Adams: Canticles of the Holy Wind / Nally, The Crossing

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Lauded by the New York Times as a "...hypnotic and ethereally beautiful invocation of wind, sky and birdsong," John Luther Adams's Canticles of the Holy Wind, performed by the renowned chamber choir The Crossing, is quite possibly his most technically challenging choral work, and yet the music's mesmerizing aura of stillness encourages listening at its most elemental. The piece was composed for four choirs of eight singers each, and moves through spaces that are as fantastical ("Sky with Four Suns") as they are peaceful ("The Hour of the Doves"), always with a connection to the inner world within us, as well as the world around us. "John allows us to interrupt our otherwise endlessly forward-tumbling lives," notes Donald Nally, The Crossing's conductor, "and experience these sounds as if we were sitting in the woods for an hour. An hour of wind and of sky and of birds. We are drawn to this music, not just for the beauty of its shimmering harmonies and the overwhelming climactic moments, but also for way it inspires a ‘hearing’ of nature, in real time, as we sing it."



There are 34 singers listed in The Crossing, a professional chamber choir founded about a decade ago. The singing, always controlled and disciplined, also has the ring of uninhibited spontaneity to it. It’s as if, for a little more than an hour, the singers cease to be humans and transform themselves into the skies, the birds, and winds, and the Earth itself.

It might be a little too intense for some listeners, like a good storm, but Canticles of the Holy Winds is one of the most impressive things I’ve heard so far in 2017. This disc will be on my Want List for sure.

– Fanfare (R. Tuttle)

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: CA21131

  • UPC: 713746313128

  • Label: Cantaloupe

  • Composer: John Luther Adams

  • Conductor: Donald Nally

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: The Crossing


  1. Canticles of the Holy Wind

    Composer: John Luther Adams

    Ensemble: The Crossing

    Conductor: Donald Nally