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Jenkins' The Armed Man

Who has performed Karl Jenkin's The Armed Man- A Mass for Peace?  Did you use full or reduced orchestration?  What was the audience' response?
Replies (12): Threaded | Chronological
on June 23, 2009 12:50pm
I was at the US Premiere of this work at Carnegie Hall in January 2008.  It was done with full orchestra and I think is an effective piece for a Community or HS Chorus....the film that was shown with the work was very much a distraction from the music in my opinion....I would not use the film.  Good luck!!  Jim Moyer
on June 23, 2009 1:41pm
We did the choral suite from it and it was LOVED by audience and singers alike. It's perhaps my favorite thing we've ever done.
Jon Arterton
Outer Cape Chorale
PS. I suppose I should direct you to another work about peace, my own 12-minute composition, The Old Lie, which you can see complete with photographic images of WWI at
I hope you like it!
on June 23, 2009 3:49pm
I conducted the complete work with reduced orchestration in August 2005 (the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima). It was an incredibly moving concert for audience and choir alike.
on June 23, 2009 5:14pm
I will be conducting what will perhaps be the Pacific Northwest premier performance of Jenkins' The Armed Man. I would greatly appreciate talking with you with regards to any suggestions that will help me properly prepare this music.
I am very interested in the reduced Orchestra instrumentation. Please feel free to email me at; Frank(a)
on June 24, 2009 4:34am
I have conducted both the full version with Community Choir and High School Chorus of about 225 singes and the reduced version, organ, piano, trumpets etc. with church choir and chamber choir of about 40. Both very effective, moving and well received but obvious differences. Bob Eaton
on June 24, 2009 8:32am
where could you buy or rent the reduced version?  It is one that I would want to sing or play, would have to suggest it to the director. 
Gary Ross
on June 25, 2009 8:22am
The full and reduced orchestration parts are available through B&H.  FYI: I have not found choral scores in stock in the states.
on September 8, 2009 5:31pm
 I also have had trouble in finding the choral scores in stock. Has anybody had any luck with purchasing or borrowing used choral scores? I would be interested in either purchasing used scores or borrowing scores.
Laura R. Russell 
on July 1, 2009 10:19am
We performed two Canadian premieres of The Armed Man-A Mass for Toronto and in St. Catharines' ON, with both The Orpheus Choir of Toronto and Chorus Niagara under the direction of Robert Cooper, C.M. Artistic Directors of both Choirs.
We used the full orchestration of this piece and it was well received in both cities. In the St. Catharine's venue..we performed with over 160 singers this work, in an Canadian Army Barricks...and the sound was incredible!  This is a very moving work, that we just performed  a few excerpts of it for our recent "Best of New Choral Works within the last five years" concert entitled "Choral Countdown" 
This work is a favourite of the Orpheus Choir and my personal favourite is the battle scene movement.     
on July 3, 2009 3:21pm
I am planning to perform The Armed Man-A Mass for Peace this coming March. Can you give me any suggestions and recommendations to help with this productions?
Thank you,
on July 10, 2009 7:02pm
Sorry for this late response to this thread - I have been away on vacation.  I performed this work with about 180 singers (Richard Eaton Singers of Edmonton and the Vancouver Bach Choir) and the Edmonton Symphony a year ago in April.  We used the full orchestra version, complete with five percussionists.  About half way through our preparation of the piece, we received a rather cryptic note from the Boosey & Hawkes rental office, stating that the composer had decided to reduce the percussion to just timpani for the work, and that we should do it without those parts.  However, in looking through the score, we could not see how such a reduction would work, as the percussion is germane to the piece, especially the battle scene.  Although it is quite repetitive in parts and the chorus grew a little weary of rehearsing some of the movements, there is no doubt that the audience enjoyed it very much, or should I say, was quite deeply affected by its powerful impact as a statement on the futility and grief brought on by war.  Jenkins uses the "L'homme armé" Medieval tune to introduce the work, and brings it back later in the work to powerful effect.  The movement featuring an Arabic prayer sung from a 'minaret' (balcony is best), provides a very striking contrast with the movements surrounding it, and indicates in a powerful way the universality of conflict and its causes.  Poetry from many sources is used, including some Hindu texts.  All in all a great experience performing this piece!
Leonard Ratzlaff
Edmonton, AB Canada
on September 30, 2009 12:56pm
I have performed the piece three or four times with different orchestrations, once with full orchestra and a couple of times a reduced version. I recieved different sets of part (and different scores!) for the reduced version every time, which is strange, I think. Probably more the swedish agent messing up than Boosey & Hawkes, I guess. When I did the reduced version (flute, trumpet, cello, piano, organ, timpani and percussion I think it was) we added a few parts, for instance an extra trumpet, a percussionist, and worked quite a lot with the organ part, playing it on a synthesizer and using different sounds for different parts, to better "mimic" the missing orchestral part. Another time we used a regular church organ, which worked just as well if not better. I think we once perfomed it with a string quartet playing the "organ/string parts".
I don't believe at all in reducing the percussion parts. In a few of the occasions that I have performed the piece I have worked with percussionist that have more like embellished the parts a bit, and it has worked very well.
On a critical note, I think the piece as a whole has a little too many repetitions; both the first and the last movement as well as the Sanctus are very lengthy and repeats the same music a lot. There are a few movements towards the end that are a little bit too much alike and long. But I think that isn't as obvious to a first-time or occasional listener, it's more apparent if you have to rehearse the piece...
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