Adiemus and The Armed Man

22/11/2017 16:25

We are just recovering after our second concert with Sir Karl Jenkins. A 2-hour rehearsal followed by a 2-hour concert is very wearing – not so much on the voice, but on the knees. The choir gets to sing in most of the Symphonic Adiemus and The Armed Man, so are stood up for most of it. It’s not very seemly to loosen oneself with knee-bends in the middle of a concert hall, so we grin and bear it. But it’s worth it if you get a standing ovation from 2,400 people! And applause for the Manchester Chorale from Sir Karl himself.

Manchester's Bridgewater Hall was full up on Saturday as was the Birmingham Symphony Hall a month ago when we performed the same programme. Sir Karl’s music has a lot of followers and devotees. He is the most-performed living composer. You only have to listen to Classic FM to know that. He has consistently been the highest-placed living composer in Classic FM’s Hall of Fame.

Symphonic Adiemus was released and had its world premiere on 29th September in London.

Sir Karl Jenkins explains:
“Since 1995, when Adiemus first appeared with its unique blend of the classical and the ethnic, with my invented language for lyrics, I have been inundated with requests from choirs around the world for an Adiemus that, for the first time, included male voices as well as female. The idea of re-orchestrating a selection from the past led me to a new concept of increasing the forces across the board, making the whole sound massive and symphonic.”

We had to learn a new way of singing that is marked in the score as ‘tribal’. Swapping between tribal and classical singing, sometimes gradually, is a new skill for us ('ah ya do I eh, ah ya do I ah'). We definitely got it in the Manchester performance – a very South Sea Island sound.

We sang The Armed Man for probably the fourth time and it gets better every time. We were very together, especially for the ‘double, double beat of the thundering drum’ – and the Manchester Concert Orchestra’s percussionists increased the excitement.


And now, onward to the Christmas season with concerts in Manchester Cathedral, St Clement’s Church in Chorlton and three more Bridgewater Hall concerts in the final run up to Christmas.

Don’t miss the Singalong on Christmas Eve. Practice the actions for the Twelve Days of Christmas, at breakneck speed!


Our Musical Director


Jill Henderson-Wild is now into her thirteenth season with us.

Jill's biographical notes are in the People page.

Our Assistant Musical Director

Dave Robinson

See the People page for more details