How I Wrote... Adiemus Colores - Karl Jenkins

What happens when you look at music through the composer's eyes? In the first of a new series, we're delving deeper into some of the best music by living composers - this week it's the turn of Karl Jenkins, who's back with his hotly-anticipated Adiemus Colores album.

Composer: Karl Jenkins

Piece: Colores

Date written: Spring 2013

In a sentence or less, how would you describe the music to someone who's never heard it before?
Like most of my music, it is both steeped and based in classical principles but reaches out and embraces other cultures and since Adiemus is an established and known reference point, "Adiemus meets Latin America" would be apposite.

How did the idea for the piece come about?
It is not always possible to explain where ideas come from but having written quasi religious music (of many hues) for the last few years it seemed it would be a liberating creative experience (which it was) to re-visit Adiemus but with a twist, for this, my first DG release.

Did you have a musical 'EUREKA!' moment where everything fell into place, or did the piece gradually shift and change over time?
There is never such a moment with a piece lasting 60 minutes since, having first decided its concept (in this case, using 'colours' as movement titles and inspiration)  it's a question of getting down to work over a long period (in this case 12 months) in composing and orchestrating until one gets, creatively, to where one wants to.

Is there a musical moment in the piece you're most proud of?
Not really, since it is one work, but the contribution of the singers from Helsinki was staggering as well as that of the stellar guests, Venezuelan trumpeter Pacho Flores, Lisbon-based fado singer Cuca Roseta, Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón, and the fast-rising classical guitar star Milos Karadaglic.

What's been your favourite performance of the music?
Like much of my work, it is recorded before it is ever performed and I am at that stage now with this release.

If you could hear anyone admit they're a huge fan of the piece, who would it be?
My peers, especially those that contributed to the recording, and they did!

If you had to compose it again, what would you change?
Absolutely nothing.