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Karl JENKINS (b.1944)
Adiemus Colores
Canción Amarilla [6:59]
Canción Violeta [6:23]
Canción Negra [5:34]
Canción Rosa [7:13]
Canción Azul [8:12]
Canción Turquesa [4:34]
Canción Naranja [6:55]
Canción Verde [5:17]
Canción Blanca [4:21]
Canción Dorada [6:04]
Canción Plateada [2:41]
Canción Roja [7:46]
Canción Turquesa [4:34]
Pacho Flores (trumpet) (all except Plateada)
Miloš Karadaglić (guitar) (Azul, Verde, Turquesa, Negra)
Rolando Villazón (tenor) (Turquesa)
Cuca Roseta (voice) (Negra)
Adiemus Singers
La Orquesta de Colores
Karl Jenkins (conductor; piano on Plateada)
rec. Finland, London, Paris, October 2012 - February 2013.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4791067 [76:33]

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 crooner Cuca Roseta, making her sole contribution. As with Karadaglić, her two colour photos in the booklet are only loosely connected with her pretty face.
 
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, Jenkins' 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.
 
Byzantion
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