English music from before the Dissolution of the Monasteries

Once frequently sung in the monasteries and cathedrals of medieval England, much of this music has survived through the ages as fragments, solitary flyleaves, and endpapers hidden in the bindings of unrelated manuscripts—virtually lost to the ages. This lamentable state is primarily due to one man, Thomas Cromwell (Oliver's great-great-great uncle), who presided over the Dissolution of the Monasteries as a result of Henry VIII's 1534 Act of Supremacy. This program couples these once-lost treasures from the period's most influential centers of musical activity – Durham, Fountains Abbey, Norwich, Bury St. Edmunds Abbey, and the cosmopolitan court of Edward III – with those found in the only complete codex written in the British Isles since the 11th century, the Old Hall Manuscript.

“The singing is responsible, tasteful, and unfailingly artistic, with lovely balancing and blending of voices. Those who may regret the dismantling of Anonymous 4 would do well now to embrace Liber unUsualis. . . . This plucky little ensemble is a treasure to nurture.” — American Record Guide

PROGRAM (subject to change):

Veni sancte spiritus / Veni creator spiritus John Dunstable (c.1390-1453)

Benedicta et venerabilis V. Virgo Dei genitrix (Durham, 14th c.)
Iesu fili dei / Ihesu fili virginis / Iesu lumen veritatis (Durham, 14th c.)
Kyrie, Cuthbert prece (Durham, c.1350)

Includimur nube caliginosa (Fountains Abbey, 14th c.)
Veni mater gracie / Dou way Robin (Adel, Yorkshire, 1349)
Barbara simplex animo (Meaux Abbey, c.1300)
Patris superni gracia / Pia pacis inclita (Meaux Abbey, c.1300)

Virgo salvavit hominem (mid-14th c., provenance unknown)
O lux beata trinitas (mid-14th c., provenance unknown)

Salve scema sanctitatis / Salve salus servulorum Dunstable


En Katerine solennia / Virginalis concio Byttering (fl c. 1410-1420)

Novi sideris lumen resplenduit (Bury St. Edmunds, c.1280)
Pura, placens, pulcra / Parfundement plure Absolon (Bury St. Edmunds, 14th c.)
Veine pleine de ducur (Bury St. Edmunds?, c.1280)
Bryd one brere (St. James Priory, 14th c.)
Edi beo thu (Llanthony Priory, 13th century)

Nesciens mater Byttering
Ave Regina Leonel Power (d.1445)

Generosa Iesse plantula (Royal Chapel of Edward III, c.1350-60)
Ite missa est: Deo Gracias (Royal Chapel of Edward III, c.1350-60)