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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would be 5 stars if not for Songs of Sanctuary
What can be said about Karl Jenkins? His style of music has revolutionised the Contemporary Classical Music market, and there is no denying the Adiemus series is great music. Well I'm pleased to say this album is no exception.
Albeit some what different to the other 4 in the series (it's similarities lie more with Adiemus III than any other), this album maintains the...
Published on 2 Oct 2003 by aaron_taylor13

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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too much of a departure
If one thing is certain in life, it's that humans dislike change - but this latest offering from Karl Jenkins has twisted the original concept of Adiemus to breaking point.

The first album was incredibly good, the second developed those ideas further and became the pinnacle of Adiemus perfection (which appears increasingly likely will never be bettered). The...
Published on 9 Oct 2003 by PhillyG


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too much of a departure, 9 Oct 2003
By 
This review is from: Adiemus V - Vocalise (Audio CD)
If one thing is certain in life, it's that humans dislike change - but this latest offering from Karl Jenkins has twisted the original concept of Adiemus to breaking point.

The first album was incredibly good, the second developed those ideas further and became the pinnacle of Adiemus perfection (which appears increasingly likely will never be bettered). The third album was more light-hearted and playful, but lacked the impact of the first two. The fourth worked for the most part, as it was stronger overall, despite a woeful lack of original Jenkins material. This fifth incarnation, however, sees the project running out of steam, and leaves you wondering if this is an Adiemus album too far.

It's possibly the most uncohesive collection of ideas seen so far in the series, and unfortunately suffers from several problems.

The strongest aspect of the Adiemus project up until now has, without a doubt, been the stunning vocal talent of Miriam Stockley, her voice defining the unique Adiemus sound which became impossible to pigeonhole. However, Miriam felt that she had 'outgrown' the project and has moved on to further develop her solo career. This is heart-achingly obvious from the outset. The Finnish singers trying to fill the humungous void left by her departure simply have nowhere near the talent, depth, richness, range or emotional resonance and leave you feeling completely unconviced.

The second problem is that Karl, in experimenting with so many different ideas (musical styles, time signatures, instrumentation, vocalists etc) doesn't really deliver anything of note here. Even utilising other composer's works as a basis for many tracks, the whole experience still feels uninspired.

The album is a messy canvas filled with doodles and smudges from a palette of too many colours.
From light-hearted jigs to subtle classical strings; from dinner jazz to modern dance; classical orchestra, big-band brass, harmonica, saxophone, guitar, woodwind, a meleé of different languages - it's all just too overwhelming, and a far cry from the hauntingly invocative and majestically powerful Adiemus that has made Karl's name thusfar.

This is an album which, while ocassionally interesting at times, just isn't comfortable under the Adiemus banner and only truly hardcore fans need apply.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would be 5 stars if not for Songs of Sanctuary, 2 Oct 2003
This review is from: Adiemus V - Vocalise (Audio CD)
What can be said about Karl Jenkins? His style of music has revolutionised the Contemporary Classical Music market, and there is no denying the Adiemus series is great music. Well I'm pleased to say this album is no exception.
Albeit some what different to the other 4 in the series (it's similarities lie more with Adiemus III than any other), this album maintains the integrity of the series and has the very trademark style vocals. It's only weakness being the absense of Miriam Stockley's superb vocal talents. Her Finnish counterparts can't seem to muster the same kind of crispness.
However what's slightly missing in lead female vocals is made up for in the other vocals and indeed the impressive line up on instrumentalists, including amongst other things a jazz saxophonist (one of my all time favourite things).
But what of the music itself? Well those who have read the official press release on the official Adiemus website will know that this is the first time that the Adiemus series contains even a hint of English, and in addition to that portugese. And at first this takes some getting used to...there's certainly nothing else like it out there musically. And those who know that the album contains Jenkins' own adaption on the likes of Beethoven and Rachmaninov can be forgiven for their little gasps, it opens up all sorts of ideas of awfulness. But the truth is, these adaptations are a work of genius, with the adaptation of Beethoven's 7th symphony (slow movement) being reminiscent of Carmen in addition to the characteristic Adiemus style.
So why then have I only given it 4 stars? Well the truth is Adiemus I set such a high standard that it would take a mammoth work to beat it, and even the composer seems not quite capable of beating his own best work...every work in this series is superb, but Songs of Sanctuary is yet to be swayed from the top spot (although Adiemus II is a VERY close 2nd)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great solos!, 1 Nov 2003
This review is from: Adiemus V - Vocalise (Audio CD)
This latest Adiemus release contains a diverse mix of different genres and styles which have been cast under the Adiemus spell. To me, the Adiemus touch is certainly audible on all tracks to varying degrees of success and it should be commended that Karl Jenkins has the desire and is brave enough to develop 'his' style further.
The most apparent success on this disc is the sheer quality of the soloists Karl Jenkins has chosen for this project. The jazz saxophone and guitar solos of Nigel Hitchcock and Martin Taylor are stunning particularly in 'Dona Nobis Pacem Part II'. Classical solos come from the cellist Richard Harwood who delivers a gorgeous solo in 'Aria'. Terry Barber, the countertenor also features on this track. Although he will surely satisfy some listeners, I feel he falls a bit short of the mark in the title track 'Vocalise'. It's an extremely effective track but could have worked so much better if there had been more accurate and musical singing.
I'm sure tracks like 'Rondo' and 'Allegrettango' will prove popular with regular audiences. However, I'm sure classical purists will dislike these because as pleasant to the ear as they are, they originally were masterpieces by Beethoven. This disc certainly falls into the easy listening category and is worth a listen, not least for the great solos!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic CD!!!, 4 Nov 2003
This review is from: Adiemus V - Vocalise (Audio CD)
I was so pleasantly surprised when I heard Adiemus 5 for the first time. It is certainly a fresh experience and although it is different from the other 4 albums, I think the change in direction should be welcomed rather than looked down on because change shows having the courage to develop rather than stick to a winning formula.
The one thing that impressed me the most was the extraordinary soloists Jenkins chose which certainly raised the overall level of the CD to a very high standard. My favorite track is Aria played by cellist Richard Harwood whoose warm tone and deep sensitivity made this track stand out from the others. The jazz tracks were also fantastic with Nigel Hitchcock on saxophone. His solo in Exit Schwanda was really convincing.
I strongly recommend this CD.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New and refreshing!, 10 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Adiemus V - Vocalise (Audio CD)
With the brand new Adiemus album, Karl Jenkins has started to explore some new and very interesting ways to make music. For the very first time he has used some "real" langauges in his compositions, and what makes the album yet more interesting, is that Karl has re-arranged some familiar classical music tunes to Adiemus style (e.g. the title track, Rachmaninoff's Vocalise is just stunning)! The only thing that may be sad for the long-standing fans is the absense of Miriam Stockley, but fortunately Karl has involved in some new and fine musicians in addition to the already familiar Pamela Thorby, Mary Carewe, the Finnish Adiemus Singers and so on! Highly recommended, so get your copy now!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great, 2 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Adiemus V - Vocalise (Audio CD)
Another wonderful Jenkins album. Adiemus is always melodic, interesting, and solid entertainment, and i will willingly recommend it to anyone.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Classical re-interpretations, 24 Oct 2012
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vocalise (Audio CD)
I find Karl Jenkins's compositions difficult to comment on for other listeners because, while they are certainly unique, they are also very heterogeneous with parts that I find quite exquisite and other parts I don't relate to at all. On this CD we start with what to me is a quite unnecessary reworking of the last movement of Beethoven's Violin Concerto. This is followed by a quite beautiful vocal version in English of a Hebrew song of pilgrimage. Track 3 is more unnecessarily reworked Beethoven - this time a movement of the 7th Symphony. For classical works rendered as a cappella vocals (these here are not a cappella), I think the group Accentus do a far better job. Tracks 4 and 5 are up-beat renderings of Dona Nobis Pacem from the Agnus Dei of the mass - somewhat in the style of Bernstein's Mass. Akruzam is reworked Chopin for voice and recorder and I find this quite beautiful until the masses Adiemus singers cut in. Tracks 7 and 8 from Weinberger's Schwanda the Bagpiper again feature some reconstituted music mutilated almost beyond recognition. The singing in Bendigedig (the Welsh word for `blessed'), a truly original Jenkins composition, is to my mind the best track on the disc and is quite beautiful. The Berceuse of track 11 has some playing on flugelhorn. The Aria from Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 I much prefer in the original. Rachmaninoff's sublime Vocalise is difficult to ruin, though this came close, but was one of the more endurable tracks on this mixture CD that ends with the bizarre Boogie Woogie Llanoogie!!
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment, 30 Sep 2003
By 
N. McCourt "N. McCourt" (Germany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Adiemus V - Vocalise (Audio CD)
While it may appear more classical than previous releases, given that Jenkins reworks pieces by Chopin, Schubert, Rachmaninov and Beethoven (who may well be spinning in his grave, though I doubt there’s much left of him by now), "Adiemus - Vocalise" actually continues the move toward jazz begun in the previous album. Essentially this is a jazz/café bar album, and musically has very little in common with any previous Adiemus releases.
Of the 7 "cover versions" featured, only "Rondo" can be pronounced a success. Despite the tune’s familiarity it works well as an Adiemus piece, sounding and feeling like classic Adiemus, and Jenkins’ arrangement is to be commended. Sadly the remaining covers are pointless, lazy and anodyne ("Allegretango"), or in the case of "Schubert’s Dance" simply laughable, and cannot truly be considered "Adiemus" pieces as such.
The 8 new pieces from Jenkins are characterised by the general lack of effort one senses has been put into them. "Berceuse pour un enfant solitaire", "Donna Nobis Pacem Part II" and "Mi Contra Fa, Diabolus In Musica" are repetitive and compositionally sparse in the extreme, and outstay their welcome, while "encore" piece "Boogie Woogie Llanoogie" is as cringeworthy as the title would suggest. "Donna Nobis Pacem Part I" echoes Lisa Gerrard in its composition, and is an interesting piece from Karl, but is let down by breathy vocals, while "The Protector", ostensibly not an Adiemus piece, would have worked better on "The Armed Man". Somewhere in the clutter of "Mysterious Are Your Ways" is a great piano piece composed and performed by Jenkins, but it is needlessly and damagingly embellished by the addition of Adiemus vocals and incredibly, a Punjabi folk song sample, and would have worked better alone. The sole light in the darkness is the heartfelt, stirring "Bendigedig", by far the best piece on the album.
On its own terms the album could be seen as a success, if judged from a jazz or world music point of view, but as an Adiemus album it fails for the simple, crucial reason for that it lacks soul. Although "Vocalise" makes perfectly pleasant listening, it is a detached experience - the music is without feeling and fails to draw the listener in, and in this respect, the album disappointingly renders itself background music. This is largely due to the absence of lead vocalist Miriam Stockley - up to now the voice of Adiemus - without whose soulful vocals the album fails musically and emotionally. Given Jenkins’ new musical direction, I’m not sure the album would have succeeded even with Miriam, although the change may well have been initiated by her departure. Whether solo or in chorus, the Finnish Adiemus Singers simply aren’t up to the task, and their sugary, choral-lite vocals lack power and heart. Countertenor Terence Barber could have been of much more interest but is underused. In conclusion, while the album may at least claim to succeed on its own reworked and diminished terms, it is without the musical heart which has characterised and defined Adiemus to date, and as such is far from what Adiemus once was. It is a tragedy that the talented composer of "Cantata Mundi" has taken to resting on his laurels.
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