York Minster cathedral has revealed the seasonal early music offerings available in 2013 as part of its music programme. March will see York Minster host ‘The Festival of Passions’, a new series of concerts to mark preparations for Holy Week, which will include performances of two of Bach’s Passions.

Bach’s Passions will appear at the opening and closing of the festival, with a performance of St Matthew Passion from the York Musical Society on 9 March and the Minster Choir performing St John Passion in German on 23 March.

Peter Moger, the cathedral’s precentor, said of the Passions festival: ‘This is the first time that York Minster has staged such an elaborate collection of Passion music in the run-up to Holy Week and, indeed, it will be the first time that the Minster Choir has ever performed the St John Passion in German, and accompanied by period instruments, so it will be a sublime and moving experience for everyone who attends’.

York Minster will also feature as part of the York Early Music Festival this summer, with performances from the cathedral’s archive, including extracts from the York Missal by the Minster Choir in July.

The year’s early music performances will be rounded off with Handel’s Messiah on 14 December. York Minster’s director of music, Robert Sharpe, says of 2013’s offerings: ‘We’ll be tackling some magnificent performances pieces, particularly J. S. Bach’s St John Passion and Handel’s Messiah, which promise to be real highlights in York, hopefully attracting music fans from much further afield to share the experience.’

www.yorkminster.org

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