The distinctive musical world of Karl Jenkins (Adiemus, The Armed Man, Requiem) is wedded to the unique vocal gifts of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in this inspiring and beautiful collection of songs.
Antema Africana, The Mystics, In Paradisum, Paya Paya and Capriccio d’Amore are by Jenkins himself and his own compositions rub shoulders with innovative and witty arrangements of Beethoven and Chopin. Six numbers by Carlos Guastavino and Misa Criolla by fellow Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez were suggested by Dame Kiri. All sixteen tracks are arrangements by Jenkins of course, written in that unmistakable style that has made him among the most popular composers of today.
Dame Kiri sings in several languages on the album - Welsh, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Latin - as well as Jenkins’ usual invented language of phonetic sounds In addition, for the first time Dame Kiri’s voice is multi-tracked. ‘Nine versions of me,’ explains the New Zealand superstar. ‘We call it the Kiri Chorus!’ Jenkins found the results fascinating. ‘We’ve laid her upon herself and the sound’s quite magical. It’s different to anything else. It’s not done in a pop way where people very often add vibrato and make it match so that the voice is pulsing on the wave. She just sings it – and she sings it how she feels it. Against that, when we need a more kind of tribal earthy kind of element, I’ve used some Adiemus style voices.’
Among the unusual features on the album is the use of South American percussion instruments, the great jazz guitarist Martin Taylor on a couple of tracks, as well as the playing of recorder virtuoso Pamela Thornby. Jenkins reveals, ‘She has this ability to bend notes in way and that makes it sound more Third World. Kiri has re-recorded “In Paradisum", the last movement of the Requiem, which she sings beautifully. We changed the key, the orchestration has altered a little bit, and the harp part is now played on recorder.’