The Armed Man was commissioned by The Royal Armouries as a Millennium project. The ideas for the project were developed by Karl Jenkins in collaboration with Guy Wilson, the Master of the Armouries and Bob Smith, Head of Collection Care. The Armed Man charts the growing menace of the descent into war. There are moments of reflection as well as the depiction of the horrors of war. The Mass ends optimistically with the hope of peace.
After the introduction of the sound of marching feet, the work begins and ends with the medieval song L`homme armé, a french secular song from the time of the Renaissance. The Call to Prayers leads to the Kyrie and into an increasingly warlike section with Save me from Bloody Men, words from Psalms 56 and 59. This is followed by the Sanctus, Kipling`s Hymn before Action and Charge! with words by John Dryden and Jonathan Swift.
Angry Flames are words by Toge Sankichi, a Japanese poet, activist and survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, who died from leukemia as a result of exposure to radiation. Torches is from the Mahabharata, the ancient Indian Sanskrit epic poem, probably dating from the 6th century BC. After the Agnus Dei are words by Guy Wilson Now the Guns have stopped.
The Benedictus is followed by the final chorus Better in Peace, and words coming from Mallory, Tennyson and from the Book of Revelation 21.4
Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828) Mass in G
This early work was written when Schubert was only 18 years old and no doubt was influenced by his recent membership of the Vienna Boys` Choir. He had just started school teaching, which he found a drudge, and perhaps as a relief, composition seemed to flow easily in this period. It was intended for liturgical work in his local church at Liechtenthal, a suburb of Vienna, and is therefore quite short. Settings of the mass for an orchestral accompaniment were a tradition not only of the Emperor`s chapel, where the Vienna Boys` Choir sang (and still sings), but also of many of the other churches, a feature of music in that city even today, However, in consideration of the parish resources the orchestra required was of modest size - strings only. Solo sections, which with the exception of the Benedictus, are modest in length, would have been sung by members of the choir.
Each section of the mass is set as a single movement. Of course, in a church service they would have been separated by the spoken parts.Several perculiarities of the Creed are worth noting. The words concerning the belief in one holy and apostolic church and in the resurrection of the dead, are omitted, perhaps reflecting on Schubert`s somewhat unorthodox views. And this movement, unusually, does not have any change of tempo, just a steady tread throughout.