CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
(NOTE TO EDITORS: A very limited number of tickets remain for the two
Anonymous 4 concerts. We suggest that you contact the box office just before
publishing this story, so that you may provide your audience with up-to-date
information on ticket availability. At the time of this release, tickets
are still available for both performances.)
Anonymous 4 explores legends of St. Nicholas in Dec. 13-14 UI concerts
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The early-music a-cappella vocal ensemble Anonymous
4 will explore "Legends of St. Nicholas" in the music of the
13th and 14th centuries in holiday concerts at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13,
and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of
Iowa campus. The concerts are part of Hancher Auditorium's 1997-98 Holiday
Inn Viva Voce Series.
The concert will feature almost all the surviving medieval polyphony
about St. Nicholas (whose name means "champion of the people")
from 1200-1350 A.D.
According to the earliest St. Nicholas legends, which date from 500
years after his lifetime, he was born around the year 300 in what is now
Turkey. His Christian parents left him an orphan with great wealth, which
he promptly gave away to the poor.
He was selected bishop of Myra, and the remainder of his life was spent
in a series of courageous, altruistic and miraculous acts in defense of
his followers, including imprisonment and torture under Emperor Diocletian.
Shrines to St. Nicholas, recognizing him as a protector of the poor,
children, the oppressed and navigators, began appearing in Western Europe
by the mid-seventh century. The saint also became a familiar figure in
Traditions of St. Nicholas Day Dec. 6 were brought to the New World
by the Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam, which is now New York City. During
the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 New Yorkers of English descent
needed a patron saint to counteract the British St. George, so they adopted
the Sinter Klaas customs of their Dutch antecedents and created Santa Claus.
The Liturgy of St. Nicholas was created by 9th- and 10th-century clerical
musicians in Charlemagne's Frankish Empire, and hundreds of hymns and several
musical dramas were also created to the saint's honor. But the amount of
medieval polyphony remained small in comparison, so that Anonymous 4 can
survey almost the entire corpus in a single concert.
The concert will also feature readings from "The Gilte Legende"
(the golden legend), a middle-English translation of a popular Medieval
book about the saints that recounts many of the miracles attributed to
Anonymous 4 returns to the UI this season in the wake of their sold-out
Clapp Recital Hall concert last spring.
When their first three CDs shot to the top of Billboard magazine's classical
music charts, Chamber Music Magazine described Anonymous 4 as "the
hottest vocal quartet since the Beatles," and the Chicago Tribune
critic proclaimed, "There is no more beautiful music on this earth."
In addition to performing in every major city throughout the United
States, Anonymous 4 has cultivated their world-wide following with tours
of Japan, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Several Anonymous 4 programs have been broadcast nationally on National
Public Radio's "Performance Today" program and Garrison Keillor's
"A Prairie Home Companion," and the quartet has been featured
on TV programs including "CBS Sunday Morning" and Australian
TV's "Access All Areas."
Anonymous 4 recordings are approaching a million world-wide sales, a
remarkable achievement for a-capella early music. Among the honors received
by their recordings are CD Review's "Classical Disc of the Year"
and France's Diapason d'Or Award.
Tickets for Anonymous 4 are $27.50 ($22 for UI students and senior citizens,
and half price for audience members 17 and younger) from the Hancher box
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa,
dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is
toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged
to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases
to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option
of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services
should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office
personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair
access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is
equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
The Holiday Inn-Iowa City is the major corporate sponsor of the Viva
Voce Series through the University of Iowa Foundation.