JENKINS: The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace; FINZI: Intimations of Immortality

Saturday 23 November 2019, 7.30pm
Chester Cathedral
A Choir Concert: Tickets: £15, £20

Note: Side aisle seating will not be available for this concert

 


Helen Anne Gregory mezzo soprano
Paul Smy tenor
Chester Music Society Choir
Liverpool Sinfonia
Graham Jordan Ellis conductor



The Armed Man by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins is subtitled "A Mass for Peace". Like Benjamin Britten's War Requiem before it, it is essentially an anti-war piece and is based on the Catholic Mass, which Jenkins combines with other sources, principally the 15th-century folk song L'homme armé in the first and last movements.
In addition to extracts from the Ordinary of the Mass, the text incorporates words from other religious and historical sources, including the Islamic call to prayer, the Bible (e.g. the Psalms and Revelation), and the Mahabharata. Writers whose words appear in the work include Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Sankichi Toge, a survivor of Hiroshima.
The Armed Man charts the growing menace of a descent into war, interspersed with moments of reflection. It shows the horrors that war brings; and ends with the hope for peace in a new millennium, when "sorrow, pain and death can be overcome".

Intimations of Immortality is an ode for tenor, chorus, and orchestra, and is one of the best-known works by English composer Gerald Finzi. It is a setting of William Wordsworth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality", cast as a single continuous movement. Music critics and historians have pointed out there are obvious stylistic similarities between portions of Intimations and William Walton's 1931 cantata Belshazzar's Feast.