Yet another achingly beautiful cd from these four wonderful ladies. I got it as a Christmas present, and it was one of my favorites. I've been a fan of theirs since English Ladymass, the first one, and they just keep getting better! If you love beautiful music, want to get a sense of what medieval people got to listen to, or just want to hear something that transports you far away from your everyday stress, buy this! Or any one of their other cds! I think they've got 3 Christmas cds out now, and they are a welcome change of pace at the holidays.
There is a wonderful (technical and dense) book entitled Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bari, and Manhattan: Biography of a Legend by Charles W. Jones which traces the history of the legend of St. Nicholas. Anonymous 4 has put together a splendid cd which illustrates in song parts of the legend; the notes include several pictures illustrating the legends. The best known of these is Bishop Nicholas providing the dowries for the three daughters of a righteous man unable to paid the dowries - on the cd a reading "A worshipfull man hadde thre doughtres virgin". Lesser known are the birth stories - already fasting on Wednesday's and Friday's at birth; Intonent hodie on the cd. As usual the Anonymous 4 provide a splendid performance of the chant and polyphony. The cd is well considered in providing variety - the interspersing of readings it particularly effective in this collection. Highly recommended as an antidote to Santa-Clausitis, the dread overdose of the Christmas season.
I often make collections of early music that combine vocal and instrumental peaces that gives the ultimate pleasure for my ears. like time has stoped for a second... i feel like im diving into a world of total beauty when i hear those 4 angels "chanting" if there is heaven then "anonymous 4" are there for the soundtrack my wish is that someone will convis them to make an album with some instruments added like harp and other autenthic tools(hi hi). in short buy this disk its a treasure!!!(and its one of their best ones too.)
'Legends of St. Nicholas' and 'A Star in the East' are both collections of medieval Christmas music. Both are based heavily on Latin chants. The first has some old English lyrics and the second is based on both original Hungarian material and material imported into Hungary from Greece and other centers of Eastern Christianity.
If you are considering one or the other, I find the 'Legends of St. Nicholas' to be the more diverse of the two, as it has chant, polyphony, and even some solo voices. The Hungarian selection seems just a bit too much like all the other material done by Anonymous 4.
To be sure, both are done with a typically exceptional high quality voice and recording technique, so you will not go wrong with either recording.
this rich compilation of rhythmic chant is performed by the purist sounding female quartet ensemble I have ever heard. Both exhilirating and extremely educational with in-depth descriptions of the saint, time period, complete with multiple languages, this CD is exellent! These women have incredible talent. It will put you in a peaceful calm that will energize you for days.
...This quartet has no equal. Ethereal vocalizations and harmonies. Performed with this much talent, skill, precision, and heart, ancient music can break through arbitrary categorization into modern realms of brightness and meaning. Merry Christmas to one and all, indeed. May you keep on singing, Anonymous4!
If you ever get a little tired of the continuous Christmas carols that are played day in and day out during the advent season and you need to just relax and get away from the screaming kids who have terrorised you with their antics the whole day, then turn off the light, and enjoy this CD. The music is sublime, varied and just eats up your stress......and it does bring a spiritual zing to the christmas atmosphere. My advise is that along with this music, you'll need a nice cozy arm chair, a warm fire place and a big cup of cocoa.....ENJOY!
I loved the theme and bought it for the Christmas season on the day of St. Nicolas 12/6. The selection of songs is quite intriguing and the execution simply beautiful. I did not regret this purchase on second.
a previous reviewer made the comment that this must be what angels sound like. a more true statement has not been made. this is a wonderful cd. the music is amazing. if you're looking for a peaceful sound, this is it. enjoy.
If you're tired of listening to "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and "Feliz Navidad" on the radio (not that I have anything against those songs), and want something more...ethereal, why not look here? This recording contains medieval chants that reflect the legends that grew around the historical character of Nicholas of Myra. He was 4th-century saint who was born in what is today Anatolia in Turkey. He inherited great wealth, which he gave away to the poor, and defended his congregation during times of persecution. Through various pagan legends, poems, the corruption of the Dutch "Sinter Klaas," and a Thomas Nast drawing, this character evolved into the modern Santa Clause. But before "Here Comes Santa Clause," there were chants to the actual figure of St. Nicholas, who sailors believed would protect them at sea. The music here is heavenly, and flawlessly executed by Anonymous 4 as usual. This is perfect for the Christmas season, or any time of the year.