Friday, November 10, 2017

Oratorio Society of Minnesota presents Better is Peace: The Music of Karl Jenkins

Ordway Events & Partnerships, Ordway Concert Hall

“Then spake Sir Launcelot . . . and I shall send a messenger unto my lord Arthur,
a treaty for to take; for better is peace than always war.”
Le Morte d’Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory (1485)

In observance of Veterans Day 2017, the Oratorio Society of Minnesota presents a program dedicated to the universal longing for world peace. Joining with the Oratorio Society Chorus and Orchestra will be the Prior Lake High School Concert Choir as part of the Oratorio Society’s Viva Coro! youth engagement program.

THE ARMED MAN: A Mass for Peace recently celebrated a remarkable 2000 performances worldwide, confirming its status as the most frequently programmed new classical work for choir and orchestra of recent decades. It is a powerful and compelling account of the descent into, and terrible consequences of, war. Dedicated to the victims of the Kosovo crisis, this work is a contemporary example of a mass based on the 15th century French song L’homme armé (The Armed Man). Although set within the framework of the Christian mass, only four of its thirteen movements are traditional Mass elements. The composer uses additional texts from the Qur’an, the Psalms, the Mahàbhàrata, Rudyard Kipling, and Lord Tennyson. This is a major choral work which recognizes what the preamble to the United Nations Charter calls “the scourge of war” as a universal tragedy.

THE PEACEMAKERS (selections), premiered in 2012, the work sets words of peace from iconic, world-changing figures such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, along with other inspirational quotations of Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer, Anne Frank and the Dalai Lama. One line from the Persian mystic poet Rumi sums up the ethos of the work: ‘All religions, all singing one song: Peace be with you’.

KARL JENKINS A recent survey shows that Welsh born composer Karl Jenkins is now the most performed living composer in the world. His recorded output has resulted in 17 gold and platinum discs, while his The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace has received over 2000 performances worldwide since its premiere in 2000. Jenkins’ music, drawn from rock, jazz and classical forms, transcends traditional boundaries, from the global crossover phenomenon Adiemus to his hugely popular settings of Requiem and Stabat Mater.

This performance is made possible in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.