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Adams: El Niño, “Woe unto them that call evil good”

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: This is not the semi-regular weather pattern of the Pacific Ocean

John Adams’ version of the Nativity story finds its origin in many parts of the composer’s life. He always wanted to right a piece about the miracle of birth. Recalling the birth of this daughter Emily he said, “There were four people in the room, and then there were five.” Although in composing El Niño he chose a much higher profile birth, that of Jesus of Nazareth. In the selection we just heard, Adams’ chooses a text from the Hebrew prophet Isaiah as commentary to the heinous plan of the wicked King Herod to slay all of the children under two, and the Christ child along with them. The stage director of the original production, and collaborator in the shaping of El Niño, was PETER SELLARS.

Music Heard On This Episode

John Adams: "Woe unto them that call evil good" from El Niño
Willard White, baritone; The Theatre of Voices; German Symphony Orchestra-Berlin; Kent Nagano — John Adams: El Niño/ Hunt-Lieberson, Upshaw, W. White, Nagano (Nonesuch, 2001)
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album cover
John Adams: "Woe unto them that call evil good" from El Niño
Willard White, baritone; The Theatre of Voices; German Symphony Orchestra-Berlin; Kent Nagano — John Adams: El Niño/ Hunt-Lieberson, Upshaw, W. White, Nagano (Nonesuch, 2001)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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