(15 November 2001) Those fortunate to see Adiemus perform in concert know how well this music works in a live setting. The rest of us finally can join in on this experience with the new Adiemus Live (Virgin (UK) CDVE 960, 2001) album. Recorded in Cardiff on March 16th, 2001, the album contains a substantial number of songs from Adiemus' latest studio CD, The Eternal Knot, which this concert was intended to promote.
The key to a good concert album is for it to convey to the listener the excitement of being at the concert itself. Therefore any reduction in sound quality that is due to the live setting should be made up for by the added experience of the real-time performance in front of an audience. Fortunately this CD has much of the live atmosphere without sacrificing
much in sound quality. Indeed, the sound of this CD seems to exceed what was observed by some of the reviewers of the original concert - an indication of some careful post-concert sound engineering.
The recording clearly demonstrates the enthusiasm of the performers. Miriam Stockley shines in the opening track "Adiemus" and with the able backing of the Finnish Adiemus Singers conveys pure joy and excitement in
tracks like "Kayama" and "Cu Chullain." These energetic Adiemus songs lend themselves well to live performances.
Most of the songs were performed with the same arrangement as the original studio versions, even though some songs were edited for the performance, such as "Kayama" and "The Dagda." A new, percussion-rich introduction was added to "The Dagda" which makes the intro sound even more ominous than on "The Eternal Knot." The great reinterpretation on this CD is Martin Taylor's solo guitar improvisation of the song "Hymn." At times jazzy, at times subdued, Taylor - who contributed a guitar solo on "The Eternal Knot" - explores the song carefully and makes each note stand out. The result is a quiet, beautiful meditation on the song.
While this is a great live CD it has two notable shortcomings. First is the absence of any song from Adiemus' second CD Cantata Mundi," which is considered by many to be one of Adiemus' finest works. Second is the
absence of any photographic evidence of the concert. While the CD's artwork, by Andrea Vizzini, is colorful and interesting, pictures of the artists in performance would have been a good addition.
The final song on the CD and the concert's encore - "Dos A Dos" - is an obvious crowd pleaser and is followed by a thunderous, well-deserved ovation. In all, Adiemus Live is a great addition to Jenkins' Adiemus
works and a must-have for Adiemus fans worldwide.--Paul van Vliet
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This Adiemus album, like others from the ensemble featuring the stunning vocal work of Miriam Stockley, is worth a trans-Atlantic journey and is certainly a must listen!