This work was written in 1981 for the first tour, the same year, by the Brass of Aquitaine & London. It was conceived after a visit to the famous medieval citadelle at Blaye on the Gironde Estuary. Whereas the combined imagery of the Medoc and the military suggests the great outdoors, the piece was intended for performance in the largest and most resonant of acoustics.
This is really a set of variations on one of the most popular themes in France throughout the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. Over 30 masses are known to have been based on the song L'Homme Arme, and possibly a
large number that have not survived. It has albo been the basis of many chansons, and although little of the original text survives, it is reasonable to assume that it dates back to the time of the troubadours and Crusades.
Written for the second tour of The Brass of Aquitaine and London in 1982, it utilises the military theme, partly for its own sake, and partly to reflect the deep-rapted bonds that cause the English and Aquitaines to view each other with a mixture of great warmth and the deepest suspicion!