Sunday 12 July 2015
Jenkins: The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace
Royal Albert Hall, 7.00 pm
More about this concert
About the music The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace was written for the millennium and given its first performance in the Royal Albert Hall in April 2000. In commissioning Karl Jenkins to write a setting of the Christian Mass based on the medieval melody ‘L’homme armé’, the Royal Armouries Museum gave the composer the opportunity to imitate 15th-century composers whose unaccompanied settings of the Mass set this popular tune in the tenor part and wove the rest of the composition around it. Twentiethth-century conflicts claimed more lives than in any previous century. In The Armed Man, rather than weaving other musical lines around an ancient tune, texts from other religions and cultures are woven around the four shorter sections from the traditional Latin Mass, emphasising how war brings misery and destruction into the lives of ordinary people of all faiths and nationalities. The piece ends on a note of hope.
The works in the first half also have their roots in war or its aftermath. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was first performed in 1882 and commemorates the liberation of Moscow, 70 years earlier, from Napoleon’s invading French forces. The national anthems of France and Russia ‘do battle’ for supremacy within the music, and the Russian victory is marked by triumphantly glorious cannon-fire and bells. Holst’s Suite The Planets was written during the early part of the First World War. The two movements to be played are ‘Mars, the Bringer of War’ with its oppressive, pounding rhythms, and its antithesis ‘Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity’ — a musical embodiment of joie de vivre and optimism.
About the artists Click on the links for detailed biographies. Conducting the whole concert will be the Principal Conductor of The Really Big Chorus, Brian Kay. The mezzo-soprano soloist in The Armed Man will be Angharad Lyddon, and we are particularly delighted that Manvinder Rattan, who led The Really Big Chorus in a highly successful trip to India earlier this year, has agreed to sing the Adhan for us. We will be accompanied as usual at the Royal Albert Hall by the English Festival Orchestra, led by Adrian Levine.
About the charity The National Autistic Society will benefit from all programme sales, advertising and sponsorship at this concert, and singers will also be entering a competition to count the number of times the phrase ‘l’homme armé’ appears in the vocal score of The Armed Man. Non-singers can join in as well, providing you can get your hands on a copy of the vocal score. Download the instructions and a full-colour entry form by clicking on the image on the right, or download a plain text version. On the day of the concert, please support the charity’s valuable work by buying a programme, and by contributing to the bucket collections at the end of the concert.