Armed Man front for web

Detail from ‘The Battle of Stamford Bridge’ (1870) by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1831–1892)

Sunday 12 July 2015

Singday® 2015: The Armed Man

Royal Albert Hall, 7.00 pm

12 July must have been one of our best concerts ever. The English Festival Orchestra was on fine form in the first half, setting the mood with two movements from The Planets by Holst (‘Mars’ and ‘Jupiter’) followed by Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture complete with national anthems and cannon-fire. After the interval more than 2,000 singers stood for the evening’s main work, Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace.

Our mezzo-soprano soloist was Angharad Lyddon, the part of the muezzin was taken by Manvinder Rattan (the conductor for our memorable trip to India earlier in the year), and Brian Kay was in control of the vast musical forces.

Brian’s verdict:
‘I must admit to a particularly enjoyable afterglow following some of the best singing and playing that I can remember in one of our “Scratch” situations. The chorus seemed better prepared than ever and made a remarkably good sound, considering the relatively small number of men – but how they proved their worth in the “Bloody Men” section! The whole concert was a pleasure and it’s a great feeling that Don Monro’s original vision continues to produce performances which seem to get more impressive every time.’

The concert supported the National Autistic Society through programme sales, bucket collections, sales of merchandise and a competition to count how many times the phrase l’homme armé appeared in the vocal score. In spite of being instructed to count ‘from cover to cover’, many entrants failed to spot that there was a final appearance of these words on the back cover of the vocal score, so their submitted totals were one too low. Of those who counted correctly, it was Ali Maxwell’s name which was pulled out of the hat: she was presented with a full orchestral score of The Armed Man, signed by Sir Karl Jenkins and by all the 12 July solo artists, plus the original CD of the work.

What you thought:
‘Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought I’d be part of such an amazing performance. Can’t praise you all highly enough.’ (Esther, Aberdeen)
‘I just wanted to say how wonderful yesterday’s concert was. It was simply fantastic to be part of it. A huge thank you to Brian and everyone concerned.’ (Brenda, East Sussex)