Alnwick & District Choral Society

Review

Remembrance Day Concert

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Written after the Kosovo conflict, Jenkins’ The Armed Man, maps a terrifying descent into war. Amidst the intense horrors of conflict, there are moments of calm reflection, until combatants and victims finally seek a peace in a new millennium.

Alnwick Choral Society brought this amazing work to life on Remembrance Sunday, in St Paul’s church. Peter Brown, Musical Director, conducted the program that included In Flanders Fields, his own powerful and poignant setting of John McCrae’s poem, and Faure’s Requiem.

The Requiem with its prayers for a life now over, was beautifully delivered and prepared the audience well for the emotional experience that was to follow.

In The Armed Man, Karl Jenkins weaves the calm, reflective Kyrie and Call To Prayer together with a menacing Sanctus and Hymn Before Action. The martial trumpets of the Charge quicken the pulse, but are followed by the chilling, agonized howls of the dying and the silence of the battlefield when all are gone. The lone trumpet playing the The Last Post is intensely moving.

The Agnus Dei and Sanctus begin an ascent from the terrifying pit of war until hope returns with Now The Guns have Stopped and Better is Peace.

The choir, at its best, with drums, trumpets and organ, captured everything in Jenkins’ very moving composition. The Armed Man brought a performance from the choir that was quite superb and fully justified the very prolonged applause of the large and appreciative and audience.

KM 10/11/2014