Anonymous 4, the astonishing female a cappella quartet that specializes in pre-1600 “early” music, announced a decade ago that it would cease to be a full-time ensemble. But despite dialing down their touring and recording schedule, the group has been remarkably productive since. They’ve released a series of revelatory albums, including the early American folk hymns, gospel and camp revival songs on 2004’s American Angels and 2006’s Gloryland. Last year Anonymous 4 returned to a favored destination, the 13th century, with Secret Voices: Music from The Las Huelgas Codex. Collected for a convent of noble and aristocratic women who were ostensibly forbidden from practicing polyphonic singing, Las Huelgas includes elegant French love motets, lively Latin conductus, soul-stirring laments and virtuoso polyphony for the daily Mass. For SFJAZZ, Anonymous 4 presents Sisters in Spirit, a special program encompassing both the medieval material from Las Huelgas and the early American music of Gloryland. The heralded quartet’s 25th anniversary comes next year, and there is no better place to kick off this celebration than the glorious environs of Grace Cathedral.
Note: Grace Cathedral’s soaring vault produces a natural, seven-second reverberation. This effect, different from typical concert hall acoustics, will be an integral component of the performance.
Ruth Cunningham vocals
Marsha Genensky vocals
Susan Hellauer vocals
Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek vocals