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  • The Cherry Tree - Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas
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The Cherry Tree - Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import

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Renowned for their unearthly vocal blend and virtuosic ensemble singing, the four women of Anonymous 4 combine historical scholarship with contemporary performance intuition to create their magical sound. Celebrating their 25th anniversary during the 2011-12 season, the ensemble has ... Read more in Amazon's Anonymous 4 Store

Visit Amazon's Anonymous 4 Store
for 26 albums, 3 photos, videos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

The Cherry Tree - Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas + American Angels - Songs of Hope, Redemption, & Glory + Secret Voices: Chant & Polyphony from the Las Huelgas Codex, c. 1300
Price for all three: $51.77

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Product Details

  • Composer: Anonymous, William Knapp, William Billings
  • Audio CD (September 14, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,764 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Prophetarum presignata
2. Nowel syng we bothe al and som
3. Alma redemptoris mater
4. The Shepherd's Star
5. Newell-Tydings trew
6. Mervele noght Iosep
7. Synge we to this mery cumpane
8. Qui creavit celum ('Song of the Nuns of Chester')
9. A Virgin Unspotted
10. Now me we syngyn
11. Lullay my child - This ender nithgt
12. Star in the East
13. Veni redemptor gencium
14. The Cherry Tree Carol
15. Salve mater misericordie
16. Hail mary ful of grace
17. Bethlehem

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Back in the studio after a four year hiatus Anonymous 4 returns with
The Cherry Tree an instant holiday music classic featuring medieval
English carols and Anglo-American spiritual songs. It is the
eighteenth original recording for the renowned vocal ensemble and
their first since 2006 s Gloryland which debuted at number three on
the Billboard classical chart. Anonymous 4 has been a perennial
presence on Billboard s Top Classical Albums chart and hit number one
with their folk-inspired American Angels in 2004. The Cherry Tree is
named after the miracle ballad of Joseph and Mary, the earliest text
of which survives from a Coventry Play from around 1400. The 'Cherry
Tree' story persisted in many forms, making its way into medieval
British carols of the mid-15th century and into British and American
traditional ballads. In it, Joseph doubts the divine origin of Mary s
pregnancy only to hear Jesus speak from within Mary s womb, causing a
cherry tree to bend its branches and offer his mother its fruit. The
2011-12 season marks Anonymous 4's 25th anniversary and the group will
be on tour in the US this fall.


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

Customer Reviews

Their tonal clarity, melodic song line and precise meter continues to delight my ears.
Carolyn Zogg
Besides that this is an amazing group and anyone interested in older Christmas music will really love this cd!
Amazon Customer
Sacred music that is very beautiful and appropriate for lovers of Christmas and classical music.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 30, 2010
Format: Audio CD
THE CHERRY TREE is about as fine a recording as there is to begin the thought of the Christmas season. And it is a welcome return to recordings by the Anonymous 4. This singularly gifted quartet of women is able to transport us to medieval and Renaissance times and other histories and the quality of their singing if anything is yet more pure than it ever has been. This group of carols and ballads is refreshing in that only a few of them are familiar to us. And of the familiar ones - such as the title carol The Cherry Tree is delivered in a manner than transcends more familiar settings. Most of the carols are centered on the Virgin Mary and as we have come to expect there is a sense of timelessness in the purity of the messages here.

Aside from the expected English carols are some carols attributed to American origin and it is doubtful many will recognize many of these beautifully composed and performed tunes. This is the recording that can be subtlely played in the background as the season approaches, setting just the right mood for the joys of the season. The Anonymous 4 shine brilliantly here. Grady Harp, October 10
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 16, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Anonymous 4
"The Cherry Tree: Songs, Carols & Ballads For Christmas"
(Harmonia Mundi, 2010)
Another masterful, gorgeous offering from one of the premiere vocal ensembles of the "early music" revival. This record collects Christmastime carols and ballads sung in England and the American colonies; included is "The Cherry Tree," a popular song in which Joseph's doubts about Mary's pregnancy are quelled by a miracle performed in utero by the future baby Jesus. Other songs in this album also explore the issues of Mary's miraculous birth, from well-known melodies such as "Hail Mary Full Of Grace" to more obscure works such as "A Virgin Unspotted" and "Now May We Syngyn." Lyrics are in Latin, old English, and modern English, and most of the songs share a similar structure, that of the traditional English carol, in which a soloist precedes the chorus, setting forth the song which the others later take up. It's quite nice to hear the Anonymous gals singing in English, and coming so close to more modern Anglo-folk traditions: fans of the liturgical and the folkloric alike will find this mellow record a welcome addition to their chestnut-roasting repertoires. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To World Music)
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 15, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
So, if you are a long time fan of Anonymous 4 then you will no doubt be interested in this recording. It is lovely and haunting and really lives up to the standard that we have come to expect from this talented group. HOWEVER. Now, this is really just my opinion and I think it in no way reflects badly on this group as a whole. Artist are free to explore whatever music they want and this group does everything with an air of sophistication, elegance and professionalism. But, I absolutely HATE the southern style songs they have been doing! I was really disappointed with American Angels simply because I find the earlier recordings so amazing and more interesting. I didn't even bother with Gloryland because I just don't find this genre of singing captivating. So I love this new album but I think the title track (from Kentucky 1917) is really jarring when combined with the other track listings and for me the only track I immediately skip. Besides that this is an amazing group and anyone interested in older Christmas music will really love this cd!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Rasmussen on March 16, 2011
Format: Audio CD
In 2003 I was blessed to see Anonymous 4 in concert at Augustana Lutheran Church in Denver. They were on a "farewell" tour promoting their "last" CD, American Angels - Songs of Hope, Redemption, & Glory, which was soon to be released. Though not pleased to see them go, they deserved a break after 16 albums, numerous tours and countless hours on the road. What a marvelous evening of shape-note singing it was. My mother had passed away that January and this uniquely spiritual music spoke to me.

Shape-note singing, also known as Sacred Harp music, is quintessentially American. The website Sacred Harp Singing puts it this way: "Sacred Harp is a uniquely American tradition that brings communities together to sing four-part hymns and anthems. It is a proudly inclusive and democratic part of our shared cultural heritage." I could not have put it better. Unlike others who have posted reviews here, I'm glad Anonymous 4 took time to come home to America for awhile.

Unfortunately, I don't really care for their latest release. This Christmas album is a mishmosh of styles and surprisingly unmoving compared to their earlier CDs, of which I own 14, including Einhorn's composition entitled Voices Of Light that accompanies Dreyer's silent film masterpiece, The Passion of Joan of Arc (The Criterion Collection). I know many fans of Anonymous 4 will disagree, but take a closer listen and compare the entire album, not just one cut, with what you've heard before.
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