Sir Karl Jenkins performing his 80th Birthday Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Saturday 6th April 2024.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

You would like to think that most 80 year olds celebrate their birthday with some balloons and a cake but not Sir Karl Jenkins. He is embarking upon a six date tour of the UK which saw him drop in at the Royal Concert Hall on Saturday as part of his 80th Birthday Celebrations.

Along with the Manchester Concert Orchestra, the twenty five piece Canzonetta Choir and soprano Katherine Rudge, he conducted The Armed Man and other favourite pieces including Palladio, Adieumus and extracts from his new hit album, One World.

Sir Karl Jenkins, a prolific and celebrated composer was given a joyous and heartfelt welcome as he entertained the eager but respectful audience early, explaining that he wanted to make sure that they would all be able to get home whilst it was still light. That didn’t stop him though from grabbing their attention for in excess of two hours.

With his music being partly composed and partly produced, his sense of harmony gives him the ability to lift his music. With his back to this enraptured audience so that he can be masterful in his conducting, he opened with Palladio and the critically acclaimed Adiemus.

With the audience so quiet that you could hear a pin drop, he went on to his latest offering One World which had been co-commissioned by The World Orchestra For Peace and The World Choir For Peace, that saw the Canzonetta choir take advantage of the choir stalls as they looked out over the audience.

It was not long before the musicians turned their hand to The Armed Man, one of Jenkins’ most popular works. There was a simple but poignant Kyrie and Hymn Before Action with its unapologetic romanticism was simply gorgeous.

But it was the penultimate movement, Benedictus that was the highlight of the afternoon as the cello soloist really excelled and with the strings playing a supporting role, they consistently produced a beautiful sound.

Jenkins’ talent and facility as a composer together with his commitment to music is outstanding and it left the audience wondering just where his creativity will take him next.