Composed by David Lang, love fail is a meditation on the timelessness of love that weaves together details from the story of Tristan and Isolde with more modern sources.Reviewing the BAM performance for the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini wrote: “It was Mr. Lang’s music, and the ethereal, pure-toned singing of Anonymous 4, that claimed me in the first section of the piece, which begins with the line ‘he was a blessed man.'”
1865 – Anonymous 4
A commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War with songs that were in the air in the year 1865. It includes ballads and choruses originally intended for the stage and the parlor, as well as songs and instrumental tunes from the hills and back roads of America. They portray the highly emotional, personal stories of soldiers, widows and others who lived through one of the bloodiest wars in American history.
Secret Voices-Anonymous 4
This CD contains repertoire from the Codex Las Huelgas. Spanning the entire 13th century – from virtuosic motets and conductus to heartfelt laments, plainchants and sacred songs – this important manuscript was compiled for a convent of aristocratic Castilian women who (in spite of a rule forbidding Cistercian nuns from singing polyphony) sang the most beautiful and demanding music from all across Gothic-era Europe.
Marie et Marion-Anonymous 4
Returning to the Montpellier Codex for this program of motets and chansons from 13th-century France, Anonymous 4 explores two dominant themes of the period: love and longing for the earthly/earthy Marion and the heavenly/virginal Marie. “A rich compilation of French motets (…) lovingly and radiantly sung” (The New York Times)
The Cherry Tree – Anonymous 4
“Anonymous 4′s trademark vocal blend, with its sparing use of vibrato and its careful dynamic gradations within phrases, suits this music beautifully. And three solo ballad-carols, along with the Americanized Cherry Tree Carol, showed that the singers are as powerful and communicative on their own as they are together.” (The New York Times).
Calling All Dawns – Various Artists
The members of Anonymous 4 were very excited to be asked to participate in an ambitious recording project, Calling All Dawns. It consists of twelve songs in twelve different languages, all dealing with the themes of life, death and rebirth. A4 was joined by many distinguished artists, including Frederica Von Stade and the Soweto Gospel Choir, performing other songs. The composer Christopher Tin is best known for his award-winning music for the video game Civilization IV, the title song of which, Baba Yetu, is featured on the CD. Anonymous 4, with Jacqueline singing the solo lament or keen, recorded a beautiful Irish inspired piece, Caoineadh.
Gloryland – Anonymous 4
“Having left medieval chant and somewhat later polyphony behind and moved, musically, across the Atlantic with their last CD (American Angels), the women of Anonymous 4 are still exploring. For their move up a few centuries, their impeccable tonal purity remains, but a decidedly American twang has been added to some of the folksier, Southern mountain-based tunes and revival songs. It’s as accurate and enchanting as everything else they do.” – Robert Levine (Amazon.com).
American Angels – Anonymous 4
“This is a break from their usual “early music” periods and locations; it presents American music, religious in nature, from the 18th and 19th centuries. And it’s absolutely beautiful from start to finish. Their normal, exquisite technique and purity here blend to sound the way we imagined the ladies’ choir in church meetings in America past might have sounded: sweet, sincere, and with harmonies recognizable yet somehow fresh. Some of the songs begin with the women singing “fa, so la” exercises, which was called “shape note” singing because some places taught singing with notes as shapes–circle, rectangle, diamond, triangle. But it’s the music that counts, and there are treasures here. They include two versions of “Amazing Grace,” one familiar, one with an unusual melody and a piece called “Blooming Vale” which is as sophisticated as anything on their previous albums. “Shall We Gather at the River” is performed with a clarity and loveliness that makes us forget that it’s normally sung as background to movies about the Great Depression. The foursome sometimes sing in rich harmonies and occasionally alone or in pairs or trios. This is glorious Americana and highly recommended.” -Robert Levine (Amazon.com).
Wolcum Yule – Anonymous 4
“This offbeat disc of seasonal songs and carols by the Anonymous 4 will delight their fans and please everyone else. The 19 selections include traditional folk melodies and texts, some of which date back to the Middle Ages, interspersed with fitting selections by contemporary composers including John Taverner, Benjamin Britten, and Peter Maxwell Davies, whose ethereal a cappella A Calender of Kings gets its first recording. Andrew Lawrence-King, playing Irish harp, Baroque harp, and psaltery with his accustomed finesse, is a major reason for the disc’s success, accompanying most of the vocals and contributing three lovely solos. The disc is crammed with highlight tracks, like the lilting Cornish Wassail song and the Irish Good people all, and haunting numbers like “Flight into Egypt,” sung in Gaelic, and “Behold, here is the best morning,” sung in Welsh. Excellent sonics and Harmonia Mundi’s typically fine production values also help make this a Christmas disc that will give joy in July.”–Dan Davis (Amazon.com).
La Bele Marie: Songs to the Virgin from 13th Century France – Anonymous 4
“Drawing upon both the Latin liturgy and chansons adapted from the French trouvère tradition of secular love songs, the combination of sources powerfully illustrates how strong devotion to Mary was in medieval France. But even more immediately striking is the New York-based vocal quartet’s near-magical ability to enrapture their listeners…yet one more star to add to Anonymous 4’s constellation of celestially beautiful recordings.”-Anastasia Tsioulcas (Amazon.com).
The Origin of Fire – Anonymous 4
“The selections here relate to themes associated with the Holy Spirit–the fire of creation, wisdom, the life-giving spirit, and love.The imagery of Hildegard’s visionary texts is replete with references to the basic elements–air, earth, fire, and water. The results are boldly original, at least within the restricted confines of chant, which offer compelling listening experiences as performed in the lustrous tones of Anonymous 4.” -Dan Davis. (Amazon.com).
1000 A Mass for the End of Time – Anonymous 4
“In one of the more interesting musical program ideas to be inspired by the turn of the calendrical odometer, Anonymous 4 revisits the original “millennium madness” with a disc of chant from around the year 1000.” -Matthew Westphal (Amazon.com).
Darkness into Light – Anonymous 4
“The Bridegroom…contains some wonderful high-lying vocal lines… the performances here are gorgeous, as the Anonymous 4 sing with their usual combination of abundance and absolute purity.” -Robert Levine (Amazon.com).
The Second Circle (The Love Songs of Francesco Landini) – Anonymous 4
Singing with “their trademark celestial tone,” ANONYMOUS 4 offer a handpicked bouquet of medieval love songs (ballate) by the 14th-century Italian master of subtle refinement, Francesco Landini.
“Anonymous 4 sing with their trademark celestial tone, their voices blending and intertwining like choirs of seraphim.” – (Early Music America).
The Music of Charles Jones – Locrian Chamber Ensemble
The CD contains the cantata “The Seasons” (1959), to texts by five English poets of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, a relatively early piece. Like his later pieces we find that mixture of the modern and the timeless so characteristic of Jones’s music.
The Juniper Tree (Andrew Toovey) Broomhill International Opera Festival.
Live recording of the opera The Juniper Tree, in which Jacqueline sings the role of Daughter. Also includes “Fallen,” a song cycle of four poems by Rilke.