De Azevedo has outdone himself with this literal retelling of the story of Christ set in an oratorio. Edited from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Isaiah in the King James version of the Bible, the lyrics literally follow the words of the ancient apostles and prophets. Assisted by the voices of Millennium, de Azevedo has penned a masterful tribute to this story of stories. The music is mesmerizing and the voices are spectacular. This album is the first of two planned volumes on the life of Christ, and what a wonderful taste of what's to come! Featuring 21 tracks on two CDs, the work includes ten recitatives, three musical interludes, one narrative track, and seven choruses. "Blessed Art Thou Among Women" and the admonitory "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord" are particular highlights. The latter is not an easy piece to ignore, with its intricate harmonies, near staccato rhythms, lyrical strings, and wondrous crescendo of a finale. "I Bring You Good Tidings of Great Joy" is an uplifting piece with some interesting reed melodies in the orchestration. One interesting aspect is the voice of Isaiah, given life by Gene Merlino. His parts are sung entirely in Hebrew (even the liner notes are done in Hebrew), but he sounds excellent. In fact, all of the solo voices are excellent. George Dyer gives voice to Gabriel and the tenor recitatives. Christeena Riggs is Mary, Freddie Jewkes is Elisabeth, and Kathryn Laycock Little handles all the soprano and alto recitatives. Mark Child voices Zacharias, and Michael Bennett provides the sole narrative track. This is a highly recommended addition to any serious musician's collection. It's an excellent example of how one can combine so many different musical gifts to create a loving tribute to Christ. It also makes for appropriate (though not by any means relaxing) Sabbath Day listening.
AllMusic Review by Dacia A. Blodgett-Williams
Track Listing - Disc 1
feat: Chris Riggs
Track Listing - Disc 2