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A Double First For York Choir

On 11 June 2016 York Musical Society (YMS) will mark its 140th anniversary with two ‘firsts’. For the first time, the choir will be singing in the York Barbican, instead of in its traditional home of York Minster. And YMS will for the first time perform Carmina Burana, a work which celebrates the joys of spring, love and drinking.

Carmina Burana is an iconic scenic cantata for mixed choir, children’s choir and three soloists. YMS will perform it in the composer’s own arrangement for two pianos and a team of six percussionists. Between them, the percussionists will manage tubular bells, a hand drum, a snare drum, a bass drum, timpani, a gong, antique cymbals, four crash and suspended cymbals, three glockenspiels, a xylophone, castanets, a rattle, sleighbells… and a triangle.

The music was written in the 1930s by German composer Carl Orff as a setting for a group of medieval poems, many of which are believed to have been written by wandering scholars. It has been popular since it was first performed in 1937 and will be well known to many, not least from its use in films including Excalibur, Speed, and The Doors.

Conductor David Pipe says:

Carmina Burana is an exciting work full of passion, lively melodies, rhythm and fun. Hearing a live performance from such a large chorus is a rare opportunity, the vitality of which just cannot be matched by a recording. We’re looking forward to performing it in the ideal setting of the Barbican.

The programme will also include two works by Brahms, Gypsy Songs (Ziegeunerlieder) and Sacred Song (Geistliches Lied), for which a fourth soloist will join the choir.