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When British composer Karl Jenkins launched Adiemus with theSongs of Sanctuaryalbum in 1995, it was a fresh and exhilarating take on global music. Jenkins used choral vocals similar toEnya's, but spiked with a language of the imagination (merging African and Latin phonemes) and stoked by Jenkins's pastoral arrangements. Never wholly original--Lisa Gerrardand Elizabeth Fraser had already worked out fantasy vocal designs and the 1960s African mass "Missa Luba" effected a similar choral/African/Latin sound--Adiemus nevertheless found a new take on English composers' penchant for choirs. However, after six years and four albums mining this vein, Jenkins's sound rings more hollow with each recording.

The Eternal Knot is drawn from Jenkins's soundtrack to a BBC documentary called The Celts. You might recall that Enya also evolved her sound in the late 1980s doing a soundtrack for another documentary called The Celts. Taking his titles from the Celtic legends that populate the documentary, Jenkins orchestrates cinematic landscapes full of swelling crescendos and dynamic cadences. Less oppressive than the heavily orchestrated Adiemus II, The Eternal Knot still wears thin. He casts Miriam Stockley's voice into a boys-choir register, turning her staccato phonemes into incessant prattle. But when she's in her warmer middle range, her layered voice is enveloping. Despite the theme of the album, Celtic music is only used as an occasional touchstone, with uilleann piper Davy Spillane, a few bodhran-style percussion grooves, and harpist Catrin Finch providing some relief from Jenkins's string-laden classical pretensions. --John Diliberto

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Label:  Higher Octave
ArtistKarl Jenkins, Adiemus
Release Date:  January 23, 2001
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review by . April 05, 2011
Some earlier reviewers would suggest that this isn't up to the standards that Karl Jenkins achieved in some of his earlier output. I couldn't respond to that because this is the first Adiemus recording I've ever heard and, frankly, I loved every second of it. I'm thrilled that other listeners think the earlier recordings are better because I've now got something to really look forward to.      For me this recording evinced a blend of emotional responses - …
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Adiemus IV: Eternal Knot
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