Comrades In Arms
With its talk of “battling to death”, “our swords unsheathing” and the like, Comrades in Arms can be a bit disturbing to some and slightly comical to the present younger generation but this song was, nevertheless, part our programme for the Festival of Remembrance ( Mansfield Palace Theatre – 30 October 2016 ).
The song was the very first piece performed in public by the original Mansfield Orpheus ( forerunner of the Mansfield & District MVC) way back in 1931 and it has been a fixture of the male voice choir of the repertoire for many years. Actually written approximately a hundred years before that it dates to a period when nineteenth century romantic and political nationalism were in full sway. Many of the ideas which inspired that movement originated during the French Revolution and Comrades in Arms was written by a Frenchman, Adolphe Adam ( 1802-1856) who was also the composer of the Christmastime favourite O Holy Night. That world was, in many ways, much different to our own in the early part of the 21st century.
However there are sentiments expressed in this piece that we can appreciate still and we sang, not to celebrate the glory of war, but to remember those who were “true and brave” as they followed the call through love of country. They are forever Comrades in Arms and we saluted them in our own little way.