You get the feeling that Sir Karl Jenkins is somewhat amused at the idea of his forthcoming appearance in Manchester being billed as part of an anniversary tour.

The show next Sunday at the Bridgewater Hall marks the end of a series of dates which have coincided with the composer and conductor’s 80th birthday.

Bury Times: Sir Karl Jenkins (Picture: Rhys Frampton)

“Actually I usually tour every 18 months,” he said. “It just so happens that it coincides with a big birthday; but birthday or not I’d be touring at this time anyway.

“But when you have a birthday of significance it becomes a birthday year, it’s a bit like royalty,” he said with a chuckle.

Sir Karl is one of our greatest living composers; a man who is recognised for bringing orchestral and choral music to mass audiences. His mass The Armed Man has spent more than 1,000 weeks on the UK album chart since it was recorded to mark a new Millennium.

His most recent work One World which he first performed last year deals with his concerns for the planet.

Both The Armed Man and One World will form part of his concert in Manchester with the Manchester Concert Orchestra and the Manchester Chorale.

Bury Times: Sir Karl Jenkins conducting One World                                                                                   (Picture: Oliver Erenyi)

He takes a practical approach to putting together a programme for a concert performance.

“Because my music is not subsidised and the costs can be very high when you have an orchestra involved,” he said, “we rely on remuneration via the paying customers.

“So when you discuss a tour the promoter will say we have to do The Armed Man and pieces such as Palladio and Adiemus which people know and enjoy.

“I fully understand that and I have also been able to include an abridged version of One World into the performance. It has been interesting to work around the parameters of reducing a piece without it being obvious.

“By taking a few bars out here and there the transition has been seamless. Even people who know recording well wouldn’t know there are bits missing.”

Some composers, you suspect, might be precious about their work and refuse to adapt it to fit the demands of a performance. But Sir Karl isn’t just some composer.

A world-renowned talent he clearly still loves his work and a mischievous twinkle isn’t far from his eye.

Bury Times: Sir Karl Jenkins                                                                                    (Picture: Rhys Frampton)

“I perhaps should have tweaked The Armed Man,” he says with a grin. “There are certain passages which I could have done slightly differently when it came to the orchestration. There’s one section involving some very low notes for the bassoon players. Now every musician should be able to play them but I know it does present problems.

“And I know that many cello player regard the solo in Benedictus as a horror piece. I know of one occasion when the orchestra was asked if anyone would volunteer to play it.”

Sir Karl agrees that his main aim with whatever piece he is working on is to make an emotional connection to the listener.

“One critic said that my music was emotionally manipulative,” he said. “I took that to be a real compliment although I’m pretty sure that’s not what he was intending. But historically, that’s what great music has always done and continues to do - move people.

“I don’t try and dumb down my music so that people will enjoy it. I use my craft and my experience and I’m fortunate that what I produce is something people enjoy.”

In most instances for Sir Karl, the music is a means of putting a point across.

There’s no better example of that than The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace.

“When I wrote Armed Man the aim of commissioners at Classic FM was for a piece for a new Millennium that hoped for better future,” he said.

“That didn’t happen of course. Here we are almost a quarter of the way through century and nothing has changed,” he added ruefully. “When Armed Man was written it was war in the Balkans that was in the news. If I was writing it now, the same scenario would apply to the Ukraine or the Middle East.

Bury Times: Karl Jenkins conducting The Armed Man (Picture: David WIlliams)

“I genuinely do believe that music has the power to affect people but politically I don’t know how influential it can be really. But the one good thing about music being popular is that it does reach a lot of people and I deal in universal themes.

“I get a lot of messages from people who have been helped by my music through difficult times and I find that very humbling.”

Sir Karl Jenkins 80th Birthday Concert, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Sunday, April 14. Details from