Author Archives: Lesley Peatfield

YMS at CASTLE HOWARD PROMS

York Musical Society enjoying the experience of singing with Lesley Garrett, Geraint Dodd, directed by Stephen Bell and accompanied by the London Gala Orchestra.

We think that was our biggest audience so far of between 5 and 6 thousand people.

photo by Allan Harris.

Review of our recent ‘Celebrate Christmas’ concert.

York Press Review: York Musical Society, Celebrate Christmas,

St Lawrence’s Parish Church, York, December 9th 2017.

A large audience gathered last Saturday afternoon to enjoy York Musical Society’s Christmas concert that included extracts from Messiah and a reworking by conductor Richard Shephard of Corelli’s Christmas concerto for accompanied voices.

Around these two works were placed carols for the choir and seasonal numbers arranged for brass quintet or organ. The brass bonbons were neatly executed by the York Brass Quintet, with some particularly deft tuba work.

The choir’s usual conductor, David Pipe, was on the church’s electronic organ for the afternoon and gave us versions of Walking In The Air and Leroy Anderson’s ever-popular Sleigh Ride: here Pipe registered the music with great wit, using the tremulant to telling effect. He also accompanied the choir with sensitivity throughout the programme.

York Musical Society is a large choir that has a good balance between the four voice parts and a pleasing unanimity in its vocal delivery. The excerpts from Messiah were sung carefully and well, benefiting, no doubt, from the relatively stately speeds at which they were taken. Diction was clear, but perhaps a greater sense of joy and excitement from both choir and tenor soloist might have brought these wonderful Christmas words more vividly to life.

The Shephard-Corelli concerto is a delightful conceit: setting the final Pastorale to the words of Angels From The Realms Of Glory is an especially inspired decision, but the whole sequence of movements was evidently relished by the singers. Among the carols, Away In A Manger (to the minor key Normandy tune) showed off the ladies’ voices, both in the sopranos’ phrasing of the melody and in the altos’ evident enjoyment of their momentary clashing notes.

A lovely blend from the men came to the fore in Willcocks’ ebullient arrangement of the Sussex Carol. The audience joined in with Hark The Herald and after the final choral Christmas greetings we went out into the gloaming inwardly warmed and uplifted.
Review by Alasdair Jamieson

November 2017

After the excitement of our recent concert at York Barbican we are straight back into rehearsals for our Christmas concert. This will be held at the St Lawrence Parish Church on Saturday the 9th of December at 4pm. A wonderful way to get you in the Christmas mood.

Review – Simple Gifts York Barbican 28th October 2017

Review: York Musical Society Choir & Orchestra; York Barbican, October 28
Martin Dreyer
Baritone John Holland-Avery

THERE’S nothing like a good wallow in folk music. Those songs and dances that are in our blood need to be allowed to surface occasionally. So last Saturday’s programme of Vaughan Williams, Holst and Rutter, with some chirpy Americana from Copland for good measure, was just what the doctor ordered.

After more than a century of struggling with York Minster’s slippery acoustic, York Musical Society (YMS) has now appeared twice at the Barbican. Let us hope the move becomes permanent, large sacred works aside. Sightlines, acoustic, warmth, comfort, refreshments are all vastly better there. It lacks only an organ.

Both choir and orchestra sounded more relaxed here. Weighing in at exactly 100 voices, the choir showed a new level of commitment, spurred by David Pipe’s decisive baton. Words were better projected, too. Only in some mildly dicey sections of three of Holst’s Hymns from the Rig Veda did diction falter. The early sense of mystery yielded to a beautifully lyrical vision of paradise; its finale was underwhelming but the brass fanfare compensated brilliantly.

The evening, honouring Francis Jackson’s 100th birthday, opened briskly with Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite and later reverted to his Fantasia on Greensleeves, in which flute and harp solos were succulent. John Holland-Avery brought a witty baritone to the Copland arrangements.

Deft mood changes marked Rutter’s cycle The Sprig Of Thyme, where The Willow Tree and Afton Water were especially poignant, with wry touches throughout from the woodwind principals.

Simple Gifts Review

Dr Francis Jackson attended our concert dedicated to his 100th birthday celebrations. He is shown here with David Pipe and Richard Shephard. 

September 2017

We are now taking bookings for the ever popular Choral Workshop which is themed around Famous Operatic Choruses.

There is a section under the Concerts and Events tab, or go straight to the Eventbrite booking page via this link.

Book early as this is a very popular event and often sells out.