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The Christian festival of Holy Week tells one of the most powerful and dramatic stories of all time. Culminating in Easter Day and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the events of the narrative have been recorded by composers for more than half a millennium. The resultant variety of styles in expression represents one of music history’s finest chapters. We hope you might find some new discovery to add to your personal favourites for this special season from the suggestions that follow.

Download our Easter catalogue here

Easter with Naxos. Music of the Passion of Christ.
BOND, V.: Instruments of Revelation / Frescoes and Ash / Leopold Bloom's Homecoming / Binary
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750)
St Matthew Passion

Georg Poplutz, Tenor (Evangelist)
Matthias Winckhler, Bass (Jesus)
Julia Kleiter and Jasmin Maria Hörner, Sopranos
Gerhild Romberger and Nohad Becker, Altos
Daniel Sans and Christian Rathgeber, Tenors
Christian Wagner and Daniel Ochoa, Basses
Bachchor Mainz • Bachorchester Mainz
Ralf Otto

Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion is widely recognised as one of the greatest masterpieces in Western sacred music. With its double orchestra and chorus this is a work of enormous proportions in every sense, and Bach was extremely resourceful in treading a fine line between creating the almost operatic spectacle valued by the secular authorities in Leipzig, and the elevated religious atmosphere sought by the clergy. This inspired mix of moving drama and theological discourse led Leonard Bernstein to declare that ‘there is nothing like it in all of music’.

‘Ralf Otto emphasises the emotion of the score without neglecting the almost dancing spirit of the music. All in all, this is a very contemplative interpretation with a number of first-class soloists.’
Listen to an extract from Part I:
Aria and Chorus: So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen -
Sind Blitze, sind Donner
World Premiere Recording
KROUSE, I.: Armenian Requiem
Ian KROUSE (b. 1956)
Armenian Requiem

Shoushik Barsoumian, Soprano • Garineh Avakian, Mezzo-soprano
Yeghishe Manucharyan, Tenor • Vladimir Chernov, Baritone
Ruben Harutyunyan, Duduk • Christoph Bull, Organ
VEM String Quartet • Tziatzan Children’s Choir
Lark Masters Singers • UCLA Philharmonia
Neal Stulberg

Composed to mark the centenary of the genocide of 1915, the Armenian Requiem is a large-scale sacred work structured around the liturgical chants encountered in requiem services appended to the traditional Armenian Mass. It is written in a form that, uniquely for the music of the country, is not based wholly on the model of the Latin Mass. Instead, taking the precedent of Britten’s War Requiem, Ian Krouse embeds poems as interludes, and his work – a poignant meditation on loss couched in a marriage of Western and Armenian forms – offers both conciliation and hope.

Listen to an extract from Part II:
Interlude IV, “Reqviyem”
St John Passion

Poplutz • Speer • Kleiter • Romberger
Sans • Winckhler • Bachchor Mainz
Bachorchester Mainz • Otto
‘Ralf Otto, his ensemble and his soloists give a very dramatic, almost operatic account of Bach’s
St John Passion.’
Pizzicato ★★★★
  Listen to an extract from Part I:
Aria: Ich folge dir gleichfalls mit freudigen Schritten
LASSO, O. de:
St Matthew Passion

Musica Ficta • Holten
‘Nielsen’s solemn delivery
[as the Evangelist] carries this recording superbly throughout.
His diction is immaculate and his intonation flawless.’
MusicWeb International
  Listen to an extract from
St Matthew Passion:
Expectans expectavi Dominum
St Luke Passion

Kłosińska • Kruszewski • Tesarowicz
Kolberger • Malanowicz • Warsaw Boys Choir • Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra • Wit
‘Antoni Wit, who studied with both Czyz and Penderecki, has earned high marks for his Naxos series of this composer's orchestral works, and now gives us a quite distinguished account of the St Luke Passion.’
  Listen to an extract from
Part II:
Et stabat populus
MAYR, J.S.: Requiem
Thornhill • Ruckgaber • Holzhauser
Schäfer • Sellier • Berner
Mittelhammer • Thoma • Mischok
Simon Mayr Chorus and Ensemble
‘Naxos’ ongoing series of music by Simon Mayr has been one of the revelations during the last few years, and the Requiem is so far the
crowning glory.’
MusicWeb International
Holocaust Requiem
Poem of Dawn

Serova • Croatian Radio & Television Symphony Orchestra • Guerini
‘Boris Pigovat’s Holocaust Requiem
is music of striking serenity,
beauty and depth.’

Libor • Wolak • Kirch • Monarcha
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
and Choir • Wit
‘Wit just may be the best conductor around these days for big choral works such as this. He finds more ear-catching detail in the music than anyone else has to date.’
‘…with this spectacular Messiaen recording, Jacobs has created what will surely become a reference version
for many.’
The Juilliard Journal Online
and other sacred music

Choir of Clare College, Cambridge
‘The newest Naxos recording of the Requiem tends to trump all previous versions, even the composer’s own very fine account. Recorded in the expansive acoustic of Douai Abbey, Berkshire, it is very beautifully sung indeed ... and the recording is
first class.’
Penguin Guide

Vasari Singers • Backhouse
‘This is a disc that should be investigated by all those who are interested in contemporary
choral music.’
MusicWeb International

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