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4.6 out of 5 stars24
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 29 August 2002
This is definitely the best of all the Adiemus albums, it combines the usual African chant and classical music with rhymic beats and startling originality. This is also the only album that makes full use of the dark, rich sound of the female singer (Miriam Stockley), only occasionally used in other albums. Her voice is so powerful and moving that her songs (of which there are only three on the album) have a tendancy to overshadow the others. However each of the other tracks have a magic of their own, combining pan pipes, traditional instruments and the human voice to take the listener on a journey.

Song 3 is rousing and spirited, song 6 melancholic and pure, but by far the best song (for me) is song 8. Sung by Miriam it is achingly plaintive, the sound of a lost soul watching the stars shine over the ocean, the sound of the princess in the tower waiting for her long dead prince to come.

The music is inspiring and lyrical, harmonious and ofentimes touched with a real beauty. I would defy anyone to turn the lights out at night, listen to this album and not feel indescribably moved. An absolute must..
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on 29 August 2002
This is definitely the best of all the Adiemus albums, it combines the usual African chant and classical music with rhymic beats and startling originality. This is also the only album that makes full use of the dark, rich sound of the female singer, only occasionally used in other albums. This womans voice is so powerful and moving that her songs (of which there are only three on the album)have a tendancy to overshadow the others. However each of the other tracks have a magic of their own, combining pan pipes, traditional instruments and the human voice to take the listener on a journey.
Song 3 is rousing and spirited, song 6 melancholic and pure, but by far the best song is song 8. Sung by the female singer it is achingly plaintive, the sound of a lost soul watching the stars shine over the ocean, the sound of the princess in the tower waiting for her long dead prince to come.
The music is inspiring and lyrical, harmonious and ofentimes touched with a real beauty. I would defy anyone to turn the lights out at night, listen to this album and not feel indescribably moved. An absolute must..
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on 1 March 2000
I have to admit to buying Adiemus II - Cantata Mundi with a little trepidation. Having enjoyed the first recording (Songs of Sanctuary) I actually felt nervous about the second one - would it be as good or better, or would I be disappointed. I needn't have worried, as Adiemus II literally blows you away. From the first track it is unmistakingly recognisable as the work of Jenkins, but it is clear that it is also the work of a man who has realised that he is 'never satisfied'. This recording is more symphonic in nature than the first, Jenkins uses the full orchestra to great effect throughout in developing his themes to a much fuller extent than in Songs of Sanctuary. This is a man who knows how to use an orchestra well without the recording coming across as an solely 'orchestral work'. Jenkin's use of the horn section is particularly satisfying - listen to it and you'll appreciate what I mean! The emphasis is still very much on the ethereal singing of Miriram Stockley who again delights us with her clear yet powerful tones - her voice and Jenkin's music - a match made in heaven!
A must for all Jenkins lovers and those who have never even heard Songs of Sanctuary.
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on 17 April 2010
Although there are some light-hearted parts on this album, the sound of the music seems to be more sombre than the first Adiemus album. There is much more emphasis on powerful chord changes rather than ethnic beats or pretty melodies. 'Song of the Spirit' is probably my favorite song, due to it's blistering momentum and harmonic invention. 'Song of the Spirit' is also very good, with it's alternation between joyful choral passages and a more melancholic solo voice passage. The chorales always contrast strongly with the songs as they are mostly sung by a solo voice and do not usually exceed 2 minutes.

The structure of this album is clever in that it imitates, as the title suggests, the structure of a classical cantata. Typically these follow the pattern of recitative, aria (song), chorus (or chorale). Usually, in, say, a Bach cantata, this pattern would be repeated twice or three times but, here, Karl Jenkins repeats it many more times and the songs are extended in length. I think this is where the album falls down a bit. The repetitious nature of the material lends itself to brevity and Jenkins just pushes it that little bit too far. The album is well over an hour and one just gets exhausted because of the weight of the compositions.

So, even though most of the songs on this album are better than the songs on the first album, the overall experience is too dense for it to seem a superior album. This is why I give 'Cantata Mundi' four stars as well.
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on 29 March 2000
As with many musical artists, of course, the answer to that question depends on who you ask-though they have been frequently compared to artists such as Enya, Enigma, Dead Can Dance, and Deep Forest. Because of the unique qualities of their sound, however, no direct comparison can ever be completely sufficient. The prominent sounds in the music of Adiemus are the diverse melodical chants and vocal stylings of Miriam Stockley, the harmonies of Mary Carewe and "the Adiemus singers", and the powerful backing of the London Philharmonic. Karl Jenkins himself describes the music as "an extended choral-type work based on the European classical tradition, but where the vocal sound is more akin to 'ethnic' or 'world' music"; in his words, "The sound is universal, as is the language of music [...] this music is somewhere to escape to." This was taken from the amazing Adiemus Unofficial Home Page, one of the best pages on the Internet and by far the best page containing literally everything there is to know about Adiemus!
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on 26 March 2009
Some while ago, I purchased Songs of Sanctuary, the first disc in this series. At first, I didn't realise just how good this album was...it took some while for me to appreciate the might of the music and the unique vocal sound...most of the tracks are of an epic nature. It became such a firm favourite of mine that I wound up purchasing Songs of Sanctuary as a gift to my parents and siblings being confident they'd love it too. A couple of months ago I decided to check out the next in the series called Cantata Mundi. Basically it's as good, possibly better, than the first disc - the orchestration accompanying the female leads is more enlivened than ever and the whole thing once again comes together beautifully. Adiemus truly has one hell of a unique uplifting sound. Very highly recommended.
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on 6 June 2000
This is quite simply the most awesome CD that I have ever listened to. A classical-styled collection of pieces with a unique choral/ethnic feel, it's perfect construction and delivery gives it an instantly accessible, contemporary feel. Majestic, powerful and invocative; and yet haunting, sombre and reflective in equal measures. Beautifully melodic arrangements played wonderfully by the London Philharmonic Orchestra interwoven with the stunning vocal talents of Miriam Stockley (impressively multi-tracked), one of the UK's finest singers. Karl Jenkins is surely one of the most talented composers alive today.
If you're a fan of music, buy it immediately.
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on 18 October 2000
I bought this CD from my local music store after finding the first one too... catchy. After a few times in the CD player, I was humming along to the tune and later, I was actually *singing* along to the song, even though I don't even know the language! This is a great CD. If you like the first one, you should add this to your collection -- it's great for insomniacs.
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on 9 November 2015
Unbelievable. The music of Karl Jenkins is, in my opinion, based upon "layers" of sound. The opening movement of this piece is beyond belief. I have to say this movement is one of the finest musical pieces of music I've ever heard. The rest of the work isn't bad either!!! I recommend Jenkins' experiment in musical format without hesitation. What he has achieved here is something very, very special. He has to be considered one of the world's finest living composers. How proud Alun Hoddinott would be today! Sadly, Master of the Queen's Music somehow ridiculously eluded him. Believe me this is outstanding composition.
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on 16 January 2013
Adiemus 1 and 2
I got this for my wife who loves Karl Jenkins's music. She sings and plays it a lot. Her comments are that it is deeply spiritual and moving as well as musically original. She lived in East Africa for 23 years and is very moved by the inclusion of African rhythms, instruments and sounds.
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