The Armed Man

Discussion in ' User Reviews' started by Brian Bowen, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    This head line caught my eye in today's "Times":
    What makes Karl Jenkins the Marmite man of music?
    Is the best-selling contemporary composer a shallow manipulator? Yes, says a critic. No, argues the head of Classic FM.

    With the popularity in brass band circles of the "Benedictus" from The Armed Man some of you may be interested in the article. Its predictably polarizing.
  2. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    I wish I had the ability and creativity to write these "clubbable tunes and saccharine harmonies". Whatever the genesis of the ideas, I think it's great music.
  3. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    We've played The Armed Man at several concerts and I personally think it's got some lovely music in it, particularly the Angus Dei. In honesty it's not particularly ground-breaking so it won't appeal to those that believe everything created must be new and fresh, however it is accessible to the majority rather than the elite and surely that's a good thing if it's going to generate fresh interest into classical music.
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I confess that I am by no means a fan of all of Karl Jenkins' music, particularly some of the "Adiemus" releases, but I find the "Mass for Peace" very moving. I bought the original recording having heard Cory play a number of extracts, including David Child's moving "Benedictus". Since making that purchase, I reckon I have probably played that recording more than any other in my collection, either as a whole or individual movements.

    The recent brass recording for "Brass Band Aid" I found equally moving, and would recommend it very strongly:

    It strikes me that some of the objections to Karl Jenkins' music stem from the fact that it is so accessible and listener-friendly, and it reminds me of some of the opposition that composers such as George Lloyd and Malcolm Arnold have faced at various times. (Couple that with a bit of jealousy that he does have an effective publicity machine behind him.)
  5. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    Thats the trouble with some of the eleitist people out there who think that the only way to produce an original new piece of music is to make it as unaccessable as possible. Ok I know there are pieces of music that contradict this but for overall impact of serious music making, I think its a very good situation to be in as regards acessability with the serious kind of music.
  6. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    When you are at the top, you get shot at a lot. Actually, in someways it is a compliment.

    Jenkins with Cory and Cantorion and their new album "Land of Ours" is really a wonderful CD.

    My wife and I both have music degrees. I asked her to listen to the CD and I haven't seen it since.

    Classical Music critics are snobbish, no doubt about it. I doubt Mr. Jenkins is losing much sleep over a boorish review.

    I saw a composer direct the debut of his new piece. 1/10 the talent of Jenkins. It up holds brassbandmaestro's point of accessibility. The piece had many 5/8, 9/8 and even a 13/8 bar. During those points, the COMPOSER quit conducting. He couldn't beat 13 beats. If you cannot direct it, well, it is not very accessible. And it was not that good.

  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    A piece can have 13/8 in it and still be cheesy. For example, Bourgeois' 'Serenade'.

    'The Armed Man' bores me, I'm afraid. Not enough variety within movements and insufficient stylistic differences between movements, although there are some nice sections. Mr Cut'n'Paste was an unacknowledged creative contributor, I think...
  8. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I think the "Marmite" comment is probably spot on. I'm not keen, personally. As a response to war it doesn't have the same emotional depth as something like Britten's War Requiem or Tippett's A Child of Our Time, and the Adiemus stuff was basically 60 second advertising jingles stretched out to fill a CD.

    All the same, it can't be denied that he knows what the public wants to listen to, and provides it. He has an gift for "showmanship" that gives his music an immediate appeal. It's tuneful, easy to listen to and doesn't make huge emotional or mental demands of the listener.

    I also think Peter's right that at least part of the critical hostility to Jenkins' music from "the establishment" is petty jealousy towards commercial success. What they forget is that the dosh that Jenkins' brings in to Boosey & Hawkes and the various orchestras who fill concert halls playing his stuff will pay for another year of the more uncompromising contemporary commissions that critics (and the Arts Council) love to see.
  9. Bari2

    Bari2 New Member

    This is pretty much true of most of the music played on Classic FM IMHO. It's not what I always want to hear, but It's obvious that others do.

    KJ certainly doesn't deserve some of the criticism he gets, because some of his writing (e.g. the Benedictus from The Armed Man) is beautiful music.
  10. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    And CFM, unlike Radio 3, have a commercial imperative. If they play stuff people don't want to listen to (or that only a small minority listen to) they go bust. Which is why they'll only play brass band music if it's got some other, commercially viable association, like Jenkins with Cory, or maybe even Michael Nyman with Wingates.
  11. Bari2

    Bari2 New Member

    Which is a great shame. A few weeks ago, I heard a band that was struggling to get new players, perform a hymn tune live on Radio 5. It was far from being the standard of our best bands, but people texted the programme to say how much they enjoyed it and also how it bought back memories.

    If a simple tune could make this impression, imagine how much people would enjoy good brass band music played well on Classic FM. It could do a lot to help the BB movement, and could possible get more people playing brass instruments, which in the long term would hopefully provide more players for bands that are finding it difficult to get players.

    I always feel brass is the poor relation when it comes to representataion on Classic FM. There is far more music played on there by Strings, Keyboard and Woodwind.
  12. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Search out my previous posts on Classic FM and their demographic.

    Summary: Brass Bands don't fit into their audience, and as Andy's said they're a commercial station.
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Ouch! Makes you wonder if bands still exist publicly where they live.
  14. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    There are an estimated 50,000 internet radio stations. Many illegal for the most part but if you webhosting company is in a small country and has 20 listeners some may not care.

    In the USA, in 1999, Congress (which has believed the internet should be "open" as much as possible) passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which allow US citizens to have a LEGAL radio station as they pay small royalties.

    Live365 is the largest of the legal broadcasting companies.

    Now why the intro? My radio station ranks in the top 500 on Live365. Many believe that means I probably rank in the top 500 in the world. And I am the only station playing Brass Bands 24/7.

    It is great music. Sure, the classical world may want a symphony or a chamber orchestra. But when it comes to listening, Brass Bands draws a nice audience. I get lots of listeners from Switzerland, Norway, and Japan (and plenty of the English speaking countries).

    This was probably going a long way to make a small point. While we seem to be headed into another worldwide recession, which will affect bands along with lots of things in life - but people listen to music and have during wars, recessions and many other "bad times." Sure a few bands may not make it.

    But by the same token, you can see growth in other nations. Many more bands in the US and Canada than just a few years ago. Same can be said for the Far East.