1000: A Mass for the End of Time / Anonymous 4
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Product Description

Remember all of the year-2000 nervousness in the latter part of 1999? That was nothing. As the year 1000 approached, people all over the Christian world were convinced that the Apocalypse--as depicted in the biblical Book of Revelation--and the end of the world were at hand. In one of the more interesting musical program ideas to be inspired by the turn of the calendrical odometer, Anonymous 4 revisits the original "millennium madness" with a disc of chant from around the year 1000--specifically, a Mass for the Feast of the Ascension, one of the few occasions on which the liturgy included readings from the Book of Revelation. This is the oldest written Western music to have survived, and it's difficult even to decipher (the original notation has no staff lines or clear indications of rhythm), let alone perform. Yet, the challenges involved seem to have done these ladies good: not only is their performance both assured and confident, but one can hear new facets in their vocal sound--a sound that, however beautiful it might be, some listeners find monotonous. (One new facet is Jacqueline Horner, the quartet's newest member, for whom this is the first recording.) The singers experiment with interpretation of ornaments that are indicated in the manuscript sources (there's a fascinating little trill that sounds rather like a cooing dove); in some of the chants, they add an additional line in accordance with the principles of improvising polyphony that were laid out in 10th- and 11th-century treatises. The entire program seems thoroughly considered, as well as immaculately executed. If you count on the consistently pure, silky tone and meditative quality that has made Anonymous 4 world-famous, you'll definitely find it here; if you've gotten bored with them, you might find this disc a fascinating surprise. --Matthew Westphal

Customer Reviews:

  • Solemn, devout, fear inspiring!
    These can pretty much sum up the emotions on this recording. As the title obviously shows, this mass was composed at the birth of the second millenium. People expected the world to end and Judgement Day approach, When one listens, one can actually feel the fearful anticipation in this music. A must have and a great job by Anonymous 4!...more info
  • Perfectly lovely - wrong, but still perfectly lovely.

    For those of you who - like me - have had a couple experiences with Gregorian Chant that moved you deeply - and now you need some Gregorian Chant for those moods when nothing else is right - this is it. "A Mass For The End Of Time" is beautiful, and rich, and the selections intense and moving. This is exactly what most people reading this are looking for. Furthermore the performers seem to have captured the spirit of the music - which is critical because this is spiritual music. So why do I give it 4 stars?

    Gregorian Chant is not music that can be removed from its place and time well. It is site specific - it should be heard live in a cathedral whose walls are stone or at least in a place that reflects sound - setting up resonance inside the head. Gregorian Chant is a form of meditation that is distinctly medieval European. The group that performs "A Mass For The End Of Time" is 4 women called Anonymous. But Gregorian Chant was written for men - it has different feel when men do it. Anonymous is very good - but the music would work even better with 4 equally good male voices....more info

  • No End only a Beginning
    I only started listening to "Annonymous 4" this past year but I love them. I have not been dissappointed by any of their CD's. They have a sampler CD entitled "Portrait" that features songs from their upteen CD's, you might start there to see if you like this type of music. There is not much for me to say about this CD except it is beautiful. The voices of angels on earth. I imagine this music is not for everyone but if you're reading this you are at least curious. Holy music from a bygone millennium, medieval music for spiritualists in the new millennium. Much too technical and not enough expertise to explain the music , suffice to say you feel cleansed after listening. A quite period , a time for contemplation, a time to search one's soul, a time for a performance by "Annonymous 4". A wayward Catholics connection to the spiritual path written a thousand years ago, it's church music to listen to anywhere. Written for the feast of the Ascension it elevates the mind and soul to those places that only peace can bring. It is hard to distinguish when there is a solo and when there is a chorus, it is sung singularly in unison inspired by the divine. The wonder and beauty of all it inspires is the gift that the "Annonymous 4" have recreated. Light a candle, close your eyes and listen, the church is within....more info
  • Flawless. Just flawless.
    In the year 1000, medieval Europe was fraught with war, political intrigue, and despair. Furthermore, some sects believed that at the end of the millennium, judgment day would arrive. Things were very much the same in the year 2000. In this album, Anonymous 4 flawlessly performs music from the Ascension mass that would have been sung at the time- the mass which contains the most references to the end of days outside of Advent- as well as various apocolyptic music texts from the turn of the millennium. Anonymous 4's performance is incomparable. Their unity of sound, smoothness, clarity, and beauty make the CD a pleasure to listen to. In addition, since it's almost the end of Ordinary Time (another part of the liturgical year where the end of days is referenced), this is a good time to listen to it....more info
  • One of their finest
    What can be said about the renowned, magnificent, unfailing, and achingly beautiful music of Anonymous 4? You can't really go wrong with any of their discs. They are all top notch. If I had to recommend one to a first-timer, I would have to suggest either this one, "1000 - A Mass for the End of Time," or "The Legends of St. Nicholas." Both are remarkable. Remarkable in a way that transcends their normal stunning beauty. The artists have grown in power and depth over the years. This album shows it....more info
  • 1000 A Mass for the end of Time - Anonymous 4
    Anonymous 4 has done it again! 1000 A Mass For the End of Times once again demonstrates the purity and clarity of the human voice that these four women together create. The Medieval Chants and Polyphone for the Ascension are an interesting combination of music. If you enjoy Anonymous 4, this CD is a must for your collection....more info
  • Flawless
    This is a wonderful recording. Very clean with exactly the right amount of ambience to convey a sense of being in large venue, even when played in straight stereo instead of a surround mode. Very impressive. Harmonia Mundi comes through again. Definitely something best heard in a quiet environment. The only thing that would make it better for me would a multichannel SACD version, but I think the improvement would relatively minor given how good this is....more info
  • A Peace Beyond All Understanding
    I have always been highly suspicious of "spiritual people". Why them and not me? I was only looking for pretty music when I, a rock n roller by upbringing, purchased this CD. What followed during the listening of this CD, was a deeply meditative state as I let the music, so beautiful words cannot describe, transport me into a deeper consciousness. There I was able to pray from the deepest part of my soul. A first. It has immediately replaced my incremental valium use. I am not a meditator, not into Yoga, don't even like people who are, but this music sounds like the holy ghost if it can be personified, who pleads with such compassion for each and every one of us in a world gone mad. The gregorian chant music on this particular cd seems to be telling the story of time and man to God. It is a sad and compassionate tale that doesn't miss a detail as its heavenly and soulful sound tells in words beyond my understanding a long story filled with strife, sin, pain and sorrow, yet with such love and feeling that it catches its listener up as though it were part of the communication to God and lifts the listener to a serene place where all of the cement jungle, and hostile traffic, and hate among people seem to become the other dimension and not the dimension you find yourself in when listening to this CD. Maybe it is something different for every listener. This was my experience....more info
  • Year 1000--A Mass for the End of Time
    The year AD 1000 appeared to be an apocalyptic harbringer of destruction to the devout Catholics of Western Europe. This collection of medieval chants based on themes of God's impending wrath and the judgement of the world are excellent primary sources for understanding the mystical religious mindset of the days of yore. Gregorian Chant, while different from Byzantine (Greek) and Russian chanting, is a very methodological and otherworldly form of music. It's monotone is radically opposed to the harsh discord of "rock n' roll" and "rap" music which sound like broken machinery that are so popular among all aspects of society, even the so-called "Christian rock." Although the music itself is sung in Latin, the disc is accompanied by a booklet which gives the lyrics in English translation (along with a few other languages)....more info
  • Simply beautiful
    I have been listening to the music of Anonymous 4 for several years, and this is one of their most lovely creations. I'm no musical scholar, but their work has really opened up the world of medieval music to my ears and, I suspect, many others' as well. If music based on the Apocalypse is not your cup of tea, try one of their many other CDs. You will not be disappointed....more info
  • Want to hear something spectacular?
    For most folks, Gregorian Chants are probably a little off the beaten track. This is a stellar recording that's hard to beat, and the best of my Gregorian Chant collection. You won't be disappointed....more info
  • Lovely
    A lovely performance of music from the beginning of the western musical tradition. The vocal quality of the performance is first rate and the music itself is very interesting. Recommended strongly. ...more info