“When I started composing The Armed Man, the tragedy of Kosovo unfolded. I was thus reminded daily of the horror of such conflict and so I dedicate this work to the victims of Kosovo.” – Karl Jenkins
The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace is a truly inclusive work which holds such relevance in modern society. It includes extracts from the Ordinary of the Catholic Mass, as well as texts from other religious and historical sources, such as the Islamic call to prayer, the Bible, and the Mahabharata. The texts of writers such as Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Sankichi Toge, who survived the Hiroshima bombing also appear in the work.
The Armed Man is accompanied by video footage. It charts the growing menace of a descent into war, interspersed with the horrors that war brings. It ends, however, with the hope for peace in a new millennium, when “sorrow, pain and death can be overcome”.
Alexander Fokkens conducts the Rustenburg Girls’ High School, Rondebosch Boys’ High School, and South African College High School choirs and orchestra in this exhilarating work. The soloists are Brittany Smith (Soprano), Vasti Knoesen (Mezzo-Soprano), Makudupanyane Senaoana (Tenor) and Barend van der Westhuizen (Baritone).
Other works featured include Arlington by Paul Murtha, Mountain Thyme by Samuel R. Hazo, and Commemoration Overture by Robert Sheldon, which will be performed by a Combined Concert Band comprising of the three schools. The programme also includes the first movement of the Piano Concerto no. 1 in E minor by Frederic Chopin, with Jiyoon Jeon of Rustenburg Girls’ High School as the soloist.