Anonymous 4 – Marie et Marion (2014) [FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz]

Anonymous 4 – Marie et Marion (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 55:46 minutes | 1 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Booklet, Front Cover | © harmonia mundi

Many listeners have gotten their introduction to medieval music through the American vocal quartet Anonymous 4, which has a knack for performances that are insightful, sensuous, and apt at putting the concerns of the music into a contemporary settings. They remain productive after several personnel changes and two decades of recordings, several of which have performed strongly on classical sales charts. Marie et Marion is something of a sequel to the group’s 1994 release Love’s Illusion, which contained music on the theme of courtly love from a manuscript collection known as the Montpellier Codex. It was collected, around 1300, in Paris, not Montpellier, and it was, as far as it is possible to know at this late date, state-of-the-art stuff at the time. Marie et Marion focuses on a specific aspect of this repertory: the connections between sacred and secular polyphony at a time very close to the dawn of the latter. The two titular figures are the Virgin Mary and a shepherdess named Marion, the same one who appears in the earliest known work with a named composer, Adam de la Halle’s Jeu de Robin et Marion, or Play of Robin and Marion. In that piece she rejects the amorous advances of the shepherd Robin, and here too she is, like Mary, rather unattainable. The point is that medieval musicians did not think of the sacred and secular spheres as firmly separated the way modern ones do. They could even, as a couple of pieces in the final “Marie-Marion” section of the program, be put together in the same piece, with sacred and secular texts going on at the same time (the use of multiple texts is characteristic of this music), and the foundational “tenors” of all the polyphonic pieces come from the realm of chant. This is a profitable listen either for the delicious sounds of the singers’ voices clashing in the linear harmonies of the music, or for an introduction to the polytextual motet and chanson around 1300, or both.

01. Mater Dei Plena-Mater Virgo Pia-Eius (Mo 66)
02. He Mere Diu-La Virge Marie-Aptatur (Mo 146)
03. A La Clarte Qui Tout-Et Illuminare (Mo 189)
04. Marie Assumptio Afficiat-Hujus Chori Suscipe-[Tenor] (Mo 322)
05. Chanson: De la gloriouse fenix
06. Ave Lux Luminum-Salve Virgo Rubens-Neuma (Mo 56)
07. Plus Joliement C’Onques-Quant Li Douz Tans-Portare (Mo 257)
08. Reverdie: Volez vous que je vous chant
09. J’Ai Les Biens-Que Ferai Biau Sire-In Seculum (Mo 138)
10. Que Ferai Biaus Sire-Ne Puet Faillir-Descendentibus (Mo 77)
11. Pensis Chief Enclin-[Flos Filius Eius] (Mo 239)
12. L’Autre Jour Par Un Matinet-Hier Matinet Trouvai-Ite Missa Est (Mo 261)
13. Quant Florist La Violete-El Mois De Mai-Et Gaudebit (Mo 135)
14. Sans Orgueil Et Sans Envie-[Maior] Iohan[Ne] (Mo 225)
15. Trois Serors-Trois Serors-Trois Serors-[Perlustravit] (Mo 27)
16. Chanson: Amors me fait commencier
17. En Mai Quant Rosier-L’Autre Jour Par Un Matin-He Resvelle Toi Robin (Mo 269)
18. Pucelete Bele Et Avenant-Je Languis Des Maus-Domino (Mo 143)
19. Diex Qui Porroit-En Grant Dolour-Aptatur (Mo 278)
20. Pour Chou Que Jʼaim-Li Joli Tans-Kyrieleison (Mo 299)
21. Chanson: J’ai un cuer trop lait
22. Par Une Matinee-Mellis Stilla-Domino (Mo 40)
23. Or Voi Je Bien-Eximium Decus-Virgo (Mo 273)
24. Marie et Marion: Plus bele que flor-Quant revient et fuelle-L’autrier joer-Flos [Filius Eius]