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John Adams|John Adams : El Nino

John Adams : El Nino

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - Dawn Upshaw - Willard White - The London Voices - Theater of Voices - Kent Nagano

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El Niño is an ambitious project that could have easily become overblown in execution, but thankfully that is not the case. This warm and sometimes moving oratorio humanizes the Nativity story by emphasizing Mary's perspective and the miracle of birth. The texts are in English, Spanish, and Latin and are based on a variety of sources, including the New Testament Apocrypha and contemporary Latin American poetry. The music also incorporates a wide range of styles and influences, including jazz, show tunes, and Handel's "Messiah," but it coheres under Adams' distinctive rhythmic approach. It begins with the steady repetition of a D minor chord, followed by the introduction of polyrhythms and dissonance, as well as countertenors Brian Cummings and Dan Brubeck. Both of them, as well as the third countertenor, Steven Rickards, give golden performances on this album. The same is true for the three soloists, mezzo soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, soprano Dawn Upshaw, and baritone Willard White, who are all cast in flexible roles. For example, Upshaw sings the role of the Virgin Mary in the second piece, "Hail, Mary, Gracious!" (adapted from The Play of Annunciation from Martial Rose's version of The Wakefield Mystery Plays), and mezzo soprano Lieberson gives a fiery performance in the same role in the third piece, "La Anunciacion," which is based on the poetry of Rosario Castellanos (who is also the source of "Se Habla de Gabriel," "Memorial de Tlatelolco," and "A Palm Tree"). The next three pieces, including "Magnificat" (which features an assured, sensitive performance by Upshaw), draw on St. Luke for their text. White makes his first appearance as Joseph on the seventh piece, "Now She Was Sixteen Years Old," and also appears as Herod later on; he effectively conveys both Joseph's confusion and Herod's anger in his forceful performances. The more reflective second half of this album isn't as immediately accessible as the first, and sometimes suffers from cursory narrative passages, but it also benefits from delicate touches and mostly preserves the emotional power of the first half.
© TiVo

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John Adams : El Nino

John Adams

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1
El Niño: I Sing of a Maiden
Kent Nagano
00:06:18

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

2
El Niño: Hail Mary, Gracious!
Kent Nagano
00:04:47

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Dawn Upshaw, Soprano Vocals - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

3
El Niño: La Annunciacion
Kent Nagano
00:09:34

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mezzo-soprano Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

4
El Niño: For with God Nothing Shall Be Impossible
Kent Nagano
00:01:15

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

5
El Niño: The Babe Leaped in Her Womb
Kent Nagano
00:03:30

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

6
El Niño: Magnificat
Kent Nagano
00:03:23

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Dawn Upshaw, Soprano Vocals - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

7
El Niño: Now She Was Sixteen Years Old
Willard White
00:03:20

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Dawn Upshaw, Soprano Vocals - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

8
El Niño: Joseph's Dream
Willard White
00:04:32

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

9
El Niño: Shake the Heavens
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
00:05:54

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Dawn Upshaw, Soprano Vocals - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mezzo-soprano Vocals - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

10
El Niño: Se Habla De Gabriel
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
00:08:26

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Dawn Upshaw, Soprano Vocals - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mezzo-soprano Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

11
El Niño: The Christmas Star
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
00:06:45

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Dawn Upshaw, Soprano Vocals - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mezzo-soprano Vocals - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

DISC 2

1
El Niño: Pues Mi Dios Ha Nacido A Penar
Kent Nagano
00:04:33

John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mezzo-soprano Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

2
El Niño: When Herod Heard
Willard White
00:02:27

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

3
El Niño: Woe Unto Them That Call Evil Good
Willard White
00:04:22

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

4
El Niño: And the Star Went Before Them
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
00:02:26

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Dawn Upshaw, Soprano Vocals - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mezzo-soprano Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

5
El Niño: The Three Kings
Kent Nagano
00:05:25

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Dawn Upshaw, Soprano Vocals - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

6
El Niño: And When They Were Departed
Kent Nagano
00:01:11

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

7
El Niño: Dawn Air
Kent Nagano
00:04:22

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

8
El Niño: And He Slew All the Children
Kent Nagano
00:01:43

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

9
El Niño: Memorial Del Tlateloloco
Kent Nagano
00:09:12

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Dawn Upshaw, Soprano Vocals - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

10
El Niño: In the Day of the Great Slaughter
Kent Nagano
00:03:20

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

11
El Niño: Pues Esta Tiritando
Kent Nagano
00:03:35

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - The London Voices, Choir, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mezzo-soprano Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

12
El Niño: Jesus and the Dragons
Kent Nagano
00:02:50

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Dawn Upshaw, Soprano Vocals - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Patrick Marco, Director - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

13
El Niño: A Palm Tree
Kent Nagano
00:07:57

Mark Gray, Engineer - John Adams, Composer - Kent Nagano, Conductor, MainArtist - Willard White, Baritone Vocals - Wilhelm Hellweg, Producer - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra, MainArtist - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mezzo-soprano Vocals - Maitrise de Paris, Choir - Theatre of Voices, Counter-Tenor Vocals

© 2001 Nonesuch Records ℗ 2001 Nonesuch Records

Album Description

El Niño is an ambitious project that could have easily become overblown in execution, but thankfully that is not the case. This warm and sometimes moving oratorio humanizes the Nativity story by emphasizing Mary's perspective and the miracle of birth. The texts are in English, Spanish, and Latin and are based on a variety of sources, including the New Testament Apocrypha and contemporary Latin American poetry. The music also incorporates a wide range of styles and influences, including jazz, show tunes, and Handel's "Messiah," but it coheres under Adams' distinctive rhythmic approach. It begins with the steady repetition of a D minor chord, followed by the introduction of polyrhythms and dissonance, as well as countertenors Brian Cummings and Dan Brubeck. Both of them, as well as the third countertenor, Steven Rickards, give golden performances on this album. The same is true for the three soloists, mezzo soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, soprano Dawn Upshaw, and baritone Willard White, who are all cast in flexible roles. For example, Upshaw sings the role of the Virgin Mary in the second piece, "Hail, Mary, Gracious!" (adapted from The Play of Annunciation from Martial Rose's version of The Wakefield Mystery Plays), and mezzo soprano Lieberson gives a fiery performance in the same role in the third piece, "La Anunciacion," which is based on the poetry of Rosario Castellanos (who is also the source of "Se Habla de Gabriel," "Memorial de Tlatelolco," and "A Palm Tree"). The next three pieces, including "Magnificat" (which features an assured, sensitive performance by Upshaw), draw on St. Luke for their text. White makes his first appearance as Joseph on the seventh piece, "Now She Was Sixteen Years Old," and also appears as Herod later on; he effectively conveys both Joseph's confusion and Herod's anger in his forceful performances. The more reflective second half of this album isn't as immediately accessible as the first, and sometimes suffers from cursory narrative passages, but it also benefits from delicate touches and mostly preserves the emotional power of the first half.
© TiVo

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