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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strikingly beautiful, though not particularly demanding
Karl Jenkins' `The Armed Man' is apparently the most-performed piece by any living classical composer, so the chances are you'll have heard at least snippets of it sometime, somewhere. On this Special Edition CD/DVD set, you get two performances: the CD features the London Philharmonic and the National Youth Choir; while the DVD features a live performance at Cardiff's...
Published on 27 Feb 2011 by Jeremy Bevan

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as expected
I bought this having really enjoyed the famous section often played on the radio - unfortunately I didn't enjoy the rest of the album as much and have enjoyed other Karl Jenkins albums more.
Published on 25 Jun 2012 by NSG


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strikingly beautiful, though not particularly demanding, 27 Feb 2011
By 
Jeremy Bevan (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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Karl Jenkins' `The Armed Man' is apparently the most-performed piece by any living classical composer, so the chances are you'll have heard at least snippets of it sometime, somewhere. On this Special Edition CD/DVD set, you get two performances: the CD features the London Philharmonic and the National Youth Choir; while the DVD features a live performance at Cardiff's St. David's Hall (originally broadcast on S4C) with the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera. Although TV broadcasts of classical performances don't always `work' that well, this one's anything but dull. It features, on a giant screen behind the performers, newsreel and TV footage of images from the buildup to war (marching Hitler Youth and Soviet Mayday parades, for example) and from the aftermath. Some excellent editing from S4C means the cameras focus on the screen with sometimes mesmerising effect at key dramatic points during the recital.

In fact, the video backdrop to the DVD performance is very much a key to the work itself: follow it, and your understanding of what Jenkins is trying to do with the music and diverse accompanying texts will be enhanced. Images of the Twin Towers burning play at the mid-point of the work, acting as a powerful still `centre' and a watershed as the work moves from the menacing tones of the build-up to its quieter, more reflective aftermath; and we cut to a view of the earth from space at the instant in the Benedictus when the choir's first `Hosanna in excelsis' rings out.

In the accompanying booklet, Jenkins describes how critics have labelled him `emotionally manipulative'. There's no doubt that the music, with its jazz-inspired rhythmic percussion pulse, combines with a powerful score (including extracts from Dryden's St Ceciia's Day and Togi Sankichi's poem written in the aftermath of Hiroshima) to achieve an effect on the listener of great and moving intensity. And Jenkins builds in a very accomplished and innovative way on the given structures (Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Benedictus) of the `Armed Man' masses of the 15th and 16th centuries. Dedicated as the work is to the victims of Kosovo, and featuring both an Islamic adhan (call to prayer) and text from Mahabharata, there's no doubting the composer's desire to produce something that would speak to the universal desire for peace - for `better is peace than always war', as the closing piece of the Mass has it.

But while his intentions are clear, my only slight concern with this otherwise strikingly beautiful work is whether Jenkins' striving for emotional effect is sometimes at the expense of a more unflinching look at the political and social causes of war. But Britten's War Requiem this isn't, and if the music doesn't pose too many difficult questions, the images on the video screen, repellent, horrific, pitiful as they sometimes are, should give pause for thought. So, a Special Edition worth shelling out for: and you'll get an exclusive new Jenkins track `For the Fallen', which sets Laurence Binyon's famous Remembrance poem to music in memory of the composer's bomber pilot uncle, lost over Berlin in 1944.
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98 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional and Thought Provoking, 20 May 2003
By 
B. M. Rockey "Colonel Trumpet Windsock" (Wokingham, Berks United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace (Audio CD)
On hearing the beautiful and peaceful Benedictus on the radio I had to find a recording on CD for a more intimate listening. I was not disappointed by the emotional and thought provoking mass for peace - 'The Armed Man'. An incredible recipe of ancient and modern styles of music, composed skilfully by Karl Jenkins. And what a variety of texture from the Moslem Call to Prayers, to the stirring Sanctus; from the peaceful opening strings of Benedictus to the dramatic film-like sounds of Hymn Before Action. We are reminded of the futility of war during the playing of the Last Post in Charge! This is a powerful CD, and must be added to your collection.
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130 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bleakly beautiful with gorgeous moments., 11 Dec 2002
By 
This review is from: Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace (Audio CD)
Full of extraodinary swirls and stabs of orchestral music and beautiful, melodic choirs. This CD takes you on a joruney from the start of war(The Armed Man, with trudging, marching feet, drums and fifes and the poignant - given the current situation - Call To Prayers which is simply the unearthly solo voice of a meuzzin singing the Islamic call to prayer in Arabic), through to sadness and fear at start of battle(Kyrie, Save Me From Bloody Men), heroism and passion(Sanctus, the extraordinary and stirring Hymn Before Action, wonderful words by Rudyard Kipling) and of course, tumbles down into the real tragedy and pain of war(Angry Flames and Torches) and ends with the bitter sorrow of Agnus Dei and Now The Guns Have Stopped. The final, serene and lovely Benedictus(the one track I had heard and fallen in love with before buying the CD which contains the sweetest and most haunting cello I've ever heard) and Better is Peace(medieval, dancey and joyous), is a fitting end. Not for those who are easily depressed, but well worth it for the emotional journey and the beautiful voices.
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95 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mass for Peace at a time of Conflict, 17 Oct 2002
By 
Mr J Remynse (Winchester, Hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace (Audio CD)
I first became aware of the sound as I was driving to work. Slow, beautiful and reminiscent of... Of what? I did not know. I had missed the introduction. But I knew there and then I had to have it. As the music reached a crescendo, I knew I was listening to something special and fervently hoped the announcer would tell me what it was. She obliged: I had been listening to the National Youth Choir performing the Benedictus from Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. I ordered it that evening and less than 48 hours later I was able to listen to the entire CD.
From the first track to the last, I was struck by the quality of the recording and the pure sound of the voices: young people creating a sound that many of their elders in better known choirs might aspire to.
As an Australian in the UK, I heard this just days after the Bali bomb explosion in which many of my young countrymen and women died, so this CD immediately took on a meaning and life of its own. I listened to it for hours on the day it arrived - and imagine it will continue to move me to tears for many years to come.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning & moving mix of classical and contemporary music, 13 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace (Audio CD)
This Mass for Peace is all the more moving by it's timely release. The variation in musical styles within the piece is breathtaking, from the haunting Kyrie to the mesmerising Muslim call to prayer right through to the slightly discordant and angry 'Torches'. The lyrics are well chosen to convey the powerful message and the musical settings totally reinforce the conviction of that message. From the punchy, pugnacious start of the Armed Man, through the classic Mass pieces of Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei to the upbeat ending of 'Better is Peace' with its optimistic message of 'Ring in a Thousand Years of Peace'and the final chorale 'God Shall Wipe Away All Tears' , this work is compelling listening and a welcome development of Karl Jenkins' already prolific talent. This is a departure from his Adiemus works, but let's hope it's the first of many. Well worth a listen by any discerning Karl Jenkins fan.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Composition Allied To Magnificent Singing, 13 Sep 2002
By 
Capt I. McRae "The Ancient Mariner" (Angus, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace (Audio CD)
Until I bought “The Armed Man” I did not know that Karl Jenkins had also written the “Adiemus” series. A good job too, as these were a little “schmalzy” for my taste, and I might not have bought “The Armed Man”. I first heard a part of it on the radio and I fell for its beauty, and now, having heard it all I am deeply impressed. This is an altogether more serious work than Adiemus. At times stark and redolent of the fear and horror of war as in “Torches”, and at others tearing tears from the eyes with its hanting beauty as in the Agnus Dei. This work spans the depth and breadth of human emotion. The intellectuals and “pseuds” will not like this work, but I doubt the composer will lose any sleep over that. As I see it, this work was not written for them, but for the mass of ordinary men and women who have to bear the brunt of warfare with their lives and those of their loved ones. Warfare dreamed up by those very intellectuals who will never allow themselves to get too close to the horror they have contrived for those they consider as lesser mortals. Karl Jenkins has produced a mighty work. A thoughtful work. A work that not only satisfies my musical taste, but also one which made me think deeply about its meaning, and at times made me weep.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, yet sublime, 12 Sep 2005
By 
ch0pper "ch0pper" (SOUTHAMPTON, Hampshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace (Audio CD)
Jenkins was commissioned by The Royal Armouries to write this pieve for the Millenium celebration of 2000 so despite the assertions of another reviewer, this was not 'Jenkins attempt to climb on a bandwagon'.
Further, another reviewer seems to equate musical complexity with musical worth. This represents the very worst type of 'musical snobbery'. The fact that a piece is accessible does not mean that it has no worth or value.
And this piece is both accesible and enjoyable. Yes it may not be as comple as Bach or Palestrina, but I suspect that anyone who has a real heart would find themselves swept up by this music.
A very worthwhile additon to anyone's collection. In my humble opinion!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW, 18 Jan 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace (Audio CD)
I bought this recording recently when i was asked to sing with a 300 member strong choir and the Countesthorpe and Guthlaxton Colleges concert band ,and i was amazed with the completley different mood of songs included. It was stunning.
From Strong and fast tempo songs to illustrate the act of battle ti the slow and emotional sound of the post-war songs in which you can actually imagine the atmosphere. I am not really into this kind of music but it is definately worth listening too.
I must admit I am so looking forward to singing in this live event and even more so now I have had the pleasure of listening to the great songs.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Armed Man, 30 Jan 2003
By 
Denise Neville (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace (Audio CD)
The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins is one of the most interesting modern classical CD's I have heard in a long time.
It is highly atmospheric right from the start and really conjures up the feelings of marching to war as part of an army.
Each track is different but they still connect with each other, each flowing easily towards the next one. Once I start listening to it I find myself getting cross if I am interupted before reaching the end.
The choir is excellent and I understand have received a lot of praise from many professionals in the music industry.
It is so good, I am now buying another copy for my father!!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars POIGNIENT LY BEAUTIFUL AND STUNNINGLY EMOTIONAL, 28 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace (Audio CD)
I have never listened to a musical composition which so profoundly and dramatically paints such a stunning and visual picture that you feel you are there, rooted to the spot in the middle of a battle.
There has been much reporting in the press about a "Holy War" and one cannot push aside the feeling the music portrays a sense of "them and us". Particularly tracks 2 and 6, Adhaan and the Hymn Before Action. The tragic evens of September 11 burned into the minds of milllions for evermore will find the music stirring and passionate.
But let us not forget that despite the horrors of war the composition ends with "Better Is Peace" a reminder that goodness and salvation can and will prevail.
This is a truly remarkable work. Karl Jenkins better known for his Adiemus project has composed a work of such beauty, horror, despair and hope that one cannot be moved by the sheer complexity and range of feelings depicted throughout the work.
This is a true portrayal of Man's legacy. Perhaps even destiny.
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