“On Land and Sea”, November 2018

Sunday November 11th, 7:00 p.m.

RNCM Concert Hall, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9RD

We will present a specially themed concert in memory of the end of WW1, featuring Karl Jenkin’s  “The Armed Man”, “Songs of the Fleet” by Stanford, and “Fantasia on British Sea Songs” by Sir Henry Wood.
We will be joined as usual by our “resident” orchestra, the East Lancs Sinfonia and Dean Robinson (Bass Baritone).
Falling as it does on the actual Centenary of the Cessation of Hostilities, the programme will combine the theme of sadness for those who died or were wounded with that of thankfulness and celebration for the coming of peace.
Full of melodic and attractive tunes, this concert will be a rare treat for music lovers, and is likely to book up quickly, so don’t miss out!

Tickets at £15 (students £5, accompanied children £1) are available from:

  • Ticket secretary 0131 797 3583
  • RNCM Booking Office 0161 907 5555
  • Online at rncm.ac.uk
Concert Report
The concert successfully commemorated the centenary of the 1918 Armistice through a variety of emotions which were portrayed by the carefully selected choice of music. It was greatly appreciated by the audience.  Click here to view the concert programme which contains lots of information about the choir, the composer and the work, including the conductor’s approach to the performance.
Stuart Ferguson has kindly provided the following review which also appeared in the Oldham Chronicle:
An emotionally-charged triumph from the Oldham Choral Society

Sir Karl Jenkins is now the most-performed living composer, according to recent surveys and a BBC documentary.

His Mass for Peace – ‘The Armed Man’ – must surely be responsible for this.

Oldham Choral Society made it their major piece in their magnificent Armistice Centenary Concert ‘On Land and Sea’, performed in the newly-refurbished Concert Hall of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

The work was commissioned by the Royal Armouries as part of its commemoration of the Millennium and was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall on April 25, 2000.

It has been performed over 1,500 times in 20 different countries since then.

Oldham Choral Society moved straight into it with a line of bass singers marching in to the performance area to the beat of the snare drum.

We were there: right at the start, when young men scrambled to join up and proudly fight for King and Country not knowing they would be blown to smithereens in their millions as the War To End All Wars stretched to four years, three months and fourteen days.

This was not just a concert; it was far more than that.

It was a virtuoso performance that took us on a rollercoaster of emotions not only in words and music, but in movement and feelings.

When the Muezzin from a local Mosque, Hafiz Mizan, recited the Call To Prayers there was absolute stillness in the hall.

This spellbinding moment locked us all together across races and religions and became a wailing dirge in supplication for man’s inhumanity to man.

Another moment that brought tears to some was when the entire choir turned away from the audience, as if in private grief, when the Last Post was sounded.

The choir produced clear, understated singing, which, correctly for the occasion, was subdued at times, but very sweet.

All was charged with emotion and remembrance.

Musical Director and Conductor Nigel P. Wilkinson, who has completed 20 years’ service in these capacities with Oldham Choral Society, successfully melded together the choristers and the musicians of the East Lancs Sinfonia Orchestra into a cohesive whole that resonated with the mood of the day.

This was a magnificent, majestic and soul-touching experience and a wonderful and right tribute to commemorate the Centenary of the 1918 Armistice.

The second half of the evening’s performance heard Bass Baritone, Dean Robinson, solo with the choir and orchestra in presenting Sir Charles Villiers Stanford’s, ‘Songs of the Fleet’, and Sir Henry Wood’s ‘Fantasia on British Sea Songs’ to a greatly appreciative audience.

These wonderful, evocative, set pieces lifted us from the horrors of war but in no way detracted from the major work of Jenkin’s ‘Armed Man’.

Ending with an unexpected encore of Parry’s ‘Jerusalem’, this Armistice Centenary Concert will certainly be remembered. It was a triumph!

Armed Man Concert