The Cherry Tree: Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas

Anonymous 4

23.9931.49
Clear
Original Recording Format: DSD 64

In the much-beloved miracle ballad, The Cherry Tree Carol, Joseph doubts the divine origin of Mary’s pregnancy; but to his astonishment, and to his shame, Jesus speaks from within Mary’s womb, causing a cherry tree to bend its branches and offer his mother its fruit. This ballad originates in medieval England; we know that it was spoken or sung during the Coventry Plays for the Feast of Corpus Christi, around 1400. The Cherry Tree Carol was passed on from singer to singer in the British Isles for hundreds of years, and eventually established roots in America, as well. The cherry tree story also made its way into medieval British carols of the mid-fifteenth century. On this recording, The Cherry Tree, we sing an American version of The Cherry Tree Carol, some of its medieval carol ancestors, and other medieval British carols and British-rooted American tunes.
Early in the thirteenth century, Franciscan missionaries traveled to the British Isles, preaching a return to a simple, selfless form of Christianity. As in Italy, where Franciscans composed or inspired the composition of numerous laude spirituali (sacred refrain songs in Italian, based on popular models), Franciscans in Britain set in motion a wave of religious poetry and song in English, the language of the common people.
The medieval English carol is a product of this same vernacular-religious song tradition. We now associate the word carol with Christmas, but this was not the rule in the fifteenth century, when carols were written to celebrate other feasts, saints and occasions, or to teach a moral lesson. The origin of the medieval British carol has been the subject of musicological debate in the twentieth century: were these carols composed to accompany liturgical processions, or were they church-sanctioned alternatives to rude and rowdy dance songs with pagan roots? If it was the latter case, it stands to reason that many of these songs would be appropriate to the Christmas season, which was, since ancient and pagan times, an season of riotous festivity and unruly celebration. Fifteenth-century

Tracklist

1.
Prophetarum presignata
01:29
2.
Nowel syng we bothe al and som
02:59
3.
Alma redemptoris mater
04:02
4.
The Shepherd?s Star
02:21
5.
Newell - Tydings trew
03:58
6.
Mervele noght Iosep
06:19
7.
Synge we to this mery cumpane
03:15
8.
Qui creavit celum - Song of the Nuns of Chester
04:21
9.
A Virgin Unspotted
02:34
10.
Now may we syngyn
02:45
11.
Lullay my child / This ender nithgt
03:46
12.
Star in the East
03:15
13.
Veni redemptor gencium
05:29
14.
The Cherry Tree Carol
03:10
15.
Salve mater misericordie
01:30
16.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace
04:28
17.
Bethlehem
02:49

Total time: 00:58:30

Additional information

Artists

Mastering Engineer

Brad Michel

Genres

,

Label

Qualities

Channels

, ,

Original Recording Format

Composers

, , ,

Producer

Robina G. Young

Recording Engineer

Brad Michel

Recording location

Skywalker Sound, Marin County California

Recording Type & Bit Rate

DSD64

Recording Software

Pyramix

SKU

807453DI

Release Date August 8, 2014
SKU 807453DI

Press reviews

Multichannel or stereo remains a personal option…

Anonymous 4 – The Cherry Tree: Songs Carols Ballads For Christmas

Music that is performed after hundreds of years, coming from a spiritual age, transcends fashion and permeates deep down, our emotional and spiritual roots.
Especially music stripped down to its essence, with such grace and care.

The whole Cherry Tree album is magic and purity; a progression of voices, poliphony, tone, mood, time of origin that create an outworldly harmony, at first, and then touches one’s core.
From carol to carol, in a fractal-like fashion, one feels each tune, each verse and word with a clarity and purity as if being there, in a medieval church, in the middle ages.
All this is possible thanks to history, the singers of Anonymous 4, Harmonia Mundi, Skywalker Sound (which, just like Anonymous 4, sounds outworldly), digital transfer, its availability – in my case through Native DSD Music – your audio equipment, and (also important) your taking the time and peace of mind to listen.

Multichannel sound

I like surround sound – to me multiple speakers fill the room with music a lot more than two speakers, and I do not play it loud. This may sound simplistic; perhaps it is.
Some people cannot conceive listening to surround music. “How can I listen to music coming from all around me? As if I am in the middle of the orchestra… No way, music comes from up front, that’s where the singers are!”
Or, speaking about digital music: “This sound is too pure for me. When I listen to a vinyl jazz record, I am in that smokey bar, listening through smoke and chatter.”

Multichannel or stereo remains a personal option, of course.

To me being enveloped by music from everywhere is elevating. Just like listening to an orchestra from the front speakers, while the sound reverberating from the church walls comes from the back.

The Cherry Tree album is no exception. The recording is flawless, either stereo or multichannel. I do not use this word lightly, but yes, it’s flawless.
The multichannel version has no Low Frequency Effects channel (bass), but with these heavenly voices, it’s perfect.
Music envelops you from all the active speakers alike.

All in all, a pristine creation. And to be able to get it in DSD format is having an album (with medieval music) for the future.

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