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IN THIS ISSUE:

The Cherry Tree
RUTH RETURNS
A4 Sheet Music Available
Gloryland
American Angels No. 1 Hit
A4 Now on iTunes.
Jacqui has a new Web Site
News From Ruth
VOL on DVD and VHS

The Cherry Tree

Anonymous 4’s newest program, The Cherry Tree, is named for the miracle ballad of Joseph and Mary, the earliest text of which survives from a Coventry Play. of c. 1400 The Cherry Tree story persisted in many forms, making its way into medieval British carols of the mid-15th century, and into British and American traditional ballads.

In The Cherry Tree, we present medieval and traditional versions of the story, like Mervele noght iosep and As I lay up on a nyght, along with other much-loved medieval carols, like Nowell synge we, Make we joye, Synge we to this mery cumpane, and Hail Mary. We also perform the monophonic 15th-century ballad carols Newell: Tydings trewM, and Lullay my child: This ender nithgt, along with the well-known lullaby carol of the Nuns of Chester, Qui creavit celum. Along with these, we also sing traditional American Christmas songs with British roots -- A Virgin Unspotted, The Shepherd’s Star, Star in the East and William Billings’ joyous 4-part fuging tune Bethlehem.

We premiered The Cherry Tree during the 2008 holiday season (see concert listings) and recorded it for harmonia mundi usa in February 2009 for Fall 2009 release




RUTH RETURNS, WHILE JOHANNA “HARPS”

Welcome back to Anonymous 4 veteran, Ruth Cunningham, who has returned to the fold to sing in place of founding member Johanna Maria Rose. Also a founding member of the group, Ruth went her own way 10 years ago, to pursue studies in sound healing and improvisation, to record collaborative projects with other musicians as well as create her own solo programs. Ruth will be touring regularly and recording with Anonymous 4, as well as continuing her own work.

Meanwhile Johanna’s destiny is taking her to an exciting collaboration with Alyssa Reit and her ensemble, Singing Harp. Johanna will be wearing a number of hats for this wonderful troupe that brings fairy tales to life with music, theatre, and storytelling. Go to Johanna’s “Catching Up feature for further details of her adventures

Looking ahead into the 2008-2009 season, A4 will perform and record The Cherry Tree, a new a cappella program interweaving two of the group’s favorite repertoires: medieval English carols and traditional American harmonies (you can hear us singing these repertoires on our CDs On Yoolis Night and American Angels). Next in line for take-off is our second “a cappella project with instruments:” Lost Girls will feature American folk songs about girls who face many kinds of challenges. A4 will also continue to tour Long Time Traveling with violin/mandolin master Darol Anger and guitar guru Scott Nygaard





American Angels and Gloryland sheet music now available!

ANONYMOUS 4 MUSIC is very pleased to announce that the wonderful organization, www.a-cappella.com, has partnered with Hal Leonard, Inc. to publish octavo collections of the music from our chart-topping cd American Angels (hmu 907326)). We’ve had numerous requests for sheet music from American Angels, and now we’re happy to say that it is available.

Three of the five octavo editions appeared in April 2007. The remaining two should be available by early summer 2007. You can see and purchase these editions at http://www.a-cappella.com/category/anonymous_4

AND NOW, music from our Gloryland cd is available for download purchase at a-cappella.com as well.

In the very near future, you’ll be able to purchase for instant download some of our greatest medieval hits as well, including our editions of the chants of Hildegard von Bingen. Octavo editions selected medieval pieces from earthsongs are also available through a-cappella.com. Stay tuned – more to come!




Gloryland - A4’s recording of American Favorites is a long-running hit



When we first began to work on the music for our
American Angels recording, we had been singing together for many years; but a couple of us were new to singing Anglo-American spiritual vocal music. It wasn’’t long before we were all deeply in love with the tunes we had chosen; and soon it became clear that our concert-going and CD-listening audience had fallen in love with them, as well. We simply had to sing more American tunes.

Because of that, and because of the great success of American Angels (80+ weeks on the Billboard Classical Top 25 and counting . . . ) we  returned to the studio in October 2005 for another recording of American music.

Gloryland is the diary of our second pilgrimage to the roots of Anglo-American vocal music. The journey has led us to more of the most beautiful religious ballads, folk songs, folk hymns, and gospel songs ever to be found. Each sung poem contains a world of meaning in itself: together they tell a story of love and loss, hope and redemption.

Our versions of the religious ballads and folk songs on this program follow the performances of traditional singers from the Ozark and the Appalachian mountains. We sing shape note tunes in the spare three-part harmonizations in which they first appear in the nineteenth-century tunebooks. Similarly, we have chosen to perform two gospel songs as they were originally set by their composers. The other hymns and gospel songs on Gloryland were arranged by members of Anonymous 4.

For this recording, we collaborated with two very wonderful musicians: Darol Anger  (fiddle, guitar, mandocello) and Mike Marshall  (mandolin, mandocello, guitar). Darol and Mike are super-instrumentalists who slip seamlessly over the borders of bluegrass, newgrass, classical and jazz.

Click here for track list, sound clips and purchase info






American Angels is a #1 smash hit


It was a couple of years ago that we thought we'd explore some of the great musical heritage of our own country, and the idea of American Angels began to take shape. It ended up being one of our all-time favorite projects, and it sounds like a lot of people agree with us.

American Angels spent almost a year on the Billboard Classical Top Fifteen list since its release in March '04, peaking at #1.

Online giant Amazon.com lists American Angels among its "Top 100 Overall Customers' Favorites" (which includes all categories, including pop and rock), and in the "Top 10 Customer Favorites in Opera & Vocal" for 2004.

The reviews have been glowing (we blush to say) and, more important, they come from a wide range of reviewers -- classical, of course, but also folk, country and pop outlets.


Several of these reviews appear on our American Angels discography page, along with a tracklist, notes and soundclips.


Anonymous 4 on iTunes

Several Anonymous 4 albums are now available for purchase on Apple's iTunes as well as on Rhapsody.com. You can purchase entire cds, or individual "cuts." Check it out on your pc or mac.



Jacqui has a Web Site

Jacqui now has a presence on the Web.  Check out her beautiful web site  for concert info and more.



News From Ruth

Ruth has just released two new solo cds: Light and Shadow: Chants, Prayers and Improvisations and Harpmodes: Journey for Voice and Harp. Both are available for purchase at her website www.ruthcunningham.com/recordings or at cdbaby.com

Ruth and collaborator Ana Hernandez have created a new CD, "HARC Inside Chants." The CD includes settings of short sacred chants (close to the style of Indian kirtan) from the Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Jewish traditions. In many of the pieces traditional and newly composed chants serve as ground for improvised counterpoint. Accompanied by piano, medieval harp, tongue drum, flute, and guitar, "HARC: Inside Chants" is a meditative experience crafted to move the heart to its innate state of openness, compassion and peace. This cd is available at cd baby and can also be downloaded from itunes.

Ruth's CD with  harpist Diana Stork,  Sacred Light, is an album of healing music. Sacred Light is a collection of original compositions of musical prayers and visionary improvisations. Visit the At Peace Music site to read more about Sacred Light and listen to sound clips or visit Amazon.com to purchase a copy.



 
Voices of Light Now Available on Video & DVD
Anonymous 4 has been involved in some intriguing projects and collaborations, but there is really nothing like Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light, an oratorio written to accompany the 1928 classic silent film, "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (dir. Carl Dreyer). The combination of image, text and music is powerful, and we've never known it to leave an audience anything other than deeply moved.

Einhorn's music has been available on CD (featuring A4) from Sony since 1997, but for the complete experience, you'd have to catch a live performance. Now, at last, the film and Voices of Light are available together. The DVD version even contains additional material not available on the CD or video.  Click here for ordering info.
 


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