Anonymous 4 & Stuff I like

I happened to be surfing the web trying to track down a priest friend when I found a site (I forget which) that opened up playing music from this album.

Normally, I hate when a site opens with music; but this was a mesmerizing sound.

So, of course, off I ran to You Tube:

Lovely, ancient sounds. You can hear samples of the album here, also.

While I’m talking about stuff I like, I ordered these bookplates and these sticky notes as part of a gift basket for a friend who is stationary-and-ink fixated. Loved them.

Also loved the packaging note from the seller, at After checking out their site, I now know what I am getting my MIL for Valentine’s Day (along with her annual gift of rose-scented soap from the Dominican Nuns of Summit). Pop, of course, will get his usual stash of Mystic Monk Coffee.

I know, I know, we all want chocolate for Valentine’s Day, but sometimes soaps, eyeglass holders and paper goods and coffee are good choices, too! Happy shopping!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Jan

    Oh! We’ve had Anonymous 4 in our collection for a long time – you’re right, it’s mesmerizing song.

  • Everwyck

    Their Christmas album, On Yoolis Night, is beautiful.

  • Joi

    Oh, you MUST listen to the album Voices of Light! It was composed by Richard Einhorn as a companion to the wonderful Passion of Joan of Arc film, from 1928. Anonymous 4 provide the voice of Joan. The CD is simply spectacular; if you get the Criterion Collection dvd of the Joan of Arc movie, you get the option of playing the film with Voices of Light edited in as a soundtrack, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

    Voices of Light is here: link

    (oh, and their Americana albums “American Angels” and “Gloryland” are wonderful as well!)

  • Joi

    P.S. If you want, The Passion of Joan of Arc with the Voices of Light music is on YouTube, starting here: link My favorite track is here, about 4 minutes into the 4th video.

    But to watch this amazing film on YouTube is a travesty, so get the DVD if you can. It’s pretty widely available. You’ll never see a better St. Joan than Maria Falconetti.

  • Mandrivnyk

    Ooh, I love Anonymous 4. The album they did with the Chilingirian Quartet, “Darkness Into Light” is also gorgeous. Especialy sublime on it is their rendition of Tavener’s “Come and do Your will in me.”

    I also love their song, “Blooming Vale” off the “American Angels” album… so pretty.

  • dry valleys

    I keep thinking if I had a religion (just in case you forgot, I don’t!) it would be some form or other of Orthodoxy. Daniel Larison, for example, is a convert to Orthodoxy. I don’t know what he was prior to that.

    I was listening to Eternal Memory because I had heard about how they chant it. You can imagine, can’t you?

    The first time I was abroad, I was 18 & it was just before I went to university. Because I am from a modest background, I got various reductions in my fees so my parents actually saved money by having me away from home. With me having earned a few thousand pounds in the summer, we were able to go to Moscow with some friends of ours. As you can imagine I spent a fair while thinking about it- from my earliest years, I used to read atlases & travel guides & think about where I would go.

    I made a point of attending a church service because I wanted to see what it’s like. I see they ban tourists from a lot of services because they get in the worshippers’ way- but what if someone is both? I suppose I couldn’t have complained if they did but I wanted to see the lifves they live, & how better to do so in a short week?

    I don’t remember there being any kind of communion equivalent. The congregation weren’t expected to do a great deal & the priest had his back to us throughout- which I gather is usual practice. There were also some people who seemed to have some kind of official role moving around.

    But in more than 6 years I have not been back. I do like that tune though!

    I wouldn’t have enjoyed my trip as much if I hadn’t been labouring in a factory for 12 weeks, working all kinds of weird hours. Maybe that’s a lesson to us all :)

  • Manny L.

    Oh I have several of their albums. Their 11,000 Virgins: Chants for the Feast of St. Ursula is a really good one.

  • tersanctus

    For those interested, one of their members, Ruth Cunningham, will be leading a women’s schola for a EF Missa Cantata at Holy Innocents in Manhattan (W37th & Broadway) this Saturday, Feb. 6 at 1pm.

  • Bender

    I blame Anonymous 4 in part for prompting me to go on a chant/polyphony CD splurge. I have too many CDs as it is — I don’t have room for the couple dozen I bought after hearing them.

  • Mary Ann

    I love Padre Pio and when I lived in New Jersey I would visit his shrine, St John the Baptist in Manhattan often. Its been 5 years since I left the area but I frequently visit St.John’s web site as a spiritual visit with my Saint Pio. Imagine my surprise when I heard this beautiful chant.I too was mesmerized when I heard these beautiful voices. I explored the site with this angelic music in the background and felt I had been transported to a place where I can experience the peace and joy of Jesus. Here is the site:
    Church of St. John the Baptist

    [THAT is the site I heard it, thank you! -admin]

  • Michael Hallman

    We had Anonymous 4 come to our school (Villanova University) for an Advent concert this year, and they were simply fantastic. There were times when I was actually moved to tears by the simple beauty and elegance of the music. Beautiful!

  • Renee P

    Last year, when I received the unexpected news that I had suffered some fairly significant hearing loss, one of my first thoughts was that I eventually wouldn’t be able to hear one of my favorite artists: Anonymous 4. So, when I discovered that Anonymous 4 would be performing a mere 1 1/2 hours away from me at Duke Univ.Chapel, I asked my children for two tickets as my birthday present. My best friend and I sat in the pews of that stunning neo-Gothic church and were transported to medieval Spain by the soaring voices of four women clad in simple black. Since there is no way to convey the experience in words, I will simply say that it was one birthday present I will treasure for the rest of my life.

  • Renee P

    ps—The site Grooveshark has a decent collection of the music of Anonymous 4.

  • Frances

    They also have a website called Chant Village.

    NOT to be missed. Its for anyone but those with a bit of church, singing or music in their lives will really benefit. Chant newbies or vets all should go.

    I did 2 of their “camps” in the last 3 months. One at STanford Chapel (worth visiting CA just to hear the acoustics!!!) and one in SF. Wow. I may be a Chant groupie. How embarrassing!

    They fly all over doing these. The site has many other forms of chant, but since life is so short, I only want to spend my time workingon the chant that praises the fullness of Truth, Beauty, and Wisdom in the Trinity. No aspersions (sp?) cast on others, that is just my preference.

    I encourage, I strongly urge you all to check itout or invite them to DO a chant camp. YOu’ll never be the same!

    And no, I do not work for them. I just happened to hear about it and go one freezing cold, rainy night. What a reward I got.I think I levitated when I stepped inside the Stanford chapel and heard ordinary humans sounding like angels and in unison. Glory be.

  • ac

    This is perhaps the most beautiful recording of medieval music. It also led the way to the revival of interest in chant and other medieval church music.

    It features the sublime Emma Kirby. I’ve had this cd for many, many years. It never grows old.

  • Judy K. Warner

    I second the recommendation for Chant Village. I had a class with one of the Anonymous 4, Susan Hellauer, at Pinewoods Early Music Camp last summer. It was wonderful; I learned a lot about chant, and also learned a number of chants and how to phrase them. Susan was a terrific teacher who attended good Catholic schools as a child, majored in (I think) Medieval Church history in college, and has a beautiful voice. She is not religious now. But somehow when she is teaching you get the idea that it’s all in there somewhere, overlain by a veneer of the modern sensibility that so many people like her feel the need to adopt.

  • Steve P in Sparta, Wis.

    I’m so glad you found your way to Anonymous 4! I was fortunate enough to hear them when they were still unknown, performing the program that eventually became the “English Ladymass” CD. It was just the four of them in a circle with the audience standing around them on all sides, and it was magical. If you ever have the chance to hear them live, by all means go!