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UK Choral Sensation Coming To Wellington

THE ARMED MAN - Karl Jenkins 8pm Wellington Town Hall Wednesday 28 June 2006

The Armed Man, a mass for peace by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, has taken the UK choral scene by storm - it has gained huge attention, admired by choirs and audiences alike. It was commissioned by Guy Wilson, Master of the Royal Armouries, to mark the millennium. Troubled by the state of world conflict, he wanted a work that would reflect on war and peace in a multi-cultural, global society. The result is this powerful cycle of songs, which Jenkins dedicated to the victims of Kosovo, where tragedy was unfolding as he composed the piece.

Jenkins uses texts from a variety of sources - beginning with the 15th century folk tune L'Homme Arme, and including Biblical, Muslim, and Hindu as well as poetry of the classical poets, an Hiroshima survivor, and Guy Wilson himself. The music invokes many styles, reflecting Jenkins' broad background - his early years in church music, a post-graduate music degree from the Royal Academy, jazz, pop and classical. Above all, The Armed Man is a compelling yet very accessible musical account of the terrible consequences of war and a passionate plea for peace.

Premiered in the Royal Albert Hall in April 2000, the Mass drew "prolonged shouts of approval from the audience". Orpheus Choir's performance will be the first with orchestra in New Zealand, and offers a brilliant line-up of soloists: Jenny Wollerman, Helen Medlyn, Jack Bourke and Grant Dickson, joined by Vector Wellington Orchestra. In the first half of the concert, Helen will sing the mezzo solo from Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, and Grant, whose powerful Titurel impressed so much in the recent NZ International Arts Festival's Parsifal, will sing Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death. Orpheus Musical Director Michael Fulcher, who is gaining accolades for the quality of his work with choir and orchestra, will conduct.

This is a concert not to be missed. Tickets $15-$40 from Ticketek

L'Homme Arme text translation 15th century secular song: The armed man should be feared. Everywhere it has been proclaimed that every man should arm himself with a coat of iron mail


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