works in this concert are both pleas for peace. Donald Swann’s Requiem for the Living (1971) is a
setting of C Day Lewis’s 1962 poem, which uses the structure, but not the text,
of the Requiem Mass to make a vivid plea to abolish nuclear weapons and respect
the beauty of the world, which a nuclear holocaust would destroy.
The Armed Man
subtitled A Mass for Peace and
dedicated to victims of the Kosovo crisis, was commissioned by
the Royal Armouries Museum to mark the museum's move from London to
Leeds.It intersperses movements
from Catholic Mass, with the fifteenth century French folk song L’homme armé and texts selected by
Guy Wilson, then Master of the museum, from other religious, literary and
historical sources, including the Islamic call to prayer, the Bible,
the Mahabharata and works by Kipling, Mallory, Tennyson, Swift,
Dryden, Wilson himself and Sankichi Toge, a
survivor the Hiroshima bombing, who later died of leukaemia.