Adiemus V - Vocalise: CD


Release date: 23 February, 2024

On Vocalise, the fifth instalment in his Adiemus series, composer Karl Jenkins presents his first discernable lyrics (an invocation sung in English on "The Protector") and his first arrangements, quite eclectic, of classical repertoire (imagine a movement of Beethoven's seventh symphony recast as a tango). We also experience brief encounters with jazz guitar (from Martin Taylor), improvisational saxophone Nigel Hitchcock), Middle East incantations, and even backwater harmonica.

It is indeed a jumble, and at times Vocalise (i.e., "wordless song") evokes impressions of intermingled jigsaw puzzles where an abundance of pieces never quite coalesce into a whole. Jenkins' most distinctive audio element, his exuberant African choir singing in a non-literal phonetic language, is again on display and is best appreciated in small doses (vocalist Miriam Stockley, a centrepiece of early Adiemus works, does not take part). Jenkins' most affecting pieces on this CD are among its quietest: the slow-building "Bendigedig" ("blessed" in Welsh, Jenkins' native tongue) and the title track, a reverent reworking of a Rachmaninov composition of the same name. Even with all its stylistic side trips, at 68 minutes fans should be able to cherry-pick enough highlights (such as the breezy frolic of "Schubert's Dance") to find contentment with this disc.

1. Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61: 3. Rondo (arr. Jenkins)
2. The Protector
3. Beethoven: Symphony no. 7 in A Major, Op. 92, 2. Allegretto 'Allegrettango' (arr. Jenkins)
4. Dona Nobis Pacem (Part I)
5. Dona Nobis Pacem (Part II)
6 Chopin: Mazurka Op. 17, No. 4 in A Minor ‘Azukram’ (arr. Jenkins)
7. Weinberger: Schwanda The Bagpiper (arr. Jenkins)
8. Exit Schwanda
9. Bendigedig
10. Schubert: Schubert: German Dance No. 7, D.783 'Schubert's Dance' (arr. Jenkins)
11. Berceuse Pour Un Enfant Solitaire
12. Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras: No. 5, 1. Aria (arr. Jenkins)
13. Mysterious Are Your Ways
14. Mi Contra Fa, Diabolus In Musica
15. Vocalise Op. 34, No. 14 (arr. Jenkins)
16. Boogie Woogie Llanoogie

CD Album
Decca Records