Adiemus (Songs of Sanctuary)
Karl Jenkins


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With four entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame, Karl Jenkins is the most popular living British composer. This is his second highest entry, first appearing in the chart in 1997 where it's remained ever since, peaking at number 56 in 1998.

In 1995, Adiemus ensured that Karl Jenkins would burst forth into the mainstream. As with so many pieces of classical music, Adiemus's success in the late twentieth century was initially down to its use on a television advert in this case, a Delta Airlines commercial. Interestingly, the music was actually commissioned by the airline and then developed further by Jenkins into a full-blown classical work.

To say it is scored for sopranos and orchestra is to already define Adiemus in conventional ways that the composer would arguably resist. The female soloist (on the original recording, Miriam Stockley) performs in a fusion of styles, with Western melodic structures, world music influences and free time signatures abounding. The second female singer (in this case, Mary Carewe) harmonises in a parallel manner, creating an equally new age feel and non-Western classical music sound-world.