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The Breaking of the Dawn

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Album Review

Fernando Ortega is something of a rare animal in the genre of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). Like the work of Sandi Patti, Steve Green, Karla Worley, or Bill and Gloria Gaither, The Breaking of the Dawn can easily be seen as a philosophical descendant of Psalm 95 or the music of Martin Luther. Its primary aim is not to explore human experience, or to entertain or instruct, but to extol, glorify, and exalt. The fundamental emotion it expresses is that of spiritual gratitude. But the other artists mentioned above are primarily vocal performers. The focus of their records is not so much on the quality of the musical composition as on the range and power of their singing. Not so with Ortega. Though he possesses a pleasant and smooth vocal tone, he is not a flamboyant performer. Nor does he equate musical bombast with intensity of feeling. Instead, he expresses his gratitude through a beautifully reflective brand of acoustic-based new age folk-pop with Latin and Celtic accents. John Andrew Schreiner's production is lush but reserved, striking a delicate balance between Ortega's folk and pop influences. And if Schreiner occasionally leans on CCM clichés, the general authenticity of the compositions is never compromised. The textured arrangements include gentle harmonies from Cathy Schreiner and Susan Ashton, sensitive fiddling by Stuart Duncan, versatile fretwork by Christian folkie Buddy Miller, and resonant piano solos by Ortega himself. This is praise music that feels uncommonly honest and unaffected.

Customer Reviews

Track 11 - A Must Have

The "Album Review" on the iTunes page is pretty much dead-on for Ortega's music in general, so I will only add a few specifics to the album. 1) This is not his best work, but it is still worth having 2) If you don't do anything else, buy Track 11 "Jesus, King of Angels" as it is not only the highlight of the album but the highlight of his entire songbook to date. It is so good in fact, that radio stations still play it although it does not meet the general rules for a song fit for the CCM crowd (i.e. upbeat, shying away from conviction, and generally about nothing but "love" in whatever interpretation of the word you might have :-)

Get this Album!

Creation Song is awesome, but my true favorite is Lord of Eternity. This is a great DVD to have when going on a long trip.


Based from Scripture, the songs on this album have brought me to tears of joy in Christ, tears of repentance, times of joyful thanksgiving, and much more. I try to keep a copy of this album anywhere that I spend a lot of time. It will bless you abundantly!


Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '00s

Classically trained as a pianist but also steeped in the Hispanic tradition of his New Mexico homeland, gospel singer/songwriter Fernando Ortega recorded more than a half-dozen LPs for various labels before signing to Myrrh/Word in 1997, as part of a Christian musical renaissance which saw a variety of musical traditions entering the liturgies of mainline churches. An aficionado of American and Irish folk as well as the Spanish-oriented music he grew up with, Ortega also studied early music and hymns...
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The Breaking of the Dawn, Fernando Ortega
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