I bought the National Youth Orchestra’s CD The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace as soon as it was on the shelves. Then I waited ten years before I managed to attend a live performance. That was in November last year (sung by EUMS).
Yesterday evening I attended another performance of the work, this time at Dunfermline Abbey and sung by the Abbey Choristers. I have to be honest here. The choir is fairly small. When I heard they were going to tackle this work I thought I’d misheard. Yes, Jenkins, Armed Man… that thing usually sung by a choir the size of a Cecil B DeMille cast. But surely they wouldn’t do the whole work? Surely they would do extracts? I’m glad I’m not a betting man because I would have lost. Miserably.
The other day I vowed never to use the word ‘stunning’ again. Luckily I don’t have to use it now, because it was used last night by the person thanking the choir (and small orchestra) at the end of the performance.
(How about ‘brilliant’? Am I allowed to use the word ‘brilliant’?)
It might not have crossed the minds of those present that the choir was sitting within easy haunting distance of Robert the Bruce. The brass cover of his tomb was right behind them and depicts, perhaps unsurprisingly, an armed man.
Arm’d man = man in armour
Robert the Bruce is also here, keeping an eye on Edinburgh. Read it through before you condemn me for muddling The Bruce with Mel Gibson. Or with Bob the Builder.