visions of Hildegard von Bingen (2005)
  • Noël: Carols & Chants for Christmas (box set, 2005)
  • Gloryland (2006)
  • Four Centuries of Chant (2009)
  • The Cherry Tree: Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas (seasonal, 2010)
  • Secret Voices: Chant & Polyphony from the Las Huelgas Codex, c. 1300 (2011)
  • 1865: Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War (with Bruce Molsky, 2015)
  • Three Decades of Anonymous 4: 1986-2016 (compilation, 2016)

An English Ladymass: medieval chant and polyphony

Release info:

1992—harmonia mundi—HMU 907080

Availability:

widely available in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Must have for lovers of vocal music and lovers of Early Music. (Neile)

Group members:

Ruth Cunningham
Marsha Genensky
Susan Hellauer
Johanna Rose

Produced by:

Robina G. Young

Comments:

Lovely! (Neile)

A collection of hymns, readings, and so forth dedicated to Mary. Most of the pieces date from between 1100 and 1400. Most of it is in Latin or Middle English. (Kate_Tabasko@transarc.com)


On Yoolis Night: medieval carols & motets

Release info:

1993—harmonia mundi—HMU 907099

Availability:

Widely available in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Must have for lovers of vocal music and lovers of Early Music. (Neile)

Group members:

Ruth Cunningham
Marsha Genensky
Susan Hellauer
Johanna Rose

Comments:

Especially good for those who want Christmas music but don't want to hear the usual. (Neile)

More hauntingly achingly beautiful medieval vocal music from the best female medieval vocal ensemble of our time. (meth@smoe.org)


Love's Illusion: Music From The Montpellier Codex 13th Century

Release info:

1994—harmonia mundi—HMU 907109

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Must have for lovers of vocal music and lovers of Early Music. (Neile)

Group members:

Ruth Cunningham
Marsha Genensky
Susan Hellauer
Johanna Rose

Produced by:

Robina G. Young

Comments:

So beautiful it sends chills up my spine. Listen to it with the headphones on—it's almost like hearing them live. (Neile)

The Lily & The Lamb:medieval chant and polyphony

Release info:

1995—harmonia mundi, France—HMU 907125

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for lovers of the female voice and of early music. (Neile)

Group members:

Ruth Cunningham
Marsha Genensky
Susan Hellauer
Johanna Rose

Produced by:

Robina G. Young

Comments:

A collection of chant & polyphony from medieval England telling the story of Christ's passion through the eyes of his mother at the foot of the cross. Haunting & beautiful enough to make me listen to "religious" music. (Neile)

As stunningly beautiful as all their other releases. (meth@smoe.org)


Further info:

Anonymous 4 also collaborated with The Chilingirian Quartet on a collection of John Taverner's music, Darkness into Light (1993), and contributed to Voices of Light (1995).


Thanks to Marisa Woods for work on this entry.

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