Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2000 Performances and Counting

The Armed Man

Saturday 1 April 7:30 pm in the Dunedin Town Hall


Henryk Górecki: Totus tuus
Karl Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace

In The Armed Man Karl Jenkins has fashioned a work that uses the ancient mass structure to communicate a powerful message for world peace. To this end, the composition uses texts from classic poets, biblical verses and the traditional mass, as well as from Muslim, Hindu, and Japanese sources. The music is powerful in its melodic simplicity and is cosmopolitan in its inspiration.

The work conjures images of war and the threat of The Armed Man, but ends with a simple chorale based upon an excerpt from the Book of Revelations, promising that “… God shall wipe away all tears… and there shall be no more death.” This must be the heart-felt prayer of us all: Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace).

Some reviewers consider The Armed Man to be an emotional roller coaster, describing it as “so relevant to our times, haunting and, at times, confronting”, “utterly absorbing”, and “thrilling and devastating by turns”.

The performance will be enhanced by the simultaneous showing of The Armed Man Film which was created to complement the music through historic and contemporary images of many aspects of war and its impact on the world. The choir and vocal soloists will be accompanied by the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.

The Armed Man is one of Jenkins’ most popular works, and is regularly performed by professional and amateur musicians worldwide. In July 2016 it was performed for the 2,000th time in the Royal Albert Hall, London, and it’s high time the complete work was performed in Dunedin.

The concert will begin with an a capella performance of Henryk Górecki’s Totus tuus. This work, subsequently acclaimed a contemporary classic, was written for mixed choir in 1987 to celebrate Pope John Paul II's third pilgrimage to Poland. The title of the work is a Latin phrase meaning “totally thine” and expressed his personal Consecration to Mary. The music repeats a simple chant form to slowly build a musical affirmation of faith.

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