Monday, March 28, 2011

The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace

Today the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans sang the Armed Man: A Mass for Peace at the Holy Names Cathedral at Loyola University. The intensity of the piece kept hitting me as I heard it from the ears of a new audience. I got goosebumps when we sang the last line of Torches, and I was so happy to sing Better is Peace, as if we'd actually been through the war and it was finally over. I kept watching the people in the pews and wondering what they thought of the wars being fought now, and how much potential we had to make the end of our piece a reality. There's a question to keep pondering, in the meantime, check out the mass:

The Armed Man (medieval popular song)
The armed man is to be feared;
We must all protect ourselves with an iron coat of mail!

Call to Prayers (Adhaan)
God is Great
I bear witness that there is no God but the One God
I bear Witness that Mohammad is the Messenger of God
Make haste towards prayer
Make haste towards salvation
God is Great
There is no God but the One God

Kyrie (Catholic mass)
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Save Me from Bloody Men (Psalm 59)
Be merciful unto me, O God.
For man would swallow me up.
He fighting daily oppresseth me.
Mine enemies would daily swallow me up.
For they be many that fight against me.
O thou most high.
Defend me from them that rise up against me.
Deliver me from the workers of iniquity,
And save me from bloody men.

Sanctus (Catholic mass)
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Sabaoth!
Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory--Hosanna in the highest!

Hymn Before Action (Rudyard Kipling)
The earth is full of anger, The seas are dark with wrath,
The Nations in their harness Go up against out path:
Ere yet we loose the legions Ere yet we draw the blade,
Jehovah of the Thunders, Lord God of Battles, aid!

High lust and fro-ward bearing, Proud heart, rebellious brow
Deaf ear and soul uncaring, We seek They mercy now!
The sinner that forswore Thee, The fool that pssed thee by,
Our times are known before Thee, Lord grant us strength to die!

Charge! (John Dreyden/Jonathan Swift)
The trumpets loud Clangor Excites us to Arms, excites us to Arms,
With shrill notes of anger and mortal alarms, of anger and mortal alarms
How blest is he who for his country dies, who for his country dies?
The double, double beat of the thundering drum,
Cries Hark! The foes come. Hark! The foes come,
Charge 'tis, too late, too late to retreat,

Angry Flames (Toge Sankichi)
Pushing up through smoke
From a world half darkened by overhanging cloud,
The shroud that mushroomed out
And struck the dome of the sky,
Black, red, blue, Dance in the air,
Scatter glittering sparks already tower OVER THE WHOLE CITY.
Quivering like seaweed
The mass of flames spurts forward.
Popping up in the dense smoke,
Crawling out
Wreathed in fire,
Countless human beings on all FOURS
In a heap of embers that erupt and subside,
Hair rent,
Rigid in DEATH
There smolders a curse.

Torches (The Mahabharata)
The animals scattered in all direcgtions,
Screaming terrible screams.
Many were burning, others were butnt,
All were shattered and scattered mindlessly,
Their eyes bulging,
Some hugged their sons,
Others their fathers and mothers,
Unable to let them go,
And so they died.
Others leapt up in their thousands, faces disfigured
And were consumed by the fire,
Everywhere were bodies sqirming on the ground,
Wings, eyes and paws all burning,
They breathed their last as living torches.

Agnus Dei (Catholic mass)
Lamb of God, who taest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us; Grant us peace.

Now the Guns Have Stopped (Guy Wilson)
Silent, so silent, now,
Now the guns have stopped.
I have survived all,
I who knew I would not.
But now you are not here.
I shall go home, alone;
And must try to live life as before
And hide my grief
For you, my dearest friend,
Who should be with me now,
Not cold, too soon,
And in your grave,

Benedictus (Catholic mass)
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosannah in the highest.

Better is Peace (Mallory/Anon/Tennyson/Revelations 21:4)
Better is peace than always war,
And better is peace than evermore war.

The armed man is to be feared;
We must all protect ourselves with an iron coat of mail!

Ring out the thousand wars of old.
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring happy bells across the snow.
The year is going, let him go,

Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valient man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand.
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
The year is going, let him go,
Ring out the false, ring in the true!

God shall wipe away all tears
And there shall be no more death,
Neither sorrow not crying,
Neither shall there be anymore pain.
Praise the Lord.