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Although originally written to be staged, on this occasion the cantata will be performed as a choral piece, with soloists, accompanied by two pianos and an assortment of percussion.
The songs tell of the fickleness of fortune and wealth, the nature of life, the joy of Spring and the pleasures of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust. Much of the work is based on the turning Wheel of Fortune, beginning with the exciting ‘O Fortuna’, made popular by the memorable surfing advert for Old Spice aftershave. The music has since been used in hundreds of films and adverts.
The songs were originally based on 24 medieval secular poems discovered in Beuren in Bavaria in 1803, and they are sung in a mix of Latin, German and medieval French. Conducted by Principal Conductor, David Pipe, York Musical Society draws its members from towns and villages around the region. The Choir normally performs sacred works, often in the dramatic surroundings of York Minster, but on this occasion they will enter into this unfamiliar secular field with gusto. To complement this work, there will be two popular pieces by Brahms. His beautiful Sacred Song, Geistliches Lied, though written early in Brahms’ career, shows amazing virtuosity in the double canon writing. Then the light-hearted Gypsy Songs, Zigeunerlieder, for soprano, alto, tenor and bass soloists, will complete the programme. The four soloists for this concert are soprano Kirstie Hopkins, mezzo-soprano Kate Symonds-Joy, tenor Greg Tassell and baritone Njabulo Madlala. The pianists are Polly Sharpe and Jakob Fichert.