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Secret Voices: Chant & Polyphony from the Las Huelgas Codex, c. 1300 Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import, October 11, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Anonymous 4 revisit their favorite era in repertoire that illuminates medieval women s affinity for the most complex polyphony of their time. Spanning the entire 13th century from virtuosic motets and conductus to heartfelt laments and sacred songs the remarkable Las Huelgas 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, advanced and demanding music from all across Gothic-era Europe.

Review

Few groups afford pleasures of such purity and sublimity. --The New York Times

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Virginies egregie
  2. Ave maris stella
  3. Claustrum pudicicie/Virgo viget
  4. Fa fa mi/Ut re mi
  5. O Maria virgo/O Maria maris stella
  6. Benedicamus domino: cum cantico
  7. Salve porta/Salve salus/Salve sancta parens
  8. Kirie: Rex virginum amator
  9. Gloria: Spiritus et alme
  10. Verbum bonum et suave
  11. Salve virgo regia/Ave gloriosa mater
  12. Sanctus & Benedictus
  13. Gaude virgo regia/Verbum caro factum
  14. Agnus dei: Gloriosa spes reorum
  15. O monialis conscio
  16. Benedicamus domino: Belial vocatur
  17. In virgulto gracie
  18. Ave regina celorum/Alma redemptoris mater
  19. Benedicamus domino a 3 (rondellus)
  20. Si vocatus ad nupcias
  21. Mater partis et filia
  22. Benedicamus domino a 2
  23. Omnium in te christe


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 11, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import
  • Label: HARMONIA MUNDI
  • ASIN: B00585QLZA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,167 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 23, 2011
Format: Audio CD
They may be called Anonymous 4 but their artistry is so refined that mentioning the names of these four sublime singers does not seem inappropriate; Susan Hellauer, Ruth Cunningham, Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek and Marsha Genensky. In this CD SECRET VOICES the artists recreate Las Huelgas Codex, a work of inordinate beauty from the 1300's.

From some background information, 'The Codex Las Huelgas is a music manuscript or codex from c. 1300 which originated in and has remained in the Cistercian convent of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas in Burgos, in northern Spain. The convent was a wealthy one which had connections with the royal family of Castile. The manuscript was rediscovered in 1904 by two Benedictine monks who were researching Gregorian chant. The manuscript contains 45 monophonic pieces (20 sequences, 5 conductus, 10 Benedicamus tropes) and 141 polyphonic compositions. Most of the music dates from the late 13th century, with some music from the first half of the 13th century (Notre Dame repertory), and a few later additions from the first quarter of the 14th century. Many of the pieces are not found in any other manuscripts. It is written on parchment, with the staves written in red ink with Franconian notation. The bulk of material is written in one hand, although as many as 12 people contributed to it, including corrections and later additions. Johannes Roderici (Juan Rodríguez in modern Spanish) inscribed his name in a number of places in the manuscript. He may have composed a couple of the pieces in the manuscript, as well as being scribe, compiler, and corrector, according to his own inscriptions. The manuscript was intended for use in performance, and raises questions regarding performance practice of the pieces it contains, especially the polyphonic repertory.
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Medieval polyphony and plainchants are more often heard as octets and sixteens, with accordant volume of voice but also a slight distortion even among the finest groups. This recording of but four voices performing 13th-century Spanish liturgical pieces of the Cistercian Benedictine order allows great clarity of voice and arrangement. Moreover, the relative simplicity increases attention and subsequent musical and spiritual effect. Listening to the 58-minute SACD disc with a surround sound system, I find that the four women of Anonymous Four, even with modern allowances in adjusting rhythm and notation in their new transcriptions, take me back to the fairly independent convent and refuge of nobility, near Burgos. Here, French motets, intertwining duos, rounds, polyphony of the Mass, sacred songs, and laments centered around the Virgin fill the space with a delicate, elegant soprano sound. The rich variety of composition and the ethereal beauty of voice coupled with excellent engineering make this album an outstanding addition to the discography of the group. The insert includes all the lyrics and their translations.
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One of the best things about Anonymous 4 is their ability to select fresh, interesting, rewarding music that also challenges the listener's musical presets. Their sound is unique, of course, and their technique is superb, but their programming ability is also top-notch. This CD is worth re-hearing.
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I was with an admirer of this group in the hospital. We listened to some samples and thanks to the wonders of the net were able to download thus album to my cloud. She lay with my ipad on her lap and together we escaped to another century
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By loki on March 22, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
my husband & i own all the "anonymous 4" recordings.
i went to school with one of the vocalists.
whenever we need a calming mood, one of us will say: "put the girls on."
if early music aint your bag, dont bother.
if extraordinary musicianship that produces a mind blowing ethereal experience is, buy it.
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The content of this CD is lovely and beautiful and five stars, but I am very glad that amazon offers a digital rip of it upon purchase, because the CD won't play in my home CD player (which is why I purchased the CD... to listen to as I fall asleep).

I did not notice that this CD is a Hybrid SACD - DSD before I purchased it, so that's my fault. Not that I would have known what that means (I had to do some research on it), but I should have paid better attention to the details. I had no idea there were different types of audio CD's, but there are, and this kind won't play in my home CD player. I'll pay closer attention in the future.

Bottom line.... the music is beautiful, but make sure that you have the hardware to play the CD before you purchase it.
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and I was not disappointed. This veteran group has always performed
to an incredibly high standard. The excel performing music from this era.
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By Alan S on December 6, 2012
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Another great set of Anonymous 4's music. I listen to them at home, at work, in the car, everywhere I go.
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