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Harmonia Mundi
HMG 507156

Code-barres / Barcode : 0794881852727

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Reviewer: Rob Barnett

Here are 21 short pieces from the Codex Calixtinus. The home of the late 12th century Codex is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela on the Atlantic seaboard of North-West Spain. One of three great centres of pilgrimage, this place occupies a crucial position in the European Middle Ages. The Codex comprises plainchant much of which is for the Vigil and Feast of St James. This devotional music is heard in editions prepared by these singers and is sung with the usual pristine vocal purity associated with The Anonymous 4 (Ruth Cunningham, Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Johanna Maria Rose). Notable among these pieces is the melisma of the Benedicamus Trope and Ad sepulchrum (trs. 5 and 7). The frictionless ascents demanded in Cunctipotens genitor are confidently accomplished by a quartet of voices that always sounds as if it is an ensemble of at least four times that size. A fresh tone of innocence appears in Gratulantes celebremus festante (tr. 16) - very enjoyable too, complete with trilled delays and echoes. A special serenity radiates from Portum in ultimo (tr. 19).

The liner notes are by Susan Hellauer, one of the Anonymous 4.

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