Event Archives

Mountain Goats + Anonymous 4

Since 1986, the four singers of the all-female vocal quartet Anonymous 4 have honed their unchallenged mastery of medieval sacred music. Yet they are also bold advocates for Colonial American folk songs and contemporary music, singing world premieres by the likes of Peter Maxwell Davies and John Tavener. In every case, they retain the “polish, dynamic suppleness, and warmth of tone” (NY Times) that have always been their hallmarks. These superb singers indulge ancient and modern muses alike in two complementary Duke Performances concerts.


A self-made singer and guitarist who elevates troubled lives to flinty poetic heights, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats is the most compelling raconteur in indie music. His admiration for the early-music singers of Anonymous 4 led to the collaborative song cycle Transcendental Youth, which premiered to acclaim at the 2012 Ecstatic Music Festival in New York.

In Transcendental Youth, haunting songs about the down-and-out in Washington State reveal a hidden affinity between two musical worlds. “The effect of Darnielle’s powerful lyrics and plaintive voice,” says NPR, “set against the luminous colors of Anonymous 4, [is] just magical.” This stirring showpiece, arranged by Owen Pallett, crowns a program of medieval songs by Anonymous 4, a solo Mountain Goats set, and a handful of collaborations on timeless standards.

Lection: Apocalypse 21:1-5
The Lord’s Prayer (John Tavener)
Motet: Salve virgo regia/Ave gloriosa mater/DOMINO
Motet: Gaude virgo nobilis/Verbum caro factum/ET VERITATE
Benedicamus domino: Belial vocatur
Conductus: Nicholai presulis
Song: Novus Annus Adiit
Trope: Gratulantes celebremus festum
The Scientist (Richard Einhorn)
Religious Ballad: Wayfaring Stranger
Folk hymn: Parting Friends

Steal Smoked Fish (2012)
Bride (2009)
In the Shadow of the Western Hills (2012)
Slow West Vultures (2007)
Hail St. Sebastian (2009)
Your Belgian Things (2004)
Cut Off Their Thumbs (year unknown)
Moon Over Goldsboro (2006)
1 John 4:16 (2009)
Enoch 18:14 (2009)
(this portion of the program subject to sudden change)

Transcendental Youth: new songs by the Mountain Goats
in special arrangements for guitar, piano and voices by Owen Pallett
Until I Am Whole
Night Light
Spent Gladiator II
Transcendental Youth
In Memory of Satan
White Cedar
Lakeside View Apartments Suite
Counterfeit Florida Plates

  • Sat, Oct 6, 2012 at 8:00pm
Reynolds Industries Theater