Motet: O nobilis nativitas / O mira dei / O decus virgineum / Apparuit
Antiphon: Lux de luce
Carol: Alleluya: A nywe werke
Hymn: Verbum supernum prodiens
Motet: Balaam de quo vaticinans
Carol: Ave Maria
Song: Gabriel, fram heven-king
Carol: Lullay: I saw a swete semly syght
Motet: Prollis eterne genitor / Psallat mater gracie
Hymn: Vox clara, ecce, intonat
Rondellus: De supernis sedibus
Antiphon: Omnes de Saba
Motet: Puellare gremium / Purissima mater
Carol: Lullay, lullay: Ais I lay on Yoolis night
Responsory: Tria sunt munera
Motet: Orto sole serene / Origo viri / Virga Iesse
Song: Peperit virgo
Carol: Ecce quod natura
Hymn: A solis ortus cardine
Carol: Ther is no rose of swych vertu
Antiphon: Videntes stellam
Carol: Nowell: Owt of your slepe aryse
This follow-up to Anonymous 4's debut "hit," An English Ladymass, is even better. From the choice of repertoire to the proficiency of the singing to the recorded sound, this is a standard-setting production. The 23 work... more »s--plainchants, carols, songs, and motets--invoke various aspects of the Christmas story: the visitation of the angel Gabriel, tributes to the Virgin Mary, gifts of the Magi, and hymns of praise for the birth of Christ. The sound is stunning: resonant yet intimate, warm yet vibrant. And while you can hear the individual character of each voice, together these four women make a sound of uncommon purity and beauty. The technical facility is evident with each closing phrase, each perfect unison. Critics are advised to jealously reserve such words as outstanding, excellent, and superior. But this is one of those recordings that deserve all those descriptions. --David Vernier« less
This follow-up to Anonymous 4's debut "hit," An English Ladymass, is even better. From the choice of repertoire to the proficiency of the singing to the recorded sound, this is a standard-setting production. The 23 works--plainchants, carols, songs, and motets--invoke various aspects of the Christmas story: the visitation of the angel Gabriel, tributes to the Virgin Mary, gifts of the Magi, and hymns of praise for the birth of Christ. The sound is stunning: resonant yet intimate, warm yet vibrant. And while you can hear the individual character of each voice, together these four women make a sound of uncommon purity and beauty. The technical facility is evident with each closing phrase, each perfect unison. Critics are advised to jealously reserve such words as outstanding, excellent, and superior. But this is one of those recordings that deserve all those descriptions. --David Vernier
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 11/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"`On Yoolis Night' performed by the quartet, Anonymous 4 is another collection of works dedicated to the worship of the Virgin Mary from medieval England. Unlike `An English Ladymass' and `a Lammas Ladymass', these are more like `incidental' music for the Christmas season or, as the subtitle states, `medieval carols & motets'. Thus, these do not comprise a complete mass and there is very little polyphony. There is much more singing in unison and `chanting'.
Six (6) of the 23 tracks are in Old or Middle English and may not be much more understandable to our modern ear than the 17 tracks in Latin. While seven (7) of the works are described as `carols', including one entitled `Ave Maria', not one will be known to either your neighborhood Christmas carolers or to the Shubert fans among us. In fact, it would be very interesting to compare this `Ave Maria' with that of Shubert and to determine the history of this particular title through the ages.
This is a great change and relief for our Christmas listening after being drowned in `Silent Night' and `Away in the Manger'.
A generous 68 minutes of a different kind of Christmas music. "
Chris Mooney | Pittsburgh , Pa | 03/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have 13 of their CD's . This one is the best . Four exquisite voices , painstaking research , facinating liner notes , all of their music has this in common . What sets this apart is the clairity of the recording . Each of these ladies have amazing voices that come alive with a good set of speakers . All of the reverberations and harmonics are there , and in phase . Turn it up and listen to the crispness of each voice on every note . This is one of my favorite CD's of all time ."
Beautiful voices great cd
Dianne Croft | Chicago, IL United States | 02/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Quite accidentally I discovered the Anonymous 4, thanks to the feature on Amazon.com that permits one to listen to an excerpt of the cd. I immediately became a big fan of this group. Now I am disappointed that they split up, but I intend to collect all of their works. An amazing talent."
An antidote to the usual holiday dreck
Evan Hansen | Minneapolis, MN USA | 01/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For all those like me who, by December 23rd, are ready to have a full-blown screaming fit if they have to endure yet one more hackneyed round of "O Holy Night," O, Little Town of Bethlehem," "The Holly and the Ivy," "Hark the Herald Angels," or "Little Drummer Boy," this beautiful record is your soothing antidote. These haunting melodies--sung as if by angels and recorded beautifully--will transport you inside the stone walls of an abbey in medieval Europe, where Christmas music is solemnly devotional--not tacky, commercial, overdone muzak. "On Yoolis Night" made me want to pray and meditate in peace, revering the birth of the Messiah. Which is a whole lot nicer than wanting to throw that full-blown screaming fit. Highly recommended."
"On Yoolis Night. Medieval Carols and Motets. Performed by Anonymous 4 (Ruth Cunningham, Martha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Johanna Rose). Recorded in November, 1992, at the Campion Center, Boston, Massachussetts. Harmonia Mundi HMU 907099. Total time: 68'03".
Record companies who dare to publish CDs with medieval music are often glad if they can manage to sell a few hundred copies; this CD, the second by Anonymous 4, stormed to the top of the Billboard charts when it first appeared in 1993. And not because it compromised or attempted any kind of "crossover", but simply because both the music and the performance (four delightfully pure, unaccompanied, vibrato-less female voices: three sopranos and one alto) are so beautiful that even the uninitiated can catch something of the spirit of joy and peace that this disk captures so eminently well. Yes, there are seven pieces of Gregorian-type chant here, and chant was "in" during the early 90's, but my feeling is that it was probably the polyphonic motets and carols that made this recording an early music hit. The sound is difficult to describe; the only comparison that comes to mind is the swirling, many-voiced and often extremely beautiful, but also highly volatile, effect of "singing in the spirit" or "sung glossalalia" in some well-ordered charismatic and pentecostal churches where one can, on occasion, feel translated into heavenly regions. Much the same can be said of this disk, which, as one might imagine, contains exclusively Christian material from what are generally known as the "Dark Ages" from the 5th to the 15th centuries A. D. Well, judging purely by the music presented here, those ages were, perhaps, not so dark as we moderns sometimes imagine. And the Christmas texts sung here so deliciously by Anonymous 4 are, surprisingly, much less Mary-orientated and much more directed towards Jesus than those on, for example, "An English Ladymass" (the group's first CD), thus being a lot less offensive to my evangelical sensibilities and providing well over an hour of rapt listening, and that not only at Christmas time. Absolute five-star plus rating!"