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Karl Jenkins’s The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace celebrated a remarkable 2000 performances, confirming its status as the most frequently programmed new classical work for choir and orchestra of recent decades

On 3 July Karl Jenkins conducted the landmark 2000th performance of The Armed Man at the Royal Albert Hall in London, in a concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Choral Society.

As well as the hour-long original with full orchestra, the work is available in the composer’s version for ensemble, a choral suite with orchestra and full-length arrangements for concert band (Martin Ellerby) and brass band (Duncan Gibbs and Andrew Wainwright).

Commissioned by the Royal Armouries Museum as part of the millennium celebrations, The Armed Man was given its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall on 15 April 2000 and rapidly entered the repertoire of choral groups worldwide. The work is now performed twice a week on average and The Armed Man CD has been a fixture of classical charts ever since it was released in 2001.

It is this album that Warner Classics has re-issued in a special edition CD+DVD set, numbered and strictly limited to 2000 copies. Released on 1 July, the collector’s item includes the complete original recording of The Armed Man together with a DVD concert performance filmed live at St David’s Hall, Cardiff. Also included is For the Fallen: In Memoriam Alfryn Jenkins, a setting of Laurence Binyon’s poignant World War I poem described by Jenkins as a companion piece to The Armed Man.

Karl Jenkins said, "When I started the latest phase of my career with Adiemus in 1995 and then The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace for the millennium, it was inconceivable, then, as to where this would lead. The Armed Man developed a core of supporters for a couple of years, but then burgeoned on a global scale. It is with incredible pride, and no small degree of disbelief and humility, that we celebrate the 2000th performance on July 3rd at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Choral Society and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Warner Classics is releasing a special limited edition of 2000 CDs, marking each performance. I have conducted only a fraction of these performances, but there have been some memorable occasions where I have witnessed how my music can move and unite performers and audiences, such as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in New York. The message of peace and tolerance, which I originally conceived in the wake of the war in Kosovo, has proved to be one that people find universal. In the years since the Royal Albert Hall premiere, performances have taken place on all habitable continents. Sadly, there are no fewer wars in the world today than when I wrote The Armed Man, yet I continue to hope that performances will inspire reflection and provide solace."

As well as The Armed Man, the Royal Albert Hall programme also included For the Fallen, Lament for the Valley and favourite excerpts from Requiem, Stabat Mater and the Euphonium Concerto. Karl Jenkins has recently completed a new work for baritone, soprano, choir and orchestra, Cantata Memoria, to be premiered at the Wales Millennium Centre on 8 October 2016 with Bryn Terfel, Elin Manahan Thomas and the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, conducted by the composer.

Order the special edition of The Armed Man from Amazon Music: http://amzn.to/21hJ3Pg 

>  Further information on Work: The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (full orchestra version)

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