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John Adams: El Nino

John Adams , Kent Nagano , Lorraine Hunt Lieberson , Dawn Upshaw , Willard White Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)


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MP3 Music, 24 Songs, 2009 $13.49  
Audio CD, 2001 --  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. I Sing Of A Maiden 6:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Hail Mary, Gracious! 4:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. La Annunciacion 9:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. For With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible 1:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. The Babe Leaped In Her Womb 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Magnificat 3:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Now She Was Sixteen Years Old 3:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Joseph's Dream 4:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Shake The Heavens 5:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Se Habla De Gabriel 8:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. The Christmas Star 6:45$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Pues Mi Dios Ha Nacido A Penar 4:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. When Herod Heard 2:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Woe Unto Them That Call Evil Good 4:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. And The Star Went Before Them 2:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. The Three Kings 5:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. And When They Were Departed 1:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Dawn Air 4:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. And He Slew All The Children 1:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Memorial Del Tlateloloco 9:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. In The Day Of The Great Slaughter 3:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Pues Esta Tiritando 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Jesus And The Dragons 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. A Palm Tree 7:57$0.99  Buy MP3 


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Product Details

  • Performer: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Dawn Upshaw, Willard White
  • Conductor: Kent Nagano
  • Composer: John Adams
  • Audio CD (August 28, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00005NHNU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,329 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

To clear up one thing first: this is not about the El Niño weather system that hits the western Pacific every few years. Instead, this is a rather beautifully done Nativity Oratorio by John Adams, filled with his trademark dancing minimalist rhythms and tuneful melodies. The text is in Spanish, English, and Latin, and comes from both New World and Old World sources, all centering on the birth of Christ. Particular kudos must go to the three principals: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, mezzo-soprano; Dawn Upshaw, soprano; and Willard White, baritone. Even though there are moments when White's baritone threatens to dominate, they aren't significant enough to forestall any pleasure in the overall work. And while there are moments of drama here, they aren't nearly as spooky as those in The Death of Klinghoffer, Adams's other clear masterpiece. But El Niño is definitely a masterpiece and a must for anyone's collection of contemporary music. --Paul Cook

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Masterpiece October 3, 2002
Format:Audio CD
John Adams' modern Nativity oratorio is not only the best thing he's written since "Nixon in China," it may be the best thing he's written. Filled with his usual driving rhythms and supple vocal lines, as well as more unusual features like a trio of countertenor angels, acoustic guitar, and settings of contemporary Latin American poetry, "El Niño" is big, bold and powerful without sounding busy or pretentious. The vocal performances are all heartfelt and perfectly nuanced, bringing out an emotional dimension in the Biblical characters rarely seen in more traditional approaches. It is a work that dares to be something both honest and majestic, and succeeds on every level. This is what new American music should be; and it deserves hearing by more than just fans of classical music.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, Strange, Beautiful September 20, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Don't be fooled by the superficial pleasures of John Adam's music. Just beneath them, the attentive listener will discover-- well, extremely subtle and sophisticated pleasures. Though on the surface, his music seems to be grounded in familiar traditions of rhythm, harmony, and even form--obviously, no Christmas oratorio could be written without acknowledging Bach and Handel--it uses the past as the lifting-off point for pieces that are not only beautiful, but thrillingly original.
If you've ever enjoyed the music of John Adams, this recording is a must-have. If you don't know it, this is a great place to start. El Niño, silly title aside, is a brilliant, passionate piece.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Modern Oratorio December 30, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I've never been much impressed by Adams before, but I may have to rethink my viewpoint. This is a great opera (or oratorio) that treads the same ground as the first half of Handel's 'Messiah'. I particularly liked the use of various non-Bible texts in different languages, and some of the Britten-like orchestration. With Lorraine and Dawn singing, it's also faultlessly performed. Definitely recommended, whatever your tastes in classical music.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Having just witnessed El Niño performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra I have to say that it is truly astounding how well Adams succeeds in creating a true twenty-first century oratorio. He has said that he wanted to write his own Messiah, because he loves Handel's so much. I wonder how many listeners are aware how deftly he has transformed the difficult, narrative recitatives of baroque practice into the haunting "greek chorus" of three countertenor voices? Or how he pays tribute to Handel's famous manner of illustrating the imagery in the text with the vocal writing? Or how brilliantly like Bach he tempers the holy rejoicing with deeply personal expressions of terrible pain and terror?

I'm sure the Sellars staging in the original was impressive but I was glad to have an opportunity to experience the music only, which sustains the listeners' attention as surely as does Handel's oratorio.

This recording is to be prized for another reason. The truly great Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson, one of the most electrifying stage presences in classical music in our times, died of cancer last summer. And now the news that Dawn Upshaw, the other, spectacular lead female singer, is battling the same disease. They would both have been featured in this Boston production, but one is gone and the other has canceled her season while she battles the disease. Here they are on this beautiful recording, as they will not be heard together again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting El niño December 19, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Having first experienced John Adams' 'El niño' a couple of years ago fully staged by Peter Sellars and heard/seen more as a spectacle of video and quasi-choreography with the performers on the stage and the orchestra in the pit, this listener came away humming the visuals of bonfires on the beach with a Latino Holy Family: impressive evening but filler for a seemingly slight musical work. So why buy the CD set? Because I am a strong admirer of John Adams' work and felt I should give it more of a chance than a casual witness to a Christmas spectacle.

Now a few years later and with the CD studied, the next exposure to the work was in concert form and surprisingly 'El niño' works better without the distractions! The admixture of Spanish, Latin and English texts, using some wondrous poetry, the clarity of the vocal lines as sung to perfection by Upshaw, Hunt Lieberson and White, and above all the chance to really hear the brilliant orchestral details result in an oratorio that begins to work some magic. Adams creates a universality of message about birth and brotherhood that will help this rather overlong work sustain. The recording is quite fine and fortunately does not bear the stigmata of Adams' insistence of using mikes for the singers during live performance. Knowing this is one of his 'traits' forces devotees of his music to accept amplification as an instrument: even in his newest work 'Doctor Atomic' the singers are miked when they are all completely capable of filling a large house with their well-supported voices.

But ah, this is the 21st century and amplification is too much with us everywhere we go. So one can only shrug and say 'get over it.' It looks like 'El niño' has staying power: give it a chance. Not Adams' greatest work, but it ages well. Grady Harp, December 05
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