Adam: El Niño
Dawn Upshaw, Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin, Kent Nagano, Steven Rickards & Willard White
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I disagree with 'john43'. "El Nino" is one of my favorite among all Adams' works, powerfully and movingly evoking the much-told story of the Nativity, interwoven with themes of faith, motherhood, and the miracle of birth. Standout tracks include the jublilant opening, 'I Sing of a Maiden', the meditative 'The Babe Leaped in Her Womb', the spritual 'Magnificat', the melancholy 'Pues Mi Dios Ha Nacido a Penar', the jangly 'Woe Unto Them That Call Evil Evil Good', and, perhaps my favorite, the tintinnabulating 'Dawn Air'. Dawn Upshaw's full, ringing voice is especially radiant, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's husky yet athletic tones perfectly capture the intensely spritual nature of the music, and Willard White's powerful bass seems to demand attention. The chorus, on the other hand, tends to be a bit grating, but Kent Nagano does an excellent job with the orchestra.
Though I must admit that I am a fanatic fan of most of Adam's instrumental music. This like almost everything he has ever done for voice leaves me unmoved and unimpressed. The one exception being "On The Transmigration Of Souls", which quite saddens me as he is without question my favorite living composer. This apparently was wonderful to see due to the dramatic staging, costumes etc.. but none of this of course shows on the CD. The music does not stand alone as it should.
Very, very good...
...Especially from Part I through "Pues mi Dios na hacido a penar", I found it continuously wondrous and compelling as music, drama and idea. The late Ms. Hunt-Lieberson is magnificent. Part II drags but perhaps on repeated hearings I will feel differently about this material.
Born: July 17, 1960 in Nashville, TN
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s