Season’s greetings! Christmas is a time for giving and for sharing special moments with family and friends. Be they children or parents, best friends or acquaintances, inquisitive newcomers or well-versed connoisseurs – Naxos has a perfect gift for each and every one of them!
Don’t forget to also check out our new Christmas releases, including a collection of carols by Bob Chilcott, and the Musical Advent Calendar app which offers over 1 hour of free music!
Bob Chilcott has been described by The Observer as ‘a contemporary hero of British Choral Music’, and his music is commissioned and sung by choirs throughout the world. His Christmas pieces, a number of which are heard here in première recordings, reveal his enthusiasm for recently written texts, to which he responds with acute verbal sensitivity. Commotio is one of the UK’s foremost chamber choirs, hailing from Oxford, where they have performed choral music of the 20th and 21st centuries since 1999.
The Vasari Singers’ annual carol concerts always provide a warming blend of traditional favourites and less well-known music from all periods and styles. Here, joyous and masterful 16th-century polyphony sits alongside eternally popular Victorian carols, and exquisitely crafted settings by Howells and Walford Davies join works as recent as Gabriel Jackson’s The Christ-child. Bob Chilcott magically superimposes traditional carols with entrancing new material, and no Vasari Christmas would be complete without some close harmony Swingle singing. The Vasari Singers have also recorded Gabriel Jackson’s Requiem (8.573049).
The Christmas net is cast wide in this captivating collection of seasonal music. John Fox has crafted a delightful Carol Fantasia. Bryan Kelly’s Scrooge is an action-packed Dickens compression, brought to visceral life by esteemed actor Simon Callow, who also narrates Philip Lane’s Another Night Before Christmas, an update by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy of the classic poem. Lane’s Old Christmas Music is expressively rich, and spans the centuries. Smaller pieces from Liszt, orchestrated by Gordon Jacob, Rebikov and more recent works, complete a delightful selection.
The richly fascinating history of the Christmas carol spans some nine centuries, from the 12th Century until today, bringing together courtly and popular words and music to contemplate and praise the Christ child. Acclaimed by The Guardian as ‘poignantly expressive’, soprano Monica Whicher joins one of the world’s foremost harp virtuosos and former Principal Harpist with the Toronto Symphony, Judy Loman, to interpret carols both old and new, beloved and unfamiliar, many in Ms Loman’s expert arrangements.
Handel’s most popular and joyous oratorio, a work of unfailing melodic invention and dramatic expressiveness, has become almost a British national institution, regularly performed by all manner of choirs and orchestras. This new recording provides the only modern re-construction of Handel’s unique London performances in 1751, when he used boy treble voices not only for the choruses but for the arias as well. It is both a celebration of the British chapel choir tradition and a window onto a particular time and place in the history of Handel’s own performances of his masterpiece.
This new sequence of Christmas carols was written in 2007 by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and composer Sasha Johnson Manning, and premièred in the same year. The Manchester Carols re-tell the Christmas Story for the 21st Century, celebrating a child’s birth and all that child was to become: a man who lived by a humble, selfless creed, championing the marginalised in a society which was, as it is now, fraught with political tensions. These carols are for everybody, the believer and the non-believer, people of other faiths and everyone wishing to join in the Christmas celebrations.
Admired for the sheer beauty of his meditative and mystical music, John Tavener writes of his Ex Maria Virgine, which was dedicated to HRH the Prince of Wales and HRH the Duchess of Cornwall in joyful celebration of their marriage: “I have set both familiar and less well known texts, and linked them with an expanding and contracting phrase ‘Ex Maria Virgine’. This refers to Mary the Mother of God—‘The Eternal Feminine’—and should be sung with great radiance and femininity.” The other, mainly unaccompanied, works reveal Tavener’s response to various poetic texts that also praise the Virgin Mary.
Highlight Releases - 2nd half of 2013
Still looking for more choices? Check out
the complete listings of Naxos Boxed Sets
Blu-ray Audio Discs
Perhaps you would prefer a gift that will last through the year. Why not take out a gift subscription to naxos.com, Naxos Music Library or Naxos Web Radio? Read more