Thank you for joining us for The Armed Man!

Read about the rest of our 43rd season and upcoming concerts…


Learn more – read Artistic Director Ethan Sperry’s program notes.

We’re excited to begin our season with a concert exploring themes of war and peace through choral music spanning over three centuries. Barber’s Agnus Dei and Carissimi’s Missa L’homme arme a 12 complement the Portland premiere of The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace by Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins. The Armed Man features the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and internationally renowned organist Jonas Nordwall.

A choral arrangement of his own well-known and well-loved Adagio for Strings, Barber’s Agnus Dei (1967) uses the Latin liturgical text which repeats “have mercy on us” and “grant us peace.” Agnus Dei sets the stage for the themes of war and peace explored throughout the concert. The captivating and cathartic piece will be familiar to most listeners, as both Agnus Dei and Adagio for Strings are frequently placed in in films and television shows.

We’ll also perform both the Sanctus and Agnus dei movements from Giacomo Carissimi’s Missa L’homme arme. With these excerpts, the choir will introduce the main themes—both musical and topical—of the concert’s titular work. “L’homme arme” is a French secular song from the Renaissance period whose text warns that “the armed man should be feared.” The memorable melody has been used as the musical foundation for many mass settings, including both Carissimi’s and Jenkins’. 

Finally, we will present the Portland premiere of The Armed Man by Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins. Subtitled “A Mass for Peace” and dedicated to the victims of the Kosovo crisis, this work expands upon the Ordinary of the Mass, adding nontraditional elements to create a rich and unique musical depiction of war and, ultimately, a hopeful wish for peace that crosses boundaries of time, borders, and cultures. Jenkins juxtaposes the well-known and often-quoted Renaissance folk song “l’homme arme” against prayers for peace from around the world: the Islamic call to prayer, excerpts from the Bible and the Mahabharata, and works by Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Hiroshima bombing survivor Sankichi Toge. ORS performs this beautiful cross-cultural mass with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and internationally renowned organist Jonas Nordwall.

The Armed Man

Saturday October 8th, 2016 at 3pm
Sunday October 9th, 2016 at 3pm

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Jonas Nordwall, organ 

First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson St, Portland


Sponsored by BizTek People, Inc. 

Supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust