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Secret Voices: Chants & Polyphony from the Las Huelgas Codex / Anonymous 4

Audio Samples

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Virgines egregie
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Ave Maris Stella
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Castrum pudicicie / Virgo viget melius
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Fa fa mi / Ut re mi, discant
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Maria virgo virginum
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Benedicamus Domino cum cantico
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Salve porta / Salve salus / Salve sancta parens
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Rex virginum amator (2v Kyrie trope)
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Spiritus et alme, gloria
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Verbum bonum et suave
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Salve virgo regia / Ave gloriosa mater / [Domino], motet
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Sanctus & Benedictus
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Gaude virgo nobilit / Verbum caro factum / Et Veritate, motet
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Agnus dei
>     Gloriosa spes reorum
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : O monialis
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Belial Vocatur
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : In virgulto gracie, conductus
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Ave regina celorum / Alma redemptoris mater / [Alma], motet
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Benedicamus domino a 3 (rondellus)
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Si vocatus ad nupcias, song
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Mater patris et filia
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Benedicamus domino a 2
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Omnium in te christe, song

Album Summary

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Virgines egregie
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Ave Maris Stella
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Castrum pudicicie / Virgo viget melius
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Fa fa mi / Ut re mi, discant
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Maria virgo virginum
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Benedicamus Domino cum cantico
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Salve porta / Salve salus / Salve sancta parens
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Rex virginum amator (2v Kyrie trope)
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Spiritus et alme, gloria
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Verbum bonum et suave
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Salve virgo regia / Ave gloriosa mater / [Domino], motet
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Sanctus & Benedictus
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Gaude virgo nobilit / Verbum caro factum / Et Veritate, motet
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Agnus dei
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : O monialis
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Belial Vocatur
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : In virgulto gracie, conductus
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Ave regina celorum / Alma redemptoris mater / [Alma], motet
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Benedicamus domino a 3 (rondellus)
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Si vocatus ad nupcias, song
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Mater patris et filia
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Benedicamus domino a 2
>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Omnium in te christe, song
Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

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.

There are elegant French love motets here, like Claustrum pudicicie/Virgo viget, which were retro-fitted with holy words for the sisters to sing. There are conductus, like Mater patris et filia, Ave maris stella and Parens patris natique, with unpredictable rhythms and lively hockets. There are also heartfelt laments, like O monialis conscio, written on the death of a beloved member of the sisterhood. The sisters had written or collected for them, virtuoso polyphony for the daily Mass as well, and we include several of these: the troped Kyrie Rex virginum and Gloria Spiritus et alme. We also get a glimpse into the musical dedication of the convent in a unique "solfeggio" exercise, Fa Fa Mi / Ut Re Mi, for the sister's music lessons, where they practiced singing their hexachords under the watchful ear of the music mistress. The repertoire of the Las Huelgas manuscript provides the proof that Anonymous 4, far from singing 'men's music', are following in the footsteps of their much-older sisters who had no difficulty (except from their male monastic superiors) in finding and performing the most virtuosic, avant-garde polyphonic music of their time. It's time now for Anonymous 4 to bring them to life again.

"The great strengths of Anonymous 4 are their distinctive tone and their meticulous tuning. Their weakness is that they tend to phrase everything in a similar way - short sections of text with an audible gap at the end of every line - which helps if you want the music to be a metaphor for calm breathing, but not if the narrative runs across that gap." - BBC Music Magazine

"As ever, their tuning is laser-sharp and their voices are fresh and, within the bounds of historical propriety, very expressive. Each voice has its own character, as many pieces on this collection reveal, yet they can also blend into a seamless whole...This is the most satisfying recording I have heard of music from Las Huelgas and is another triumph for Anonymous 4." - International Record Review

BBC Music Magazine
The great strengths of Anonymous 4 are their distinctive tone and their meticulous tuning. Their weakness is that they tend to phrase everything in a similar way - short sections of text with an audible gap at the end of every line - which helps if you want the music to be a metaphor for calm breathing, but not if the narrative runs across that gap.

International Record Review
As ever, their tuning is laser-sharp and their voices are fresh and, within the bounds of historical propriety, very expressive. Each voice has its own character, as many pieces on this collection reveal, yet they can also blend into a seamless whole...This is the most satisfying recording I have heard of music from Las Huelgas and is another triumph for Anonymous 4.

Gramophone Magazine
There are many reasons why this is a superlative issue. First of course is the wonderful but rarely heard music of the Las Huelgas manuscript... And then there is the singing of Anonymous 4, who are hard to challenge in this kind of repertory. It is not just that their tuning is astonishing... It is also that they have four very distinctive voices that manage to blend perfectly and balance perfectly without at any point losing clarity.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009).



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Works Details

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Virgines egregie
  • Ensemble: Anonymous 4
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Medieval
  • Form: Choral

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Ave Maris Stella
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 9 sec.

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Castrum pudicicie / Virgo viget melius
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 17 sec.

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Fa fa mi / Ut re mi, discant
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 23 sec.

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Maria virgo virginum
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 16 sec.

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Benedicamus Domino cum cantico
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 29 sec.
  • Form: Vocal

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Salve porta / Salve salus / Salve sancta parens
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Rex virginum amator (2v Kyrie trope)
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 19 sec.
  • Form: Choral

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Spiritus et alme, gloria
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 29 sec.
  • Form: Choral

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Verbum bonum et suave
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Salve virgo regia / Ave gloriosa mater / [Domino], motet
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 59 sec.
  • Form: Choral

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Sanctus & Benedictus
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 39 sec.
  • Form: Choral

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Gaude virgo nobilit / Verbum caro factum / Et Veritate, motet
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 42 sec.
  • Form: Choral

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Agnus dei :: Gloriosa spes reorum
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 26 sec.

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : O monialis
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 6 sec.

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Belial Vocatur
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Medieval
  • Form: Choral

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : In virgulto gracie, conductus
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Medieval

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Ave regina celorum / Alma redemptoris mater / [Alma], motet
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 49 sec.
  • Form: Choral

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Benedicamus domino à 3 (rondellus)
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 32 sec.

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Si vocatus ad nupcias, song
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 26 sec.
  • Form: Vocal

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Mater patris et filia
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 22 sec.

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Benedicamus domino à 2
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)

>Anonymous, Codex Las Huelgas : Omnium in te christe, song
  • Notes: Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (04/2011); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (04/2011); Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California (11/2009); Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, IN (11/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 34 sec.
  • Form: Vocal