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Anonymous 4 performs this Saturday, April 30 at 8PM, Town Hall.

April 26, 2011

Anonymous 4: Marsha Genensky, Ruth Cunningham, Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek and Susan Hellauer

Early Edition is very happy to have a guest blogger this week, Susan Hellauer, from Anonymous 4.  Anonymous 4 will be performing this Saturday, April 30 at 8PM at Town Hall.  There is a free pre-concert lecture at 7PM.

Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Program notes are available here.

We are looking forward with great eagerness to two things this weekend: 1) singing for one of our very favorite audiences on earth, those gathered by the Early Music Guild, and always gathered into the most beautiful and resonant spaces for us. We always feel like we can RELAX and enjoy the venue (and the coffee, and the food, and the shopping . . . ) when we come to Seattle. But THIS time, we’ll also have the pleasure of 2) working with our colleagues and friends Shira Kammen (vielle) and Peter Maund (percussion). Did I not mention that we are also their Biggest Fans? Well, consider it mentioned.

We’re all landing from NYC and the Bay Area of California on Thursday midday, and will gather to rehearse in the late afternoon and evening. We’ll work together again on Friday, and then play and sing songs in public on Saturday for you. We’ve made a composite program of works from our latest recording project (just wrapped), “Secret Voices: Music of the Las Huelgas Codex,” and some of the Cantigas de Santa Maria. This is all 13th century Iberian repertoire, but two very different sides of that coin. We’ve been eyeing the Las Huelgas repertoire since Anonymous 4 first sang together. Though there’s some controversy over who actually sang the repertoire in this manuscript made for the royal Castilian convent in the late 13th century, we find some evidence in the texts of the works themselves that these pieces were sung by the nuns at this convent (despite the Cistercian prohibition against nuns singing polyphony). Some of the works were newly composed in Castile, but many others were imported from elsewhere in Europe, most especially from the virtuoso repertoire of Notre Dame de Paris. Many songs with amorous lyrics were “contrafacted” (i.e. they were refitted with sacred Latin texts), so that the nuns could sing them in liturgy, for non-liturgical devotions, or just for good clean monastic fun. The Cantigas, on the other hand, were ordered up by a Castilian monarch, Alfonso X “el Sabio” (the learned) during the 13th century, and are written in the poetical language of Galician (native to the northwest corner of Iberia, where the shrine of Sant’Iago at Compostela is found).

We think they mesh and contrast well, these two contemporaneous repertoires, and show a good, rounded-out picture of 13th-century sacred art music. We hope you enjoy them!

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