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Anonymous 4
An English Ladymass

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
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

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.

Item code: 6200C | 1 CD | $15.98 add item to cart
Early Music | A Cappella | Female | United States
HMU 907080

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