Theatre & Opera Magazine

6 Classical Music Pieces to Commemorate 9/11 - #1 The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins

Posted on the 11 September 2011 by Pinkall @pinkall
I have had an amazing time presenting these six pieces, but today's is extra special.  This is one of my very most favorite pieces of music ever. It is one of only a  few pieces that I feel I must do or witness, before my time is up. The music is amazingly beautiful, and the story that it tells could not be more appropriate.  I hope you will also fall in love with this piece as I have!!  Please, I beg you, to listen to the whole piece, you will not regret it.  I have chosen many different groups from around the world performing the various movements..they are all spectacular.
The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace
by Karl Jenkins
How it was influenced by September 11:  This piece was finished in 2000 and originally composed to remember those effected by the Kosovo crisis.  Well, as fate would have it, the piece received its premier and the subsequent record was released to the world on the 10th of September 2001. What was to be a call to peace, remembering that the 20th century was the deadliest in human history, would become a haunting precursor to a day of terror.  It is one of the highest achievements of Ambient Music and certainly the most important piece and composer from Wales.  The name derives from L'homme arme (the armed man) mass settings from 15th century France.
What to listen for:  Besides the release of the music on September 10, 2001, it is filled with intriguing elements including an Islamic call to prayer, poems from one who witnessed the Hiroshima bombings, but the piece has a gracious healing power, overwhelming every musical sense.  It is a dream to listen to as a musician.  The first and last pieces are bookends of the simple "armed man" theme.  In between you move from the preparation for battle, to the battle itself, to the aftermath, leading to a conclusion filled with the most unbelievable healing sounds.  It contains the movements of the Catholic Mass with many famous English poems.
I sure hope you enjoy this as much as I do.  I hope this serves as a wonderful release of our collective emotions from the memories of that horrible day 10 years ago.
Part 1 - L'Homme Arme
L'homme, l'homme, l'homme armé,
L'homme armé
L'homme armé doibt on doubter, doibt on doubter.
On a fait partout crier,
Que chascun se viengne armer
D'un haubregon de fer.
The man, the man, the armed man,
The armed man
The armed man should be feared, should be feared.
Everywhere it has been proclaimed
That each man shall arm himself
With a coat of iron mail.

Part 2 - The Call to Prayer

Allahu Akbar
Ash-had al-la ilaha illa llahAsh-hadu anna Muħammadan rasulullahHayya 'ala-salahhHayya 'ala 'l-falahAs-salatu khayru min an-nawmAllāhu akbarLa ilaha illallah
God is GreatestI bear witness that there is no God except the One GodI bear witness that Muhammad is God's MessengerCome to salat (prayer, worship)Come to successSalat (prayer, worship) is better than sleepGod is GreatestThere is no god except the One God.

Part 3 - Kyrie
Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison; Kyrie eleison
Lord have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.

Part 4 - Save Me From Bloody Men
Be merciful unto me, oh God
For man would swallow me up.
The fighting day oppresseth me.
Mine enemies would daily swallow me up.
For they be many that fought against me, oh thou most high.
Defend me from them that rise up against me.
Deliver me from the workers of iniquity.
And save me from bloody men.

Part 5 - Sanctus
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth; pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua
Hosanna in excelsis
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts; Heaven and earth are full of Your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Part 6 - Hymn Before Action

The earth is full of anger,
The seas are dark with wrath,
The Nations in their harness
Go up against our path:
Ere yet we loose the legions—
Ere yet we draw the blade,
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, aid!
High lust and froward bearing,
Proud heart, rebellious brow—
Deaf ear and soul uncaring,
We seek Thy mercy now!
The sinner that forswore Thee,
The fool that passed Thee by,
Our times are known before Thee—
Lord, grant us strength to die!

Part 6 - Charge!
(John Dryden's A Song for St. Cecilia's Day)
The trumpet's loud clangor
Excites us to arms
With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms.
The double, double, double beat
Of the thundering drum
Cries, hark! the foes come:
Charge, charge! 'tis too late to retreat.

Part 8 - Angry Flames
(Poem by Togi Sankichi - Hiroshima survivor who died of radiation poisoning in 1953)
Pushing up through smoke from a world half-darkened by over-hanging cloud,
The shroud that mushroomed out and struck the dome of the sky – black, red, blue – dance in the air,
Merge – scatter glittering sparks – already tower over the whole city.
Quivering like seaweed, the mass of flames spurts forward, popping up in the dense smoke,
Crawling out, wreathed in fire, countless human beings on all fours in a heap of embers
That erupt and subside, hair rent, rigid in death, there smoulders a curse.

Part 9 - Torches
(6th Century Hindu Poem)
The animals scattered in all directions, screaming terrible screams.
Many were burning, others were burnt. All were shattered and scattered mindlessly,
their eyes bulging. Some hugged their sons, others their fathers and mothers,
Unable to let them go, and so they died.
Others leapt up in their thousands, faces disfigured, and were consumed by the fire.
Everywhere were bodies squirming on the ground: wings, eyes and paws all burning;
They breathed their last as living torches

Part 10 - Agnus Dei (the video makes no sense with the text)

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

Part 11 - Now the Guns Have Stopped
(poem by Guy Wilson, Master of the Royal Armouries)
Silent, so silent now, now the guns have stopped. I have survived all; I, who knew I would not.
But now you are not here. I shall go home alone and try to live life as before and hide my grief.
For you, my dearest friend, who should be with me now, not cold too soon in your grave, alone.

Part 12 - Benedictus
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord

Part 13 - Better is Peace
(excerpts from Sir Thomas Malory, A. Lord Tennyson, Rev. 24:1)
Better is peace than always war. And better is peace than evermore war.
Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free the larger heart, the kindlier hand.
Ring out the darkness of the land. Ring in the Christ that is to be.
God shall wipe away all tears, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying,
Neither shall there be any more pain. Praise the Lord!

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