Slacker Logo

Anonymous 4

ON AIR
Advertisement
Advertisement

Bio

The female vocal quartet called Anonymous 4 is one of the most popular and respected small vocal groups specializing in early music. The group has attained the elusive combination of popularity and respect through its unique blend of creativity and scholarly/historical depth. The name Anonymous 4 comes from a scholarly convention for designating anonymous medieval writers and scribes with numbers; working with a particular manuscript by the scribe known as Anonymous 4, they found it an ideal name for their new quartet when they formed in 1986. Its purpose was to experiment with the sound of medieval music (both chant and polyphony) as sung by higher voices. Its original members included Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Johanna Marie Rose, and Ruth Cunningham. Jacqueline Horner replaced Cunningham in 1998, and in 2007, Cunningham returned, replacing Rose. The group's four members are singers of considerable beauty of tone, range, and flexibility. Anonymous 4 is renowned for the depth of its scholarship. Hellauer does the primary music research, and when needed prepares the group's repertory by transcribing it into modern notation from original sources. Genensky is in charge of language research and study of literary sources, and adapting readings for their concerts. The teamwork results in concerts that avoid presenting the music in a vacuum. Anonymous 4's programs are innovative and entertaining, relating the music to its time and milieu through narrative and poetry interwoven with the music. Sometimes they fill out groups of chants or fragmentary pieces of polyphony with music of their own composition in order to make convincing wholes, but the new music they create is done accurately enough to blend seamlessly with the medieval originals. Beyond such historical considerations, the group's astonishingly beautiful and pure vocal blend has made it one of the leading acts in classical music recording. Despite being involved in what may seem a narrowly specialized academic area of music, the group sold about a million copies of their recordings on the Harmonia Mundi label by the turn of the 21st century. Among these are On Yoolis Night, a medieval Christmas album that won the prestigious French Diapason d'Or award. Its first disc, An English Ladymass, was CD Review's Classical Early Music Disc of the Year, and its fourth, The Lily and the Lamb, was Classic CD's Disc of the Year for 1996. Tower Music reported that the group's 11,000 Virgins, music by Hildegard von Bingen, was one of the top 100 Independent Label releases in 1997-1998. Other significant albums include Voices of Light, Richard Einhorn's contemporary oratorio-soundtrack to Carl Dreyer's classic 1928 film The Passion of Joan of Arc (1995). The group turned to early American religious traditions with its albums American Angels (2003) and Gloryland (2006). The group took a break from full-time touring and recording after its 2003-2004 season, doing only a few special appearances and recordings, but in 2013 began touring again, with a new album released in early 2014 (Marie et Marion) and a new project featuring music of the American Civil War period with Bruce Molsky. However, the return did not last long; the group announced its full retirement at the end of the 2015-2016 season.
Read All Read Less

Albums by
Anonymous 4

false

    23 songs

    On Air

    Secret Voices: Chant & Polyphony from the Las Huelgas Codex

    19 songs

    On Air

    Gloryland

    20 songs

    On Air

    American Angels

    19 songs

    On Air

    Wolcum Yule

    20 songs

    On Air

    Christmas Music from Medieval Hungary

    24 songs

    On Air

    Legends of St. Nicholas: Medieval Chant & Polyphony

    22 songs

    On Air

    Lammas Ladymass - 13th and 14th Century English Chant and Polyphony

    18 songs

    On Air

    11,000 Virgins: Chants for the Feast of St. Ursula

    15 songs

    On Air

    Richard Einhorn: Voices of Light

    23 songs

    On Air

    On Yoolis Night

    17 songs

    On Air

    Bele Marie: Conduits et chansons de l'Ars Antiqua

    18 songs

    On Air

    1865: Songs of Hope & Home

    15 songs

    On Air

    David Lang: Love Fail

    24 songs

    On Air

    Marie et Marion

    17 songs

    On Air

    The Cherry Tree: Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas

    17 songs

    On Air

    The Origin of Fire: Music and Visions of Hildegard von Bingen

    18 songs

    On Air

    Hildegard Von Bingen: 11,000 Virgins

    20 songs

    On Air

    A Star in the East

    21 songs

    On Air

    An English Ladymass

    86 songs

    On Air

    Noël: Carols & Chants for Christmas

    62 songs

    On Air

    Noël (Three-Disc Set)

    17 songs

    On Air

    La Bele Marie: Songs to the Virgin from 13th-Century France

    1 song

    On Air

    Love's Illusion

    1 song

    On Air

    Darkness into Light


Artists Related to
Anonymous 4

On Air

Hildegard von Bingen

On Air

Trio Mediæval

On Air

Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos

On Air

Chanticleer

On Air

Mediæval Bæbes

On Air

The Tallis Scholars

On Air

Sequentia

On Air

Cantus Sacred Music Ensemble

On Air

Cathedral Singers

On Air

Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields

On Air

King's College Choir of Cambridge

On Air

Waverly Consort

On Air

King's Singers

On Air

Monks of the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery

On Air

Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz

On Air

Westminister Choir

On Air

Benedictine Monks of St. Wandrille de Fontenell

On Air

Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares

On Air

Monks of St. Francis d'Assisi

On Air

Benedictine Monks of Chevetogn

On Air

Vienna Boys' Choir

On Air

Gregorian

On Air

Benedictine Nuns of St. Cecilia's Abbey

On Air

Benedictine Monks of St. Michael's

See All Related Artists