Performance practices change — even in the field of early music. In the early 1990s Anonymous 4 burst onto the scene, making medieval music sound vibrant and alive. Other ensembles built upon their success, each with their own take on the repertoire.

“The Night of Saint Nicholas” was originally released in 1998. So how does it hold up after almost two decades? Very well, actually.

The release is a collection of sacred music revolving around Saint Nicolas, most dating from the 13th Century. La Revier and I Cantori Gregoriani deliver performances that are beautiful in their simplicity.

The ambiance of the recording site —  the Church of San Damaso, Modena, Italy — perfectly matches the music. The reverberation fills the spaces between the notes without blurring them.

I’d almost say these are classic sacred early music performances. There’s the ethereal quality essential to the style. Each selection unfolds at its own unhurried pace.

It evokes a sense of timelessness that not only transcends the centuries but the trends of the last 20 years. This release doesn’t sound dated at all. Rather, the sound seems as ageless as the legend it celebrates.

The Night of Saint Nicholas
A Mediaeval Liturgy for Advent
La Reverdie; I Cantori Gregoriani
Arcana A 442