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Early Music Choral Recordings

Much of the earliest music was composed for the unaccompanied voice reaching a peak during the Renaissance when there was flowering of talented European composers.  Many of these composers were true musical geniuses and whose work is still vibrant and relevant today. We offer here a far ranging collection of these works performed by the top vocal ensembles from both Europe and the US.

Displaying 1-50 of 144 items.


Alamire : Henry's Music

Review: Alamire won the British Library contract to record the soundtrack for their 2009 exhibition celebrating 500 years since the coronation of Henry VIII. 'Henry's Music' includes a world premiere recording of the contents of MS Royal 11.e.xi (a royal choirbook gifted to King Henry in around 1518), which is to produced in full-colour facsimile by the Folio Society, and tribute motets by Robert Fayrfax, Philippe Verdelot, and John Taverner. Alamire is joined by the cornet and sackbutt ensemble QuintEssential and gothic harpist Andrew Lawerence-King.

Songlist: O Christe Jesu, pastor bone, King's Pavan, England be glad, Consort XII, Madame d'amours, Tandernaken, Salve radix, Psallite felices, Sub tuum presidium, Quam pulcra est, Hec est preclarum, Beati omnes , Consort XIII, O my heart, Helas madame, Though some saith, Nil majus superi vident, Consort VIII, Adieu madame, En vray amoure , Lauda vivi alpha et oo

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9010c | 1 CD | $17.85 | A Cappella |


Alamire : Josquin Desprez

Review: Josquin Desprez is widely recognized as the greatest of the Renaissance master musicians. He set the standard for the various compositional techniques borrowed and utilized by most composers of his generation and beyond, and became an iconic figure whose art captivated musicians and scholars for centuries. This recording centres around some of Josquin's earliest works, and, in particular, his fascination with the D'ung aultre amer rondeau composed by his teacher Johannes Ockeghem. Also included are some of his most popular motets and chansons performed here by a solo voice (Clare Wilkinson) with renaissance harp (Andrew Lawrence-King).

Songlist: Missa D'ung aultre amer, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus / Tu solus qui facis mirabilia , Agnus dei, De tous beins plaine, Mille regretz, Ave Maria, Qui belles amours, Fortuna d'un gran tempo, Planxit autem David, Cela sans plus, Sanctus 'D'ung aultre amer', Tu lumen, tu splendor patris, La Bernardina, Victimae paschali laudes / D'ung aultre amer , Adieu mes amours , Ile fantazies de Joskin , Tu solus qui facis mirabilia / D'ung aultre amer,

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9013c | 1 CD | $17.95 | A Cappella || Josquin Desprez


Alamire : Madrigals For A Tudor King - Verdelot

Review: Philippe Verdelot was the most important composer of Italian madrigals in the early 16th century and recognized as the greatest innovator of the genre. A Frenchman, he occupied several important musical posts in Italy, including the Florentine posts of maestro di cappella at the Baptistry of S. Maria del Fiore and the great Duomo itself. In the mid 1520s, during his time in Florence, a set of part-books were assembled, probably under Verdelot's supervision, for the court of Henry VIII. Most, if not all, of the works were composed by Verdelot. This is the first recording of the complete madrigals in the collection, which stands not only as the most exceptional of diplomatic musical gifts but is also an important source for the history of the early madrigal.

Songlist: Italia mia bench' el parlar', Con l'angelico riso, Quanto sia lieto il girono, Lasso, che se creduto, O dolce nocte, Madonna qual certeca, Afflicti spirti mei, Dentr' al mio cor', Quando nascesti, Amore?, Piove da li occhi, Pur troppo, donna, I vostri acuti dardi, Chi non fa prove, amore, Leit' e madonna et io pur, Con lacrim' et sospir' negando porge, Donna, se fera stella, Ognun si duol' d'amore, Altro non e el mio amor', Madonna io v'amo e taccio, Si suave e l'inghanno, Se ben' li occhi, Cortese alma gentile, Quanta doleca amore, Donna che sete fra le donne belle, La bella donna, Deh, quant' e dolc' amor, Donna leggiadr' et bella, Madonna, per voi ardo, Amor, io sento l'alma, Ultimi mei sospiri

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9012c | 1 CD | $17.95 | A Cappella || Philippe Verdelot


Alamire : These Distracted Times - Thomas Tompkins

Review: The political intrigue of the early 17th century culminated with the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the beginning of the Commonwealth led by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. Thomas Tomkins, the greatest composer of that age, wrote a pavan for 'these distracted times' shortly after the King's execution. This CD provides a mixture of Tomkin's church and chamber music that soothed troubled souls during these turbulent years. The recording was made in the chapel of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where Cromwell was a student and where his severed head remains.

Songlist: Pavan I, Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, Hear my prayer, O Lord, The heavens declare, Te Deum, A Fancy, Jubilate, O Lord, how manifold, Pavan VII, I heard a voice from heaven, Magnificat, Pavan 'for these distracted times', Nunc dimittis, Pavan VIII, Remember me, O Lord, When David heard, My help cometh from the Lord,

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9011c | 1 CD | $17.95 | A Cappella || Thomas Tompkins


Anonymous 4 : 11,000 Virgins - Hildegard von Bingen

Review: The unique mystical music of Hildegard von Bingen has captivated all who listen. The German nun, who was barely educated, put forth an enormous body of work as a result of visions. At the age of 43 she had a vision of tongues of flame which compelled her to write down her spiritual experiences. She wrote several liturgical works for the feast of St. Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins, which was probably an important date at her convent. Anonymous 4 has chosen some of these pieces for this recording of Hildegard's music. The framework of the album consists of portions of Vigil, Lauds and Vespers. They have included other liturgical chants and psalms in addition to Hildegard's works to recreate the powerful impression they first made. With their vocal clarity and passionate singing, Anonymous 4 has been lauded for their brilliant interpretation of the music of Hildegard.

Songlist: Auctori vite psalmis, Venite exsultemus domino, O dulcissime amator, Jesu corona virginum, Spiritui sancto, Specie tua, Favus distillans, Benedicamus domino, Studium divinitatis, Dominus regnavit/Studium divinitatis, O Ecclesia, Benedictamus domino, Domine deus meus, Mirabilis deus, Cum vox sanguinis, Magnificat anima mea/O rubor sanguinis, Te lucis ante terminum, Benedicamus domino

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6221c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella || Hildegard von Bingen


Anonymous 4 : A Lamas Ladymass

Review: Anonymous 4 are known for their scrupulous recordings of 13th and 14th century English chant and polyphony. "Lammas" refers to the Celtic festival of harvest, celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Much of the music of the time-at least that still existing today-was written to accompany the Catholic Mass. Therefore each part of the service, which was and is very specifically structured, assumed a certain form, depending on the context: motet, Antiphon, Conductus, introit, hymn, etc. The four women of Anonymous 4 take these relics and give them new life, gently and sweetly entreating them into the present day.

Songlist: Que Est Ista, O Quam Glorifica, Ave Tuos Benedic, In Adore, Salve Mater Salvatoris, Salve Sancta Parens, Kyrie, Gloria, Benedicta Et Venerabilis, Ave Gloriosa Mater, Virga Ferax Aaron, O Maria Stella Maris, O Ceteris Preamabilis, O Quam Glorifica..., Recordare Virgo Mater, Sanctus, Agnus Dei , Alma Dei Genitrix, Salve Mater Salvatoris, Paradisi Porta, Ite Missa Est, Pangat Melos Grex Devotus

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6217c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella |


Anonymous 4 : A Mass For The End Of Time

Review: This must be how the angels sound! That is the often evoked response of listeners to this exemplary quartet who explore, research, and bring to life medieval polyphony and chant. The blend of voices and virtuosity of creation is unparalleled by any other singers on earth. Once again, by research, the 4 have created a mass, this time "A Mass For The End Of Time." The end of time refers to the Last Judgement which is most strongly expressed in the liturgies of the Advent season, the Requiem mass, and the feast of Jesus's Ascension celebrated forty days after Easter. This work is based on the Ordinary and Proper chants of the Ascension mass with added tropes (newly written text and music) to enhance the feel of the music. Historically, the approach to the first millennium saw the collapse of Charlemagne's empire and alliances which yielded a tremendously unsettled period in European history. The church under the charismatic leadership of Pope Sylvester II created a spiritual anchor. Great cathedrals were begun and Christianity was seen as a primary civilizing influence. Musically, the traditional Roman plainchant was being renewed and greatly enlarged while developments in music such as staff line notation allowed these new creations to be rapidly learned and disseminated. Though the church provided a dynamic anchor, it also tended to foster a millennial belief in the end of time and that the Last Judgement was at hand. From this milieu, Anonymous 4 has recreated another incredibly beautiful liturgical testament.

Songlist: Judicii Signum, Quem Creditis Super Astra/Viri Galilei, Celestis Terrestrisque, Prudentia Prudentium, Dominus in Sina, Ascendens Cristus, Salavator Mundi/Rex Omnipotens Die Hodierna, Elevatus Est Rex Fortis/Viri Galilei, Ante Secula, Omnipotens Eterne, Corpus Quod Nunc/Psallite Domino, Apocalypse 21:1-5, Regnantum Sempiterna, Cives Celestis Patrie

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6531c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella |


Anonymous 4 : A Star In The East

Review: A selection of liturgical and paraliturgical Christmas pieces, taken from medieval Hungarian sources. Most are monophonic, but there is a modest sprinkling of simple polyphonic pieces for two, three and four voices. The charm of the performance lies in its unpretentious, almost childlike simplicity - suggested, maybe, by the delightful extracts from the Christmas story as quoted in the notes. These extracts come from the "Peasants' Bible" - Paraszbiblia: Magyar Nepi Biblikus Tortenetek - which contains Bible stories retold in simple language, with homely, imaginative details and an atmosphere of fairy-tale. The classic liturgical pieces, which include the Introit Dum medium silentium, the splendid Gradual Speciosa forma, and others, are heard in a version which tends to use the pentatonic scale, thus avoiding both B natural and B flat. The sung readings are impressive with their polyphonic settings. I enjoyed the rich Genealogy (Liber generationis) with its beautifully constructed and compelling melody. Some of the vernacular pieces, as well as the Latin song for New Year's Day, have a regular ternary rhythm. The Hungarian Te Deum (which appeared in an earlier recording by the Schola Hungarica on Quintana) offers an interesting alternative for the concluding verses: it simply transposes the original theme up a fourth. The 110-page booklet, lavishly produced with both colour and black-and-white illustrations, is a marvellous little tool and a joy to handle.

Songlist: Ave spes nostra, Mi Atyank Atya Isten, Veni domine, O mundi domina, Fuit virgo, Vox clara, ecce, intonat, Omes unanimiter, Dum medium silentium, Primo tempore alleviata, Speciosus forma, Novum decus oritur, Letentur cele, Salvator noster, Az idvozitor regenten, Novus annaus adiit, Exulta filia Syon, Liber generationis, Gaude et letare, Exordium quadruplate"/"Nate dei"/"Concrepet infanti"/"Verbum caro, Isten, teged

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6219c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella || Female Choral Christmas CDs


Anonymous 4 : An English Ladymass

Review: Here is a record to dispel the old myth that chant and early polyphony are really uniquely the province of male voices, men and boys. It is often forgotten that communities of nuns, within the walls of their enclosure, sang exactly the same liturgical repertoire as the monks, their male counterparts. Individual names of female singers do, in fact, emerge from time to time: the noble Blesilla in the fourth century, for example, commended by St Jerome for her excellent singing of the Alleluia, or Abbess Hildegard in the twelfth century, who composed ravishingly beautiful hymns and sequences. In our own century we have some good recordings of nuns' choirs, Argentan in Normandy is one, and St Cecilia's, on the Isle of Wight, another. But this disc represents something quite new: here is a professional all-female vocal quartet uniquely devoted to the performance of chant and early polyphony. Anonymous 4, whose very title recalls the authorship of a famous medieval music treatise, have brought to the early-music scene a new approach and a refreshingly new sound. They sing with clean, unpretentious voices a programme of music that follows the basic structure of the Lady Mass, once so popular in England. They fill it out with a well-chosen selection of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century pieces in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary: chants and polyphonic items, mainly in Latin, but including two items in the vernacular, namely the charming early strophic song Edi beo thu and the gentle sequence Jesu Christes milde moder. There is a captivating simplicity and directness about their performance, which naturally avoids many of the pitfalls of an overstretched attempt at reconstruction.

Songlist: Prosa: Gaude virgo salutata (chant), Polyphonic song: Edi beo thu hevene quene, Introit: Salve mater redemptoris/ Salve lux langentium/ Salve sine spina/, Salve sancta parens, Motet: Lux polis refulgens/ Lux et gloria, Kyrie: Kyria christifera, Gloria, Motet: Spiritus et alme/ Gaude virgo salutata, Song: Miro genere, Gradual: Benedicta et venerabilis, Alleluia: Alme iam ad gaudia/ Alme matris dei/ Alleluya per te dei, Sequence: Missus Gabriel de celis, Prosa: Gaude virgo gratiosa (chant), Polyphonic song: Salve virgo virginum, Offertory: Felix namque (chant), Sanctus and Benedictus, Sequence/Song: Jesu Cristes milde moder, Agnus dei: Virtute numinis, Communion: Beata viscera (chant and song), Rondellus: Flos regalis, Chant setting: Ite missa est, Hymn: Ave maria stella

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6200c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella |


Anonymous 4 : La Bele Marie

Review: The four beautiful, talented women who call themselves Anonymous 4 stun usonce again with a soaring collection of a cappella choral music from the early Christian church. One of the most respected and prolific choral groups(we like to think of them as an institution) performing today, Anon 4 discovers the timeless choral works that otherwise might never be heard, or heard by only a few, and brings them to us in perfect, bell-like tones and harmonies--an unexpected gift from centuries past. There are 17 songs here, all in Latin, and an amazing, comprehensive set of illustrated liner notes that tell us everything we want to know about the music. Put this CD on a really good music system, sit back and let the music of the angels wash over you.

Songlist: O maria o felix puerpera, Pia mater gratie, De la mere au sauveor, O maria virginei, Verbuym bonum et suave, Ave salus hominum, Mainte chancon ai fait, Ave maria gracia plena, Beata viscera, Mundum renovavit, Je te pri de cuer par amors, Salve sancta parens, Serena virginum, De la tres douce Marie, Ave virgo virginum, Mater patris et filia, Ave nobilis venerabilis

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6757c | 1 CD | $16.98 | A Cappella |


Anonymous 4 : Legends of St Nicholas

Review: 1999 recording, celebrating the legend of St. Nicholas ("Jolly St Nick," or "Santa Claus"); as with most folk heroes, the actual biography of Nicholas, born in Turkey somewhere around 300 A.D., is much removed from present day interpretation. The New-York based classical women's quartet Anonymous 4, whose focus is medieval chant and polyphony, enliven these motets, hymns and conductus (medieval setting of Latin text) with an attention to historical realism that brings them very much to life. As the function of these chants was in the context of Catholic liturgy, they are by definition, an embodiment of all that is divine; neither rhythmically or harmonically complex, their appeal is their quiet beauty and distinctive texture.

Songlist: intonent hodie, exultemus et letemur, gaudens in domino, seint nicholas was borne in the citee of patras, confessor dei nicholaus, cantu mirro, summa laude, sainte nicholaes, whanne the bisshop of the citee of myre deied, nicholai presulis, cum quidam fluctuantia, novus presul prodiit, sainte nicholaes, all the province of seint nicholas suffered..., plaudat letitia, salve cleri speculum/ salve iubar presulum, sainte nicholaes, a worschipfull man hadde thre doughtres virgines, fulget nicolaus, ex eius tumba/ sospitati dedit egros, gaudens in domino, and whanne oure lorde lust to take seint nicholas..., psallar chorus/ eximie pater/ (aptatur), nicholae presulum, micholaus pontifex

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6521c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella || Female Choral Christmas CDs


Anonymous 4 : Love's Illusion

Review: One could easily imagine that a programme such as this, of 29 thirteenth-century motets, all composed around the same theme of fin amours and all sung unaccompanied by an all-female vocal ensemble, might end by becoming wearisome on the ear. Anonymous 4 have proved conclusively in this recording that this need not be so, that, in any case, there is already an infinite variety of mood and style among the songs-compare, for example, No. 14 (Joliement/Quant voi la florete/Je sui joliete) with No. 18 (Ne m'oubliez mie)-and that it is possible further to vary them in performance, using no other means than the voices themselves. The directness of the group's approach is always refreshing: their tone is unaffected, their pitch secure. The songs are presented with simplicity in a clear acoustic. There is a total absence of any improvised doodling on reconstructed medieval instruments, which is rather a relief. One gets a sense of quiet satisfaction and enjoyment from the singers themselves. I also get the feeling that the singers are trying to teach us something about the music, the mechanics of the motet and how it works, almost as if they were demonstrating to a class of music students. They sometimes go out of their way to sing a single part and then to repeat it with another part added, and then finally to give us a polished rendering of the whole motet, complete with all its parts. Occasionally they add a drone-once with a doubling at the fifth above.

Songlist: Plus bele que flor/ Quant revient/ L'autrier joer/ FLOS FILIUS (Mo 21), Puisque bele dame m'eime/ FLOS FILIUS (Mo 231), Amours mi font souffrir/ En mai/ FLOS FILIUS (Mo 111), Ne sai, que je die/ IOHANNE (Mo 185), Se je chante/ Bien doi amer/ ET SPERABIT (Mo 311), Or ne sai je que devenir/ P uisque d'amer/ KYRIELEYSON (Mo 267), He Dieus, de si haut si bas/ Maubatus/ CUMQUE (Mo 92), Celui en qui/ La bele estoile/ La bele, en qui/ IOHANNE (Mo 20), Qui d'amours se plaint/ LUX MAGNA (Mo 215), Amours, dont je sui/ L'autrier, au douz mois/ Chose Tassin (Mo 270), Au cuer ai un mal/ Ja ne m'en repentirai/ Jolietement (Mo 260), Quant voi la fleur/ ET TENUERUNT (Mo 241), Quant se depart/ Onques ne sai amer/ DOCEBIT OMNEM (Mo 131), Joliement/ Quant voi la florete/ Je sui joliete/ APTATUR (Mo 34), Amor potest conqueri/ Ad amorem sequitur (Mo328), Ce que je tieng/ Certes mout/ Bone compaignie/ MANERE (Mo 33), J'ai si bien mon cuer assiz/ Aucun m'ont/ ANGELUS (Mo 128), Ne m'oubliez mie/ DOMINO (Mo 236), Blanchete/ Quant je pens/ VALARE (Mo 168), Dame, que je n'os noumer/ Amis donc est/ Lonc tans a (Mo 337), Li savours de mon desir/ Li grant desir/ Non veul mari (Mo 323), Entre Copin/ Je me cuidoie/ Bele Ysabelos (Mo 256), S'on me regarde/ Prennes i gardee/ He, mi enfant (Mo 256), Quant yver l a bise ameine/ IN SECULUM (Mo 223), Ne m'a pas oublie/ IN SECULUM (Mo 207), On doit fin(e) Amor/ La biaute/ IN SECULUM (Mo 134), Ja n'amerai autre que cele/IN SECULUM (Mo 3) , Quant je parti de m'amie/ TUO (Mo 200)

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6222c | 1 CD | $9.98 | A Cappella |


Anonymous 4 : Miracles Of Sant'Iago

Review: Susan Hellauer's lucid introduction to the contents of Jacobus, the Liber Sancti Iacobi (the Codex Calixtinus) makes fascinating reading. Following Christopher Hohler, she points out that this extraordinary collection of liturgical items, non-liturgical pilgrim songs, sermons, chants and lessons in honour of St James, was originally destined for the use of French schoolboys, presumably with voix blanches. That being so, this recording by a group of high female voices may be easily vindicated: Anonymous 4 bring to their performance that smooth, unsophisticated vocal blend we have come to expect from them. It is a lovely sound, and their intelligent and imaginative approach sticks resolutely to middle ground, avoiding excesses of orientation and extremes of interpretative theory.

Songlist: Venite Omnes Cristicole, Salve Festa Dies, Voc Nostra Resonet, Nostra Phalanx Plaudat Leta, Ad Sepulcreum Beati Iacobi, Ad Superni Regis Decus, Iacobe Servorum, Benedicamus Domino, In Hac Die Laudes, Cunctipotens Genitor, Psallat Chorus Celestuim, Alleluia: Gratulemur Et Letemur, Ascendens Ihesus In Montem, Qui Pius Ac Mitis, Gratulantes Celebremus Festum, Iacobe SancteTuum, O Aditor Omnium Seculorum, Portum In Ultimo, Congaudeant Catholici, Clemens Servulorum

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6224c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella |


Anonymous 4 : On Yoolis Night

Review: The four female members of Anonymous 4 are dedicated to the preservation of Gregorian chant from medieval times, and this holiday selection of English plainchant, songs, motets and carols are all derived from this period. As one might expect, the texts are often sacred in nature, to be performed during religious rites and devotions, such as Advent (hymn, "Vox Clara, Ecce, intonat"). Carols often use the multiple verse and refrain format, that was a typical form ("Ther Is No Rose Of Swych Vertu," and others). Much more could be said about the historical and musical context of these works - and is, in the extensive liner notes - but this background, though fascinating, is not necessary to simply appreciate the supple grace and open sound of these gentle voices, which is more than enough.

Songlist: Hodie Christus natus est, O nobilis nativitas"/"O mira dei"/"Odecus virgineum"/"Appruit, Lux de luce, Alleluya: A nywe werke, Verbum supernun prodiens, Balaam de quo vaticianas, Ave Maria, Gabriel, fram heven-king, Lullay: I saw a swete semly syght, Prolis eterne genitor"/"Psallat mater gracie, Vox clara, ecce, intonat, De supernis sedibus, Qmnes de Saba, Puellare gremium, Lullay, ullay: Als I lay on Yoolis night, Tria sunt munera, Orto sole serene"/"Origo viri"/"Virga Iesse, Peperit virgo, Ecce quod natura, A solis ortus cardine, Ther is no rose of swych vertu, Videntes stellam, Owt of your slepe aryse

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6218c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella || Early Music Christmas CDs


Anonymous 4 : Portrait

Review: The culmination of a variety of skills and training, Anonymous 4 is one of the world's finest medieval singing groups. This CD celebrates the success of several of their recordings. Excerpts are taken from Miracles of Sant' Iago, The Lily & the Lamb, A Star in the East, Love's Illusion, An English Ladymass, On Yoolis Night and 11,000 Virgins. Their exquisite singing blends together the original spiritual intent with the modern artistic view of these ancient pieces. You will be moved by their breathtaking sounds.

Songlist: Venite Omnes Cristicole, Ad Superni Regis Decus, Portum In Ultimo, O Maria Stella Maris, Stabat Iuxta Christi Crucem, Stillat In Stellam Raduim, Primo Tempore Alleviata, Speciousus Forma, Mi Atyank Atya Isten, Puisque Bele Dame M'eime/FLOS FILIUS, Ne Sai, Que Je Die/IOHANNE, Amor Potest Conqueri/Ad Amorem Sequitur, Quant Yver La Bise Ameine/IN SECULUM, On Doit Fin(e) Amor/La Biaute/IN SECULUM, Edi Beo Thu Hevene Quene, Ave Maris Stella, Salve Virgo Virginum, Ther Is No Rose Of Swych Vertu, Prolis Eterne Genitor/Psallat Mater Gracie, Ecce Quod Natura, Spiritui Sancto

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6220c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella |


Anonymous 4 : The Origin Of Fire

Review: "Origin" is the 16th recording by the four angel-voiced women of Anonymous 4, of music by 12th century German abbess and mystic Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard's intensely emotional chants and visions (including the monumental hymn "O ignee spiritus" and some of her finest antiphons) are performed here framed by hymns and sequences that she and her convent sisters would have heard and sung every day. 17 songs, the hymns "Veni creator spiritus" and "Beata nobis gaudia," " the antiphon "O quam mirabilis est," the vision "The fire of creation," the sequences "Veni spiritus eternorum" and "Oignis spiritus paracliti," and the responsory "O felix anima" are particularly wonderful, but we are deeply touched throughout this recording by the spirit and power of this music, hauntingly and perfectly performed by the stunningly talented Anonymous 4.

Songlist: Veni creator spiritus, Veni spiritus eternorum, O quam mirabilis est, The fire of creation, O ignis spiritus paracliti, Wisdom and her sisters, O felix anima, The fiery spirit, O ignee spiritus, Love, Caritas habundat in omnia, O eterne deus, Beata nobis gaudia

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7502c | 1 CD | $16.98 | A Cappella |


Anonymous 4 : The Second Circle

Review: "Second Circle" is the latest release from the acclaimed and prolific Anonymous 4, who are Johanna Maria Rose, Marsha Genensky, Jacqueline Horner and Susan Hellauer. These are 14th century Italian love songs by Francesco Landini, an early "renaissance man," left blind by smallpox, who became a master musician, composer and poet, becoming the chief musician at the church of San Lorenzo in Florence. Anon4 gives us 18 of his beautiful songs, and to deepen our appreciation of them, there is one of the most lovely and extensive liner notes we have seen, actually a 46-page full-color booklet with a number of incredible paintings from the period. Much more than a group of lovely, obscure songs, we are treated to a short course in music appreciation and art history of the composer and his fascinating times!

Songlist: Echo La Primavera, Angelica Bilta, Che Chos'e Quest' amor, Nella Partita, Non Do La Colp' a te, Quanto Piu Caro Faj, Se Pronto Non Sara , Lasso! Per Mie Fortuna , Ochi Dolenti Mie, Muort' Oramai, Per Allegreca, Nella Mi Vita, Abbonda Di Virtur, Non Ara Ma' Pieta, La Bionda Trecca, Cara Mie Donna , Gran Piant' Agli Ochi, Echo La Primavera

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6658c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella |


Anonymous 4 : Wolcum Yule

Review: Andrew Lawrence-King's virtuoso harp joins the voices of Anonymous 4 in a wealth of Yuletide music, favourite and rare, from the British Isles. Juxtaposing pagan and Christian traditions, the programme interweaves English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh ballads and carols with well-loved pieces by John Tavener (The Lamb), Benjamin Britten, and a newly commissioned work by Peter Maxwell Davies. Andrew Lawrence-King adds special colour playing a variety of instruments: psaltery, Baroque harp, and a remarkable Irish "Queen Mary" harp which sounds as if it contains its own peal of heavenly bells.

Songlist: Awake and join the cheerful choir, Good people all, The seven rejoices of Mary, The Lamb, A Scots Lilt, Balulalow, Balulalow (Richard Rodney Bennett), The holly and the ivy, The Reel of Tullochgorum, I saw three ships, A Calendar of Kings (Peter Maxwell Davies), Air: La fuar geimhreadh, An teicheadh go hEigipt, A God, and yet a man? (Geoffrey Burgon), Grene growith the holy (Henry VIII), Wel, dyma'r borau gorau, The Cherry Tree Carol, Can wassel, A New Year Carol (Benjamin Britten)

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6951c | 1 CD | $15.98 || Female Choral Christmas CDs


Ars Nova : Portuguese Polyphony

Review: Portugal was historically by no means isolated from the mainstream of European culture, although the earlier periods of Portuguese polyphony may be relatively little known. There were, nevertheless, monastic and ecclesiastical connections with other parts of Europe, and, of course, with Rome, while the proximity of Spain, most evident in the golden age of Portuguese polyphony, ensured that Portugal was part of the wider European tradition of polyphony. The vocal group Ars Nova is one of the most distinguished chamber choirs in Scandinavia in the field of early and new music. The twelve singers of the choir and the director Bo Holten have produced a series of internationally acclaimed compact discs and have given more than 650 concerts and broadcasts in Scandinavia, the rest of Europe, Israel and Japan.

Songlist: Lamentatio, Magnificat secundi toni, Audivi vocem de caelo, Pater peccavi, Vidi aquam, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei, Commissa mea pavesco, Beata viscera, Circumdederunt me, Clamabat autem mulier

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8998c | 1 CD | $9.95 |


Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo De Silos : Christmas Chants

Review: The Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo De Silos became famous outside of religious circles in the mid-'90s when a recording of their liturgical Gregorian chants unexpectedly climbed to the top of U.S. pop charts. The Benedictine Monks have released several successful albums of their monophonic chants and have helped bring joy of mediaeval plainsong to a new and larger audience. This is a very well recorded CD of top notch quality.

Songlist: Prayers. Rorate Celi desuper. Mode I, Antiphon. O Sapientia. Mode II, Introit. Gaudete in Domino semper and Psalm 84, 1. Mode I, Hymn. Christe, redemptor omnium. Mode I, Invitational Antiphon. Christus natus est nobis and Psalm 94, 1-2. Mode IV, First Lesson of Maitins, acc. to Isaiah 9, 1-6. Primo tempore., Hymn. A solis ortus cardine. Mode III, Antiphon. Quem vidistis, pastores? Mode II, Antiphon. Facta est cumm Angelo. Mode VII, Communion. Liturgia mozarabe. Gustate et videte. Mode II, Antiphon. Rubum quem viderat and Magnificat. Mode IV, Alleluia. Dies sanctificatus. Mode II, Communion. Viderunt omnes. Mode I, Canticle. Puer natus in Bethlehem. Mode I, Canticle. Adeste fideles. Mode VI, Introit. Dominus dixit and Psalm 2, 1. Mode II, Introit. Puer natus est nobis and Psalm 97, 1. Mod VII, Gradual. Omnes de Saba. Mode V, Antiphon. Alma Redemptoris Mater. Mode V, Hymn. Panis angelicus. Mode IV, Invitational Antiphon. Christum Regem. Mode IV, Hymn. Adoro te devote. Mode V, Hymn. Te decet laus. Mode II, Antiphon. Laudemus Dominum and Psalm 116. Mode II, Canticle. Ave verum. Mode VI

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8705c | 1 CD | $8.95 | A Cappella || Early Music Christmas CDs


Boston Camerata : Mediaevel Christmas : 00  1 CD : Joel Cohen :  : 2-71315

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Gaude Maria

Boston Camerata : Mediaevel Christmas

Review: This recortding is one of several in the highly successfule series of Christmas recordings from this fine ensemble. The music on this collection spans seven centuries (12th to 19th) and offers a wide and diverse range of compositions. Director Joel Cohen opens with a Hebrew cantillation of "Isaiah's Prophecy" of the comming of the Messiah, moves on to a 10th-century Spanish setting of a sibylline prophecy, and then takes us to 12th-century Provence with "Adest Pronsus". The performances are always stylish and captivating.... a treasure and essential to your collection.

Songlist: Isiah's Prophecy, The Sybil's Prohecy - Iudicii Signum, Conductis - Adest Sponsus, Clausula - Oiet, Virgines, Hymn - Domino, Lauda - Conditor Alme Siderum, Reading - Verbum Caro Factum, Organum - On Frymae Was Word, Reading - Ludea Et Iberusalem, Hymn - Gedonis Area, Sacred Song - O Maria, Feu MAire, Prosa - Ave Maria, Responsory - Gaude MAria, Hymn - Joseph, Liber Nefe Min, Conductus With Refrain - Congaudes Hodie, in Dulci Jubilo, Hymn - In Dulci Jubilo, Reading - Hand By We Shule Us Take, Conductus - Lux Hodie.. Orientis Partibus

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8471c | 1 CD | $11.95 || Early Music Christmas CDs


Cambridge Singers : Byrd: Motets and Anthems

Review: This recording presents a selection of fifteen of the 150 or so Latin motets and three of the dozens of English anthems that, between them, form the greater part of the life's work of William Byrd (1543-1623), the greatest English composer of his era. The chosen motets and anthems represent just some of the many facets of Byrd's sacred music, now recognized after three centuries of neglect as among the most glorious every written for choir.

Songlist: Sing Joyfully, Turn our captivity , Praise our Lord, all ye Gentiles, Emendemus in Melius, Siderum Rector , Plorans plorabit , Visita, quaesumus Domine, Attollite portas, Laudibus in Sanctis, Gaudeamus omnes , Ave Verum Corpus, Veni, Sancte Spiritus, Christus resurgens , Solve iubente Deo, O Magnum Mysterium, Non vos relinquam, O quam suavis, Justorum animae

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6999c | 1 CD | $11.98 | A Cappella || William Byrd


Capella Gregoriana : Gregorian Christmas

Review: Not technically Gregorian, because of some polyphony this recording is predominantly chant, but there are times when the selections move to motets, the natural outgrowth of chant, being simultaneous independent plain songs as it were, combined to form a melodious and rhythmic whole much as partner songs do. As for the Christmas feel, it is certainly reverent and soothing. Highly recommended, this is an excellent budget album.

Songlist: Introitus: Puer natus est nobis, Kyrie: Kyrie eleison, Gloria: Gloria in excelsis Deo, Psalmus 112: Laudate pueri, Offertorium: Tui sunt caeli, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Communio: Viderunt omnes, Magnificat anuma mea Dominum, Hymnus: A solis ortus cardine, Introitus: Salve sancta Parens, Halleluja: Multifarie, Communio: Exulta filia Sion / Psalm 45, Magnificat anima mea Dominum

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8704c | 1 CD | $8.95 | A Cappella || Early Music Christmas CDs


Cappella Alamire : Music of The Modes

Review: Early Music (UK) proclaimed, "This is a feast indeed." Ockeghem created music of incomparable spiritual purity and technical perfection. These three masses clearly identify one of the three greatest masters of the Flemish High Renaissance. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Capella Alamire was formed for the purpose of exploring the repertoire of the Renaissance. The Capella is a 13-voice ensemble, whose members include musicians both amateur and professional.

Songlist: Missa Sine nomine a 5, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Missa Cuiusvis toni a 4, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei , Missa Fors seulement a 5, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo

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6575c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella || Johannes Ockeghem


Cappella Alamire : The Early Josquin

Review: Audio magazine (USA) called this "an utterly delightful disc." Unusual melodies, surprising harmonies, unexpected uses of word painting and other expressive techniques, great craft and clarity of purpose distinguish these works, believed to have been written during Josquin's mysterious early years. Includes several world premiere recordings.

Songlist: Magnificat, Missa L'ami baudechon, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei , Credo Sine nomine, Credo Sine nomine (canonic), Credo De tous biens playne

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6574c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella || Josquin Desprez


Cappella Nova : Miracles of St Kentiger

Review: The seventh recording from Cappella Nova, this disc of Scottish Medieval plainsong celebrates Glasgow's 6th-century patron saint, Kentigern (or Mungo), in wonderful music and poetry from the 13th-century Sprouston Breviary. This material was clearly centuries old before the monks wrote it down in the 1200s, and it is full of Celtic romance and colour. The most important part is the sequence of nine lectiones which relate to the miracles of St Kentigern. Cappella Nova has used singers, bells and clarsach (Celtic harp) to weave a magical tapestry of sound for the telling of these, literally, fabulous tales.

Songlist: from First Vesers for the Feast of St Kentigern, -Responsorium In septentrionali, from Matins for the Feast of St Kentigern, -Invitatorium Celestis regem patrie & Venite, -Collect for St Kentigern , -Lectio I Preclarus Dei confessor Kentegernus, -Responsorium I Christi miles Kentegernus, -Lectio II Nam a primeva, -Responsorium II Mirantes pavent emuli, -Lectio III Erat igitur, -Responsorium III Qui elixas condiebat, -Lectio IV Supradicti vero refectorii, -Responsorium IV Olim fete archam Dei, -Lectio V Illi autem excitati, -Responsorium V Cultro lupi exaratus, -Lectio VI Nec mirum, dilectissimi fratres, -Responsorium VI Crudi moris rex infaustas, -Lectio VII Cocum autem Sancti Servani, -Responsorium VII Aporia ingruente, -Lectio VIII Sanctus igitur Servanus, -Responsorium VIII Cudenti in ferugine, -Lectio IX Redivivus autem cocus, -Responsorium IX Jubente Petrus Domino & Prosa Gens Cambrina, from First Vespers for the Feast of St Kentigern, -Antiphona Alme presul Kentigerne & Maginificat , from Second Vespers for the Feast of St Kentigern, -Antiphona O paradoxe pontifex

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6554c | 1 CD | $15.98 |


Cardinall's Musick : Tallis - Gaude Gloriosa : 00  1 CD : Andrew Carwood : Thomas Tallis : 67548

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Ingoma

Cardinall's Musick : Tallis - Gaude Gloriosa

Review: This new Hyperion recording celebrates the 500th anniversary of the birth of England's first superstar composer, Thomas Tallis, and welcomes the signing to the label of The Cardinall's Musick and Andrew Carwood. Over the group's fifteen-year history, The Cardinall's Musick has built an enviable reputation for excellence. Some twenty recordings on the ASV Gaudeamus label have seen accolades from around the world, including a Gramophone Award and a Diapason d'Or, while in the concert hall and workshop the group has consistently displayed innovation and a freshness of approach, whether tackling contemporary works (many of them commissions) or sharing the fruits of years of research into the music of the English Renaissance. On their debut recording for Hyperion, The Cardinall's Musick turns to the period of its namesake, Cardinal Wolsey, and specifi cally to the music of Thomas Tallis. Gaude gloriosa takes center stage. One of a series of monumental and extended motets (each lasting getting on for twenty minutes), this should be regarded as the summation of the genre - whereas Tallis's earlier attempts such as Salve intemerata or Ave Dei Patris fi lia can seem to ramble somewhat, in Gaude gloriosa we find a sure-footed and eloquent response to an unusual text in honor of the Virgin Mary, and a work which takes singer and listener alike into a world of unremitting fervor. Other works on this recording include the famous Loquebantur variis linguis and O nata lux settings, the five-voice Latin Magnificat and Nunc dimittis. Of special note is the Suscipe quaeso Domine - where a particularly gloomy text (thought to have been written to mark England's reconciliation with Rome on the accession of Mary Tudor) elicits from Tallis some truly extraordinary and rhetorical effects including harmonic shifts which are every bit as shocking today as they must have been at the work's first performance in 1554. Future plans for The Cardinall's Musick on Hyperion include the completion of their on-going series encompassing the complete Latin church music of William Byrd.

Songlist: Jesu Salvator Saeculi, Gaude Gloriosa, Sermone Blando Angelus, Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis, Derelinquat Impius, Loquebantur Variis Linguis, Suscipe Quaeso Domine, O Nata Lux

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8339c | 1 CD | $16.98 | A Cappella || Thomas Tallis


Cardinall's Musick : The Byrd Edition Vol 1

Review: The Byrd Edition is a long-term project that is one of the most comprehensive ever undertaken in the early music field: some 20 CDs that will cover the complete works of William Byrd. The music will be freshly edited and sources re-examined by David Skinner. The Cardinall's Musick under Andrew Carwood has gained a formidable reputation in bringing the neglected masterworks of the English Renaissance to a wider public. These have included the festal Masses of Ludford and the complete works of Fayrfax, the excellence of which was recognized by the winning of a prestigious Gramophone Award. The whole project is divided between the Latin Church Music, the Secular Songs and Consort Music, and the English Church Music. Volume 1 is the first of the Latin Church Music discs, which provides a chronological survey of Byrd's surviving Latin motets to the Cantiones Sacrae of 1591, interspersed with a liturgical survey of the Gradualia. Thus this first CD includes the Gradualia propers for Lady Mass in Advent, the Lamentations, the exquisite penitential motet Peccavi super numerum and the great 9-part psalm setting for men's voices Domine quis habitabit.

Songlist: Domine Quis Habitabit, Omni Tempore Benedic Deum, Christe Redemptor Omnium, Sermone Blando, Miserere, Ne Perdas cum Impiis, De Lamentatione Jeremiae Prophetae, Rorate Caeli, Tollite Portas / Ave Maria, Ecce Virgo, Alma Redemptoris Mater, Christe qui lux es (a5), Christe qui lux es (a4), Sanctus, Audivi Vocem de Caelo, Vide Dominum Quoniam Tribulor, Peccavi Super Numerum

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6501c | 1 CD | $15.98 || William Byrd


Cardinall’s Musick : Allegri: Miserere & the Music of Rome

Review: The Cardinall's Musick finished 2010 in a blaze of glory with their Gramophone Recording of the Year award for the last volume of their Byrd Edition. Only the second time in thirty years that an Early Music recording has received this prestigious accolade, it is a fitting tribute to the soaring artistry of the group and their director, Andrew Carwood. Their eagerly-awaited next disc features music from late sixteenth-century Rome and ranges from Allegri's Miserere, surely the best-known and best-loved work of this period, to a rarely-performed or recorded oddity. Seven Roman musicians came together (or were brought together) to write a Mass-setting where they each contributed different sections. The resulting work, the twelve-voice Missa Cantantibus organis, is a tribute both to Cecilia (the patron saint of music) and to Palestrina. The seven composers each take themes found in Palestrina's motet of the same name and use them as the starting point for their new compositions. Palestrina himself is among the seven, with Giovanni Andrea Dragoni, Ruggiero Giovannelli, Curzio Mancini, Prospero Santini, Francesco Soriano and Annibale Stabile being the other six. All seven composers were prominent maestri in Rome and most appear to have had contact with Palestrina either as choristers or pupils.

Songlist: Salve regina, Kyrie eleison (Missa Cantatibus organis), Christie eleison, Kyrie eleison, Gloria, Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Qui tollis peccata mundi, Credo, Crucifixus, Et ascendit in caelum, Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, De lamentatione Jeremiae prophetae, Miserere mei, Deus, Incipit lamentatio Jeremiae prophetae, Cantantibus organis, Gustate et videte

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6173c | 1 CD | $18.95 |


Chanticleer : Cristobal de Morales

Review: Cristobal de Morales is usually mentioned along with Francisco Guerrero and Tomas Luis de Victoria as the trio of Spanish composers who typified 16th-century Spanish church polyphony. The Missa Mille regretz is based on the famous chanson of the same name by Josquin des Prez, and proved to be a favorite work of Charles V. This recording conveys the deep spiritual feeling behind these liturgical settings - another bull's-eye for this splendid ensemble.

Songlist: Vidi aquam, Mille regretz, Mille regretz: Kyrie, Mille regretz: Gloria, O Sacrum Convivium, Mille regretz: Credo, Emendemus in melius, Mille regretz: Sanctus, Mille regretz: Agnus Dei, Lamentabatur Jacob

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6911c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella || Cristobal de Morales


Chanticleer : Josquin/Agricola

Review: Who better than Chanticleer to interpret the chants of Josquin De Prez and Alexander Agricola, two High Rennaissance composers who, though not Italian born, came to prominence while in service of the Italian nobility and papacy. De Prez, the more famous of the two, served to advance the development of both homophonic and polyphonic textures and was prescient in his use of both. Agricola also utilized the motet and various liturgical forms as was standard at the time. The exhaustive liner notes that complement this recording provide formal analysis and historical background. The sound? While the nuances of each composition may be appreciated fully by those with a dedicated propensity, anyone can be calmed by the ethereal voices and elegant organum of these simple settings.

Songlist: Mater Patris et Filia , Missa Mater Patris: Kyrie , Missa Mater Patris: Gloria , Nobis Sancti Spititus, Missa Mater Patris: Credo , Regina Coeli , Missa Mater Patris: Sanctus, O Crux Ave, Missa Mater Patris: Angus Dei , Domine, Non Secundum Peccata Nostra , Magnificat

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6311c | 1 CD | $14.98 || Josquin DesprezAgricola, Alexander 


Chanticleer : Music For A Hidden Chapel

Review: William Byrd and his teacher, Thomas Tallis, were inarguably the greatest composers of Elizabethan England. The primary vehicle for royally-sanctioned musicians of the court was liturgical, and in the court of Elizabeth that would mean settings for Anglican services. However, Byrd was a committed Catholic who nonetheless wrote these masses, motets and antiphons for published volumes titled "Gradualia," volumes I and II. This insurgent act apparently went uncensured, and it is these a cappella works that Chanticleer has recorded here. Given that they would not be performed publicly in a church setting by a large choir, the arrangements are intimate. They are each in the same mode and clef, which therefore creates a mood unbroken, a continuity of feeling that is quietly moving.

Songlist: In tempore Paschali, Regina Caeli, In Assumptione Beatae Mariae, Ave Regina Caelorum, Salve Regina

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6307c | 1 CD | $9.98 || Men's Choirs CDs | William Byrd


Chanticleer : Mysteria: Gregorian Chants

Review: Gregorian chant is the archetypical song for the Roman Catholic Church. There are three separate distinct periods, all of which are represented on this recording. The first era, called Gregorian, was roughly 700-850 AD. This is the time of Pope Gregory's school which rigidly codified the music allowed to be sung in churches, and the beginning of the written score for transmission to posterity rather than relying on strictly oral traditions. The Carolingian period is considered from 850-1,000 AD and began to add new styles to the more rigid structure. The medieval period was from 1,000-1,300 AD the styles proliferated immensely. That led the way to modification into secular song. In understanding Gregorian chant, the meaning of one word is particularly important. Melisma means that a number of notes are sung over the duration of a single syllable. The most joyous of the music which Chanticleer performs on this disc is very melismatic. Enjoy!

Songlist: Immutemur, Kyrie XVII, Laetatus Sum, Dominus Iesus, Tenebrae Factae Sunt, Pange Lingua, Crux Fidelis, Reproaches and Trisagion, Christus Factus Est, Vexilla Regis, Gloria in Excelsis II, Alleluis V. Pascha Nostrum, Victimae Pacshali Laudes, Iubilate Deo, Angus Dei XVII, Alma Redemptoris, Ave Regina Caelorum, Regina Caeli, Salve Regina

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6315c | 1 CD | $15.98 |


Chanticleer : Purcell - Evening Prayer

Review: The Bay Area's acclaimed 12-man vocal ensemble celebrates the release of their 27th recording, collaborating with the dynamic instrument ensemble Capriccio Stravagante, directed by Skip Sempe. Henry Purcell (1659-95), son of a Royal musician, wrote beautiful, expressive church music, from the ecstatic to the sublime. Eight songs, from a lovely 8-minute opening cut, "Rejoice in the Lord alway" and the jubilant "I was glad," written for James II's coronation, to the short, deeply moving "Hear My Prayer, O Lord" and the 16-minute final cut, "My heart is inditing," Purcell's grandest composition for the church. The perfect accompaniment of Capriccio fits perfectly with Chanticleer's flawless singing. "Evening" is inspirational and pleasing on many levels. Beautiful, extensive liner notes.

Songlist: Rejoice in the Lord alway ('The Bell Anthem') , Remember not, Lord, our offences, I was glad, O Lord, rebuke me not, Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, Now that the sun hath veiled his light ('An Evening Hymn')-, Hear my prayer, O Lord, My heart is inditing

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6939c | 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella || Henry Purcell


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Gregorian Chant

Review: The listener trying to get a basic grip on what medieval plainchant was all about could not ask for a better introduction than this release. The Choir of King's College, Cambridge gets back to its roots, so to speak, performing chants that could have been heard at the college's chapel half a millennium ago. With the chapel's magnificent acoustics as a backdrop, the album takes listeners through the series of decisions choristers would have made concerning what to sing. Those decisions began with the liturgical year, which called for specific chants corresponding to specific days in the cycle. "In this recording," writes John Milsom in his admirably clear and informative liner notes, "the annual cycle has been stopped at two points," both of them days connected with the birth of the Virgin Mary. A mass from one day and a Vespers service from the other are included. Some of the chants contain tropes that place them in their specific time and place. Both are presented more or less complete, with the connective tissue of text-bearing chants retained along with the big ornate pieces; Milsom compares focusing exclusively on the latter to cutting the illuminated initial letters out of a medieval manuscript. For most listeners, he points out, the experience of hearing chant is akin to that of strolling into a museum and looking at an illuminated manuscript; one experiences a richly colored, ornate thing that carries mystery associated with extreme age and remoteness in each case. But we get to the real mystery by trying to penetrate it a bit, and this recording is an ideal aid. Those who experience chant in a more mystical way will likewise benefit from this album; director Stephen Cleobury's tempos are deliberate, and he pulls back from time to time to let the sound of the choristers reverberate around the chapel.

Songlist: Mass For The Octave Of The Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary, First Vespers For The Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary

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8636c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella |


Choir of King's College, Cambridge : Orlando Gibbons - Tudor Church Music

Review: Orlando Gibbons began his association with Kings College, Cambridge as a chorister under the direction of his eldest brother from 1596 to 1598. His talent was such that by the age of 21 he was sharing the duties as an organist. In 1623 he accepted the additional appointment as organist at Westminster Abbey; but he died suddenly just 2 years later. He was not a prolific composer, but his works include many masterpieces some of which are on this disc. One of his most outstanding verse anthems is: "This is the record of John". It is recorded on this disc by the Kings College Choir featuring Michael Chance as the countertenor soloist; and few have ever performed this as well as Chance. His tone quality, his diction, his emotional investment in the music goes way beyond other renditions. Another bright spot in this group of pieces is the verse anthem: "See, see, the word is incarnate" featuring the choir with a group of outstanding soloists: Paul Smy (boy soprano); Chance, Jones (altos); Daniels, Rivers (tenors);Finley (bass).Some of the other selections are: anthems: "A Mighty and Everlasting God"; "Lift up your heads". The London Early Music group does much of the accompanying. The Choir with its boy sopranos and male altos are dictionally perfect and so enjoyable to hear.

Songlist: Almighty and Everlasting God, Magnificat, Voluntary, Nunc Dimittis, Fantasia for Double Organ, Magnificat, Now Shall the Praises of the Lord be Sung, Nunc Dimittis, This Is The Record of John, O Lord of Hosts, O Thou, The Central Orb, A Song of Joy Unto the Lord We Sing, See, see, The Word is Incarnate, Come Kiss Me With Those Lips of Thine, Lift Up Your Heads, Fantasia, Hosanna To The Son of David

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8686c | 1 CD | $15.95 || Orlando Gibbons


Clerks' Group : Dufay

Review: This is the third disc recorded by The Clerks' Group for their Signum Records trilogy. The series explores repertoire in the medieval period and culminates with a selection of works by Guillaume Dufay, found in one of the great anthologies of 15th century music: the manuscript Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, MS Q15 (or "Q15" as it is known by its friends).The Q15 manuscript contains examples of almost every conceivable musical genre of the period by a vast array of composers. The Clerks' Group has chosen to perform works by a single composer, but still the variety of forms and styles on offer is bewildering. Guillaume Dufay was a composer who witnessed and contributed to most of the revolutionary changes to occur in music composition in the 15th century. The album includes some of the earlier works so often neglected from Dufay's repertoire, and goes on to explore compositions that demonstrate this revolutionary genius. Some compositional techniques celebrated by The Clerks' Group's performance include the playful exchange of Dufay's song-like melodies between the vocal lines; and the use of mensural canon, where the same melody is sung by all voices but at slightly different speeds. These are just a few examples of the radical nature of Dufay's music as demonstrated on this recording. The Clerks' Group brings immense diversity to the music and its performance. Their refreshing approach displays sincere empathy and passion for this astonishing repertory.

Songlist: Vasilissa, ergo gaude, Kyrie Fons bonitatis, O beate Sebastiane, Gloria (Bol. Q15 no. 107), O gemma, lux et speculum, Credo (Bol. Q15 no. 108), Supremum est mortalibus, Sanctus & Benedictus (Bol. Q15 no. 104), Inclita stella maris, Agnus Dei (Bol. Q15 no. 105), Gloria "Spiritus et alme", O sancte Sebastiane

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7033c | 1 CD | $15.98 || Guilllaume Dufay


Clerks' Group : Guillaume de Machaut and Music from the Ivrea Codex

Review: The Clerks' Group is a highly sophisticated ensemble of young singers whose immaculately polished performances show Machaut's extraordinary lyrical gift - even in the genre of the motet, so often thought of as abstract and unapproachable. Edward Wickham clearly views Machaut as a medieval romantic, drawing out the finely wrought lines and wallowing in the luscious sonorities of his music; and the effect is enhanced by a resonant acoustic, though the recorded sound is somewhat over-glossy. Each singer has a naturally light, straight-toned voice and can effortlessly flat over the vocal lines like 'a feather on the breath of God'. The highlights of this disc are three motets by Machaut based on love songs in performances which sound every bit as poetic and expressive as 18th-century Lieder; and the rapturous Marian motet Felix virgo / Inviolata genitrix, in which the group's intimately veiled sound is especially apt. Alongside the Machaut works are a handful of anonymous motets from the Ivrea Codex, a major 14th-century source containing some fine compositions, if never quite matching Machaut's genius. With the caveat that a few motets go a long way, this is a truly haunting collection.

Songlist: Sanctus: Sanans fragilia , Kyrie , Gloria: Et versus homo , Dame/Fins cuers doulz, Trop plus est bele/Biayte paree de valour , Lasse!/Se j'aim mon loyal ami , Credo, Tu qui gregem/Plange, regni respublica , Christe qui lux/Veni creator spiritus , Felix virgo/Inviolata genitrix , Amours/Faus samblant , Post missarum sollempnia/Postmisse modulamina , Sanctus, Clap, clap / Sus Robin, Qui es promesse / Ha! Fortune, Martyrum / Diligenter inquiramus

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7852c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella |


Clerks' Group : Ockeghem Requiem

Review: Here is the climactic fourth release in the Ockeghem series of which two volumes have been final Gramophone Award Nominations.The Requiem is specially released to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Ockeghem's death. This extraordinarily moving work is coupled with the first CD recording of the beautiful Missa Fors Seulement, reflecting the fluid and diverse style of his late masterpieces.

Songlist: Missa Fors Seulement: Kyrie, Gloria, Cedo, Fors Seulement, Fors Seulement, Du tout Plongiet/ fors Seulement, Requiem: Introitus, Kyrie, Graduale, Tactus, Offertorium

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6500c | 1 CD | $15.98 || Johannes Ockeghem


Collegium Regale : Vox in Rama - Giaches de Wert

Review: The Flemish-born Giaches de Wert was one of many foreigners to dominate the Italian music scene in the mid to late sixteenth century, therefore to this day his music is largely unknown to many. It is the second of three books of Motets which appears on this disc, written when his skill as a madrigalist had reached its height. As part of the Kings College Choir, the choral scholars of Collegium Regale perform independently of the choir, singing a repertoire that encompasses 15th Century sacred music, jazz, folksongs and pop. Directed by Kings College's and the BBC Singer‚s renowned director Stephen Cleobury.

Songlist: O Crux Ave Spes Unica, Providebam Dominum, Hoc Es Praeceptum Meum, Benedicta Sit Sancta Trinitas, Hora Est Iam Nos, Hoc Enim Sentite In Vobis, Gaudete In Domino, Obsecro Vos Fratres, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Angelicus Domini Astitit, Amen, Amen Dico Vobis, Domine, Tu Es Qui Fecisti, Vox In Rama

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8974c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella || Giaches de Wert


Ensemble Amarcord : Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland

Review: "Nun komm der Heiden Heiland", containing Early and Renaissance Christmas music, won a CASA award in 2006 for "Best classical album" and is a most rewarding of the award. The tale told by the booklet stretches back to St. Augustine and his role in early Christian church music, all by way of explaining the origins of Nun komm der Heiden Heiland (Now come, savior of the Gentiles), the hymn that gives the album its title. It got started as a Latin hymn, Veni redemptor gentium, by Saint Ambrose, the bishop of Milan who baptized Augustine of Hippo; translated into German and simplified somewhat by Martin Luther, it became a pan-Protestant hit. The group's singing is intonationally dazzling and splendidly controlled, fully the equal of any of the world's more flamboyant male vocal ensembles but without drawing attention to itself.

Songlist: Alle Psallite Cum Luya, Veni Redemptor Gentium, Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland, Angelus Ad Virginiem, Magnificat Sexti Toni, Veni Redemptor Gentium, Stella Splendens, Pastores Loquebantur Inter Se, Officium Nativitatis Domini, Vetus Abit Littera Vid erunt Omnes, Sys Willekomen Heirre Kerst, In Dulci Jubilo, O Viridissma Virga, There is No Rose Of Swych Vertu, Es Ist Rose Entsprungen, Veni Redemptor Gentium, Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland, Alleluya: A Nywe Werk, Veni redemptor gentium

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9865c | 1 CD | $16.95 || Early Music Christmas CDs


Female Voices of Oxford Camerata : Let Voices Resound

Review: Just the fabulous treble voices of the Oxford Camerata sing the important 16th century collection of Finnish songs known as "The Piae Cantiones". In 1592, exactly three hundred years before the founding of the modern Finnish musical establishment, the headmaster of Turku Cathedral School compiled and edited a collection of 74 songs which he entitled "Piae Cantiones" (Devout Church). As a protestant he was at odds with the catholic publisher and this religious tension is evident throughout. The melodies originated at various times and features songs up to five parts. The song now known as Good King Wenceslasis is most enjoyable and this all a cappella recording is certainly interesting. The beautiful, uniform purity of sound the singers achieve make this recording an essential addition to any collection.

Songlist: Aetas Carmen melodiae, Parce Christus spes reorum, Tempus adest floridum, Resonet in laudibus, Cedit hyems eminus, Personent hodie, Jesu dulcis memoria, In dulci jubilo, Florens juventus virginis, Jermiae prophetae, Ave maris stella, Puer natus in Bethlehem

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7537c | 1 CD | $15.98 || Female Choral CDs


Gloriae Dei Cantores : Chants of Christmas

Review: Depicting the sacred mystery of Christmas in the ancient melodies of Gregorian chant, this recording will enrich anyone's experience of this holy season. The first Mass, the quietly joyful "Ad Missam in Vigilia," builds on the anticipation of the coming event, proclaiming the Good News of the salvation prepared for us by a loving God through the birth of His Son. The second Mass, the tender "Ad Missam in Nocte," is sung at the hour traditionally oberved as the time of Christ's birth. With exquisite beauty and strength, the Mass celebrated at dawn on Christmas Day, "Ad Missam in Aurora," expresses the coming of the Light into the world. The fourth Mass, "Ad Missam in Die," is a jubilant expression of the salvation and righteousness of God. This recording also includes special antiphons honoring the Virgin Mary.

Songlist: Introit: Hodie scietis, Gradual: Hodie scietis, Alleluia: Crastina die, Offertory: Tollite portas, Communion: Revelabitur, Introit: Dominus dixit, Gradual: Tecum principium, Alleluia: Dominus dixit, Offertory: Laetentur caeli, Communion: In splendoribus, Introit: Lux fulgebit, Gradual: Benedictus qui venit, Alleluia: Dominus regnavit, Offertory: Deus enim firmavit, Communion: Exsulta filia sion, Introit: Puer natus est nobis, Gradual: Viderunt omnes, Alleluia: Dies sanctificatus, Offertory: Tui sunt caeli, Communion: Viderunt omnes, Alma redemptoris mater, Ave regina caelorum, Regina Caeli, Salve Regina, Alma redemptoris mater, Ave regina caelorum, Regina Caeli, Salve Regina

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8566c | 1 CD | $15.95 || Early Music Christmas CDs


Gothic Voices : A Feather on the Breath of God

Review: This is the record that started the Hildegard craze back in 1982--and you need only listen to Emma Kirkby glide and soar through Columba aspexit (the opening hymn) to understand why. Gothic Voices performs the music very simply, either alternating soloists and unison choir over a drone or using a single unaccompanied voice. The singers render Hildegard's extravagant poetic imagery and melody not with the rhythmically fluid, ecstatic approach favoured by Sequentia, but with equalist rhythm and a calm, meditative quality. Gothic Voices' straightforward approach is less likely to send you into a rapturous trance than is Sequentia's, but in the hands of such fine singers as Kirkby, Margaret Philpot, and Emily van Evera, Hildegard's extraordinary texts and melodies are captivating--and clear enough to linger in the memory as melodies rather than just sensations. This record is still a bestselling title - try it and find out why.

Songlist: Columba aspexit, Ave, generosa, O ignis spiritus, O Ierusalem, O Euchari, O viridissima virga, O presul vere civitatis, O Ecclesia

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8828c | 1 CD | $19.95 | A Cappella || Hildegard von Bingen


Gothic Voices : A Laurel for Landini

Review: The award winning and worldwide famous vocal ensemble Gothic Voices travel to Italy and the origins of its impressive polyphonic music: A Laurel for Landini - 14th Century Italy's Greatest Composer. This disc presents the group performing music by the Italian composer Francesco Landini, one of the most prominent and influential composers of that time and one of the most important for the development of later forms of close harmonic chanting - the forerunner of the famous Madrigal that would flourish later in the 16th century. This disc not only sets out the panorama of the time and the genius of Landini himself but also works by his contemporaries. Here Gothic Voices collaborate with the worldwide acclaimed harpist Andrew Lawrence-King. This is an important release that will appeal to those interested in singing and early choral music to discover a whole new set and experiments from a composer that helped create the choral forms that later revolutionized the whole of western music.

Songlist: Sia laudato san Francesco, O sommo specchio, Creata fusti, o vergine Maria, Questa fanciull' Amor, Batista da Dio amato, Deh, dinmi tu, De sospirar sovente, Vaga fanciulla, Ave Maria, stella Diana, Ne la piu cara parte, Guarda una volta, Per Pallegrezza del nostro Signore, Cosi penoso, Donna, perche mi spregi, Musica son/ Gia furon/ Ciascun Vuol, Peccatrice nominata, Conviens' a fede, Lasso! di donna, Mein herz das ist versert, Ne la mia vita, Muort' oramai, Che pena e quest' al cor, Piu bella donn' al mondo, Questa fanciull' Amor, Vergine donzella imperadrice, Questa fanciull' Amor

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8993c | 1 CD | $17.95 | A Cappella |


Gothic Voices : Music for the Lion-Hearted King

Review: This CD commemorates the eight hundreth anniversary of King Richard the First's coronation in Westminster Abbey. Soloists or groups of two to four singers perform each piece a cappella, sometimes overlapping melodies and harmonies with dazzling technicality. Each track glows with vocal virtuosity. The effect heightens with each successive listen. During Richard's lifetime the principal forms of secular court music were the conductus and the chanson. A conductus was an accentual Latin poem set to music for one, two, three or even four voices. The number of parts in a conductus governs not only its sound but also its style in performance, for the addition of voices usually increases the drive and aggressiveness of the work.

Songlist: Mundus vergens, Novus miles sequitur, A la doucour de la bele seson, Sol sub nube latuit, Hac in anni ianua, Anglia, planctus itera, Etas auri reditur, Vetus abit littera, In occasu sideris, L'amours dont sui espris, Purgator criminum, Li nouviauz tanz, Pange melos lacrimosum, Ma joie me semont, Ver pacis apperit, Latex silice

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8748c | 1 CD | $11.95 | A Cappella |


Gothic Voices : The Marriage of Heaven & Hell

Review: An essential document of 13th-century music and of vocal performance of three- and four-voice motets. 'A wonderful collection. Lusciously sung sensuous music...remarkable addition to the distinguished sereis of records from Gothic Voices' (Gramophone)

Songlist: Je ne chant pas / Talens m'est pris, Trois sereurs / Trois sereurs / Trois sereurs, En tous tans que vente bise, Plus bele que flors / Quant revient / L'autrier jouer, Par un matinet / He, sire! / He bergier!, De la virge Katerine / Quant froidure / Agmina milicie, Trop volentiers chanteroie, Ave parens / Ad gratie, Super te Jerusalem / Sed fulsit virginitas, A vous douce debonnaire, Mout souvent / Mout ai este en dolour, Can vei la lauzeta mover, Quant voi l'aloete / Diex! je ne m'en partire ja, En non Dieu / Quant voi la rose, Autres que je ne sueill fas, Je m'en vois / Tels a mout, Festa januaria

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8826c | 1 CD | $13.95 |


Hilliard Ensemble : Josquin Desprez: Motets & Chansons

Review: Of all the north European composers who made their careers writing beautiful secular madrigals in sixteenth-century Italy, Josquin Desprez is regarded as the greatest. Fusing learned polyphony with rhythmic gaity, the madrigal was hugely popular in Italy and England. The brilliant British male octet The Hilliard Ensemble, sounding very much like angels, are one of few groups who can do justice to this difficult, soaring material. From the sacred "Ave Maria... Virgo serena," "Veni Sancti Spiritus," and "De profundis clamavi" to the secular "Petite camusette," "Je me complains" and "Je ne me puis tenir d'aimer," this is wonderful music. 13 songs. Extensive liner notes give lyrics and translations.

Songlist: Ave Maria ... Virgo serena, Absalon fili mi, Veni Sancte Spiritus, De profundis clamavi, Scaramella va alla guerra (a4), In te Domine speravi (a4), El grillo (a4), Mille regretz, Petite camusette, Je me complains, En l'ombre d'ung buissonet, Je ne me puis penir d'aimer, La deploration de Jhan Ockeghem (a5)

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7012c | 1 CD | $11.98 | A Cappella || Josquin Desprez


Hilliard Ensemble : Medieval English Music

Review: Towards the end of the 14th century, England saw the rise of a pleasingly consonant musical style that was admired abroad as the "English manner." Paul Hillier and the Hilliard Ensemble are heard in a selection of the most beautiful polyphonic songs and carols from this rich period. "The performance...match the beauty of the music - a sound of remarkable purity. Their ensemble singing is perfection itself, and each part is exquisitely phrased." - Stereo Review

Songlist: Salve Virgo Virginum, Now Springes The Spray, Ah Si Mon Moine, Adam Lay Ibounden, Foweles In The Frith, So Trieben Wir Den Einter Aus, The Coventry Carol, Gaudete, An Adult Lullaby, Veni, Yeni, Salva Nos, Verbum Caro, Lo, Here My Heart, Binnorie O Binnorie, This Ay Night, Miri It Is

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6320c | 1 CD | $11.98 | A Cappella |


Hilliard Ensemble : The Singing Club

Review: Singing clubs of one kind or another played a small but key role in the history of English convivial music. Bustling 17th-century coffee house and taverns were venues for the singing of rounds and catches. Not particularly sophisticated, but many composers, Purcell the most prominent, created a series of miniatures whose wit and melodic invention have rarely been equaled. Acclaimed all-male septet The Hilliard Ensemble, directed by Paul Hillier, divides "The Singing Club" in two parts, beginning with "The Catch Club," Thomas Ravenscroft's "A Round of three country dances in one" and "There were three ravens," John Hilton's "Call George again, boys," William Lawes' "Drink tonight of the moonshine bright," "Dainty fine aniseed water fine" and "Gather your rosebuds while you may," John Wilson's "Where the bee sucks, there suck I," Purcell's "Tis woman makes us love" and "Sir Walter enjoying his damsel," Thomas Arne's title tune and others. The second part, "The Glee Club," features the upbeat "Foresters sound the cheerful horn" by Henry Bishop, Thomas Arne's "Sigh no more, ladies," John Smith's "The Anacreontick Song," Robert Pearsall's "There is a paradise on earth," and Joseph Bamby's "Sweet and low." 21 spirited, lilting, romantic a cappella songs that touch and cheer us on many levels-a beautiful, joyous CD!

Songlist: A Round of three country dances in one, There were three ravens, Call George again, boys, Drink tonight of the moonshine bright, She weepeth sore in the night , Dainty fine aniseed water fine, Where the bee sucks there suck I, Gather your rosebuds while you may, 'Tis woman makes us love, Sir Walter enjoying his damsel, Inigo Jones, Epitaph, The Singing Club, Foresters sound the cheerful horn, To soften care, The Anacreontick Song, Elegy on the death of Mr. Shenstone, Sigh no more ladies, There is a paradise on earth, O who will o'er the downs so free, Sweet and low

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7877c | 1 CD | $9.98 | A Cappella |

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