Welsh composer who went viral at coronation breaks UK classical chart records
Renowned Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins has broken chart records by reaching more than 1,000 weeks in the UK Official Classical Artist Albums Chart.
The milestone was reached by Sir Karl’s popular mass The Armed Man – commissioned in 1999 by the Royal Armouries to mark the millennium.
It comes after the composer recently went viral at the King’s coronation when his striking appearance caught the attention of the public.
It was jokingly suggested in the media and online that Sir Karl, with his prominent moustache and glasses, was the Duchess of Sussex – who did not attend the ceremony – in heavy disguise.
Sir Karl has said he was amused by the suggestions, having had facial hair since the age of 18, and that people are now offering to buy him drinks because of it.
His work Tros Y Garreg, an arrangement of a Welsh folk song drawn from his harp concerto Over The Stone, was performed as part of the music programme preceding the coronation service.
The work was commissioned by Charles, then Prince of Wales, and its inclusion was in recognition of the King’s longstanding and deeply held relationship and affiliation with Wales.
The arrangement features on The Official Coronation Album, which was recorded live and released on the same day as the coronation, via Decca Records.
This week The Armed Man appeared in the UK Official Classical Artist Albums Chart for the 1,000th week.
Also known as the Mass for Peace, it is an oratorio based on the 15th century French poem L’homme arme and is a reflection on the horror of war and its consequences.
The world premiere of The Armed Man took place in 2000 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, conducted by Sir Karl himself – and has gone on to receive almost 3,000 performances worldwide.
Sir Karl said: “When I wrote The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace in 1999, little did I imagine that in 2023 we would be celebrating 1,000 weeks in the UK classical chart and nearly 3,000 performances worldwide.
“I am deeply honoured that it has touched so many people over the years; thank you to the Royal Armouries and Classic FM who commissioned me to write it, and to all those who have performed it and listened to my recording.
“I’m sad to say there has been no let-up in war and conflict since I dedicated the piece to the victims of Kosovo, but we continue to make music in remembrance of those who have perished and in the hope that humanity can find a way to heal.”
On Friday Sir Karl also released the first single from forthcoming new work One World, commissioned by the World Choir for Peace – entitled Sakura, Spring Has Come.
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He wrote ‘Palladio’ which all the musical Welsh children (including mine) played at some point – Henffych!