Thus Karl Jenkins, "One of The Most Performed Contemporary
Composers", makes his debut for Deutsche Grammophon, the label that
baldly says it "is
Classical Music". With 'Adiemus Colores' Jenkins
redefines 'crossover' in Dantean terms, listeners doomed to flounder
in turbid Stygian waters for what feels like an eternity, as they try
desperately to reach the final track. Ever the philosopher, Jenkins
has once more reanimated, from the fifth circle of Hell, the soul-less
corpse of 'Adiemus' to thwart them.
DG have pulled in some of their other big names for this project. Rolando
Villazón brings a few moments of much-needed class to the proceedings,
as does the golden guitar of 'Miloš', whose film-star looks surely
have nothing to do with his fairly needless guest appearance.
How curious to think that Jenkins was a pupil of Alun Hoddinott. Each
of his unlucky thirteen 'Canciones' bears a title colour, yet they could
hardly be blander, even with the grand exoticism of Spanish translations.
The very first item drops the listener into a parallel, Burt-Bacharach-meets-Antônio-Jobim
universe. Yet Jenkins is immediately recognisable, despite the pseudo-Latin
rhythms, for there
are the helium-high voices of the Adiemus
choir and those monotonous ostinatos. The voices are straight back for
the next colour, slowed down and softened to prove that it is not simply
the same track slightly tweaked. The next, 'Negra', sees the first appearance
of a solo voice, the not-so-dulcet tones of fada
Roseta, making her sole contribution. As with Karadaglić, her two
colour photos in the booklet are only loosely connected with her pretty
The longer the album goes on - why oh why a full 76 minutes - the weaker
the will to live becomes in any listener with even a modicum of taste
or dignity. Bizarrely, the third track from last is a slushy piano solo,
complete with recorded footsteps of the approaching pianist - none other
than Karl Jenkins. Then straight back to the New-Age-cum-Latin-American
pasticcio. The final track - a "bonus", according to DG - is an imagination-free
repetition of 'Canción Turquesa', with Villazón's voice
replaced by Pacho Flores's trumpet.
The fakeness of the whole thing is confirmed in the detail of the booklet
notes: the choir were recorded in Finland, Villazón in Paris
and everyone else at different times and venues in London. Karl Jenkins's
wife is listed as assistant producer, ditto their son. Aiding and abetting!
Sound quality is good, it must be said, and chwarae teg
booklet notes are informative, the pages themselves much more colourful
than the CD.
In short, 'Adiemus Colores' is a travesty of all things truly musical
or interesting. It will surely do well.
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