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4.9 out of 5 stars
40
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 29 March 2017
Love it.
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on 30 April 2017
Absolutely inspirational!
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on 30 March 2015
Karl Jenkins is a genius, and The Armed Man will likely be remembered as Jenkins at the very top of his game.
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on 12 July 2006
Being a fan of Jenkins work, I awaited the release of this DVD with anticipation. I was not disappointed! It is a beautiful recording of a powerful and moving work. The inclusion of news and film footage adds depth and a sometimes disturbing realism to the score. Highly recommended.
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on 9 January 2006
I heard a live performance of The Armed Man in Rochester cathedral in 2005 and then bought the DVD for my tenor husband. The performance is quite amazing conducted by the composer himself in St David's Hall Cardiff on the occasion of his 60th Birthday The camera work is brilliant and what really makes the performance so special is the use of the backdrop screen at the rear of the orchestra and choir. Throughout the performance numerous contemporary and historical film clips express the full horror and futility of war At times the whole things is incredibly moving and it is hard not to be moved to tears by both the intensity of the music and the at times disturbing clips that are so well combined with the music All in all it is a stunning viewing experience
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on 5 January 2006
I heard a live performance of the Armed Man in Rochester Cathedral early in 2005 and subsequently bought the DVD for my tenor husband for Christmas It is a quite amazing performance conducted bt Karl himself on the occasion of his 60th birthday and in St David's Hall in Cardiff The camera work is brilliant and what really makes the performance so special is the use of a backdrop screen at the rear of the orchestra and choir. Throughout the performance numerous contemporary and historical video clips express the full horror and futility of war It is hard at times not to be moved to tears by some of these stunning and at times disturbing clips especially as they are so well combined with the music All in all an amazing viewing experience
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This live recording of The Armed Man was made in Cardiff in 2004 and marked the occasion of the composer's 60th birthday. The performance was conducted by Karl Jenkins himself. The work was commissioned by the Royal armouries as part of the Millennium commemoration in 2000. The words were selected (and some translated and written) by Guy Wilson, the master of the Armouries at the time of the composition.

The resulting composition is a strong and passionate plea for peace and in that respect it shares the same message as Britten's War Requiem which also depicts not only the horror of war, but also `the pity of war.' Both compositions share the concept of incorporating and juxtaposing secular words with words from the Roman Catholic Mass. In the case of Britten, he used the powerful and moving poems by the 1st World War poet Wilfred Owen, who was himself killed in action. In Jenkins's composition this concept of incorporating other sources into the Mass goes a great deal further. In so doing it includes words from both world and historical sources plus a continuous video display of disturbing images depicting warfare in all its guises on a large screen set above and behind the choir.

This is a truly multi-media message of great impact and its musical message has received an enormous positive response. The title of 'The Armed Man' is taken from a song written between 1450 and 1463 at the court of Charles the Bold of Burgundy and describes how an armed man must be feared. By the end of the 16th century 30 Masses had been written making use of all or parts of the song so this current composition could be seen as following a long tradition but in a very modern way. Although this is a modern composition, the music itself is easily accessible and much more so than the work by Benjamin Britten mentioned earlier. Its greater popularity is therefore readily understood.

The composition features a traditional orchestra supplemented by a range of instruments from other cultures. The work has a large choir plus soloists who combine to communicate this cross-cultural plea for peace set against the constant visual display simultaneously illustrating the horrors of war, whatever the historical context.

The performance by all concerned is as deeply committed as you could wish for and it would be hard to imagine a more successful performance of this work than the one presented here. Fortunately EMI have provided a fine recording to match and which manages to successfully combine all the visual on-screen images with those of the performers. This is coupled with a clear sonic recording presented in stereo plus both DTS and Dolby surround sound. In my opinion this is worth the full 5 stars.
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The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins is a fabulous piece of work. It is a modern piece of classical music and it is a great composition.
The Armed Man is a Mass for peace. The work was composed for the Millenium celebrations as the Royal Armouries Museum moved from London to Leeds. It is effectively an anti war composition and is strongly based upon the Catholic Mass and a French folk song. The composition includes text from other historical and religious sources including the Islamic call to prayer and the Psalms and Revelations from the Bible. Also woven into the piece are words from Rudyard Kipling, and A.L Tennyson as well as a survivor of the Hiroshima Nuclear bomb who had since died from cancer.

The whole composition begins with a representation of marching with added piccolo representing military band flutes. This leads to words from a French folk song "The Armed Man" and passages of reflection before calling for prayer and Gods help. The Kyrie is excellent and the Sanctus has a menacing tone. Then there is Kipling;s "hymn before action" and words taken from Jonathan Swift and John Dryden and trumpets and song and fateful climax.
Then there is the still quiet and the "Last post" type of trumpet call as we move to the agnus Dei and reflection. We move to the Benedictus and then hope of peace with words that remind us that peace is better than war with text from the bible.

The orchestra is rich with well delivered and powerful performance. There is great emotion and wonderful passages of melody, harmony and reflection in the piece. There are some really beautiful parts to the work that are very soothing and peaceful. The composition is powerful and a true modern event of originality. The DVD presentation offers an extra and added element of involvement to the whole project and it is very good indeed.
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on 4 August 2009
From the very beginning you just cant help being drawn into this - the music itself and the accompanying pictures say all one would ever need to know about the futility of conflict and war - I understand that virtually every week a performance of this work is being done somewhere in the country and I can understand why- this particular video stands out though for its sheer musicianship and for the fact that the conductor is the composer and gets from the choir and orchestra a totally marvellous performance
Truly wonderful !!!
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on 26 May 2011
The meaningless of war and waste of human life is resounded in this piece of "The Armed Man", which at first gives the impression of one who is ready for the fight, but then when one realises this is certainly "A Mass for Peace" the true significance is brought to us through the horrendous images of war within this centuary.
Jenkins, as we all know, is one of our most bespoke and extemely tanlented comtemporary composers. After studying this piece, I can honestly say I am greatful to have already studied the music before seeing the actual video. The music pieces take on such a profound significance when the video is shown.
Thank you Maestro Jenkins and all of your entourage.
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