Sunday, March 04, 2018

The Armed Man

The Sandgate Singers’ performance of ‘The Armed Man’ in Arundel Cathedral on 3rd March was a dramatic event to witness. The audience reacted to the opening in which the black-clad choir were marching on the spot for all the world like a tide of death. This was in tune with the opening theme, “The armed man must be feared.”

The work, by Karl Jenkins, is described as “a mass for peace” and it includes the traditional elements of the Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Benedictus. These are interspersed with movements which convey the futility and horror of war. Even the Sanctus, which praises the “Lord God of Hosts” has a distinctly martial air.

I think no less a place than a cathedral can do justice to this powerful work. It is unfortunate that one of the most distinctive pieces of the work – the Muslim call to prayer – was excluded by the powers that be. The words of the call to prayer, “God is great, prayer is better than sleep.” are not out of place in a Cathedral and now would be a good time to remind people that Muslims worship the same God.

The event was in aid of the “Love your hospital” charity. A pity a fraction of the billions squandered on war can’t be used for a better purpose. Carl Jenkins drew attention to the human cost of war and the voices of the choir became positively demonic in the sixth movement “Charge!” 

It was an evening the audience will not forget.

No comments: