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Anonymous 4

The female vocal quartet called Anonymous 4 is one of the most popular and respected small vocal groups specializing in early music. The group has attained the elusive combination of popularity and respect through its unique blend of creativity and scholarly/historical depth.

The name "Anonymous 4" comes from a scholarly convention for designating anonymous medieval writers and scribes with numbers; working with a particular manuscript by the scribe known as Anonymous 4, they found it an ideal name for their new quartet when they formed in 1986. Its purpose was to experiment with the sound of medieval music (both chant and polyphony) as sung by higher voices. Its original members included Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Johanna Marie Rose, and Ruth Cunningham. Jacqueline Horner replaced Cunningham in 1998, and in 2007, Cunningham returned, replacing Rose. The group's four members are singers with considerable beauty of tone, range, and flexibility.

Anonymous 4 is renowned for the depth of its scholarship. Hellauer does the primary music research, and when needed prepares the group's repertory by transcribing it into modern notation from original sources. Genensky is in charge of language research and the study of literary sources, and adapting readings for their concerts. The teamwork results in concerts that avoid presenting the music in a vacuum. Anonymous 4's programs are innovative and entertaining, relating the music to its time and milieu through narrative and poetry interwoven with the music. Sometimes they fill out groups of chants or fragmentary pieces of polyphony with music of their own composition in order to make convincing wholes, but the new music they create is done accurately enough to blend seamlessly with the medieval originals.

Beyond such historical considerations, the group's astonishingly beautiful and pure vocal blend has made it one of the leading acts in classical music recording. Despite being involved in what may seem a narrowly specialized academic area of music, they had sold about a million copies of their recordings on the Harmonia Mundi label by the turn of the 21st century. Among these are On Yoolis Night, a medieval Christmas album that won the prestigious French Diapason d'Or award. Their first disc, An English Ladymass, was CD Review's Classical Early Music Disc of the Year, and their fourth, The Lily and the Lamb, was Classic CD's Disc of the Year for 1996. Tower Music reported that the group's 11,000 Virgins, with music by Hildegard von Bingen, was one of the Top 100 Independent Label releases in 1997-1998. Other significant albums include Voices of Light, Richard Einhorn's contemporary oratorio-soundtrack to Carl Dreyer's classic 1928 film The Passion of Joan of Arc (1995). The group turned to early American religious traditions with its albums American Angels (2003) and Gloryland (2006).

Anonymous 4 took a break from full-time touring and recording after its 2003-2004 season, doing only a few special appearances and recordings, but in 2013 they began touring again, with a new album released in early 2014 (Marie et Marion) and a new project featuring music of the American Civil War period with Bruce Molsky. However, the return did not last long; the group announced its full retirement at the end of the 2015-2016 season. ~ Rovi Staff, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Secret Voices: Chant & Polyphony From The Las Huelgas Codex, C.1300

Comments

LORD revive us! LORD revive us! All our help must come from THEE!
"Oh when shall I see JESUS and reign with HIM ABOVE, and from THE FLOWING FOUNTAIN drink EVERLASTING LOVE? O! Had I wings i would fly away and be at REST, and I'd Praise GOD in HIS BRIGHT ABODE!" Amen! Praise The Lord God ALMIGHTY!
I highly doubt angels sound half as good as these ladies
This wonder has nothing to do with Jesus, brilliance and joy for sure.
Lord revive us .... Thank you dear Jesus for each breath ....
rebex_
Love's Illusion?
bpwatl
Absolutely wonderful
kirby174
Also surprised Pandora doesn't have more of their albums. They have so much wonderful material!
A4 has many albums available. Pandora only has 2?? Get with the polyphonic program folks. This is rich and enriching music!
The Anonymous 4 are incredible in VOICES OF LIGHT - Richard Einhorn's amazing score for the silent movie, Joan of Arc.
Makes me wont to sing :)
donald.harri n g t o n
Inspiring music
philfels
Great relaxing music.
lisaw4413
Lovely way to start the day!
gradgirl_890 1 5
This collection needs Voices of Light.
pure spring water clarity for my day
Sometimes angelic, true. However, some of their albums get very dark and spooky...
Calming at work!
danahumphrey s 6 6
Had the great good fortune to attend one of their concerts. The general consensus was they "sounded like angels." Sublime!
.......li'l Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? sound....spa r e . . . . . . e x c e p t i o n a l l y worthy music.......

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