Review: The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins

The Welsh composer Karl Jenkins is among the most performed living composers. His 2000 work The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace has racked up nearly 3000 performances to date, and receives its first “full” Australian performance in the 2022 edition of The Big Sing.Jenkins takes the text of the Latin Mass as his basis, and around it weaves other texts including a Muslim call to prayer, the Indian epic Mahabharata, and poetry by Kipling, Dryden, Malory, and the Japanese poet Sankichi. The Big Sing is now firmly established as a major community event in the southern vales, and this mammoth undertaking is by far their most ambitious project to date. No fewer than five choirs, 300-odd voices, plus the combined orchestras of Marryatville High School and Brighton Secondary School (with some illustrious alumni in section leads) were under the outstanding direction of Carl Crossin. Crossin is among the finest choral conductors in Australia, and brought together the disparate forces with consummate skill. And so to the music. The 13 movements are very diverse, from martial pomp to poignant reflection, and there is some very exacting writing. It has its memorable tunes — the Benedictus is played to a madnessContinue readingReview: The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins