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The dramas of Easter have inspired composers from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, and their finest works are available from Naxos.  Hear our especially prepared selection of sacred choral music which expresses the solemnity of the Lenten season, the suffering of Jesus Christ during his last days,  and the miracle of his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Featured Releases

Naxos 8.573078
Choral Music - The Lost City: Lamentations Through the Ages
Sospiri, C. Watson
Naxos 8.573078

The Lamentations of Jeremiah may be unremittingly sad, but they have had a deep resonance for composers throughout the ages. This is a collection that reflects that diversity—from John Mundy’s setting, which highlights the grave concern over schisms in the Catholic church of the sixteenth century, through to Rudolph Mauersberger’s motet, which mourns the destruction of the city of Dresden in 1945. Two new pieces were commissioned especially for this project, and are recorded here for the first time: John Duggan’s haunting set of three Lamentations for choir, trumpet and solo soprano; and Cecilia McDowall’s exotic and powerful The Lord is Good, which was shortlisted for a BASCA award in 2012.

Naxos 8.572540
Choral Concert - TAVENER, J. / STAINER, J. POULENC, F. / STANFORD, C.V. (Psalms and Motets for Reflection)
Choir of St. John's, Elora
Naxos 8.572540

Choral elements from Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and medieval traditions are included in this anthology of anthems and motets, many drawing inspiration from the Psalms. They range from sixteenth-century Germany (Eccard), through the nineteenth-century Anglican tradition of Hanforth, Stainer and Stanford and the twentieth-century Catholicism of Poulenc, to contemporary England (Rose, Tavener, Harvey), Scotland (MacMillan), Australia (Halley) and the USA (Paulus). Previous recordings from the Choir of St John’s, Elora have been described as “a real joy” (Gramophone on 8.557037, Faire is the Heaven), and “world-class…sensational” ( on 8.554823, Psalms for the Soul).

Naxos 8.573092
MOZART, W.A.: Missa brevis, K. 194 and 275 /
Regina coeli, K. 127

St Albans Cathedral Choirs, Sinfonia Verdi, A. Lucas
Naxos 8.573092

During his years in Salzburg, Mozart wrote a series of shorter mass settings, for which he drew on the models of his senior colleague Michael Haydn. Regina coeli reveals his supreme skill at writing for the solo voice. The Missa brevis in D, K 194 is a work of great solemnity, employing a remarkable range of expressive contrasts, whilst the Missa brevis in B flat, K 275 is notable for its sublime lyricism and grace. The Allegro and Andante in F minor, K 608 is regarded as Mozart’s finest work for the organ and and has become one of the cornerstones of the organ repertory.

Naxos 8.573049
JACKSON, G.: Requiem / In all his works / I am the voice of the wind / POTT, F.: When David heard
Vasari Singers, Backhouse
Naxos 8.573049

While the unifying thread which links these works is that of loss, the underlying focus is an uplifting celebration of life and love. Gabriel Jackson’s Requiem combines traditional solemnity with poems which embrace wide-ranging spirituality, resulting in images of light and radiant optimism. Contrasting poignancy of expression is heard in personal tributes from John Tavener and Francis Pott, while Bob Chilcott uses Pachelbel’s famous Canon to set Oscar Wilde’s Requiescat. Vasari Singers’ Great British Anthems(8.572504) was described as ‘essential listening’ by Gramophone.

Naxos 8.572987
Choral Concert - SCHUTZ, H. / POULENC, F. / LASSO, O. (Pater Noster: A Choral Reflection on the Lord's Prayer)
The King's Singers
Naxos 8.572987

GRAMMY®-Award winners in 2009, The King’s Singers are one of the world’s most celebrated ensembles. Their programming concept in this disc is unique: built upon the individual clauses of The Lord’s Prayer, beginning and ending in plainchant, it ranges over the centuries to explore the spiritually charged text. Chant is at the heart of the programme, and each composer’s setting illuminates the others, shedding rich interpretative light on the poetic and devotional aspects of the prayer.

Naxos 8.572840
Choral Music - Music from the Eton Choirbook
Tonus Peregrinus, Pitts
Naxos 8.572840

The Eton Choirbook is a giant 500 year-old manuscript from Eton College Chapel, and one of the greatest surviving glories of pre-Reformation England. This recording features the earliest polyphonic Passion by a named composer, two heartrending motets for five and six voices, two thrilling settings of the Magnificat, and an extraordinary canon in 13 parts, Jesus autem transiens. The ensemble TONUS PEREGRINUS has been widely acclaimed, not least for its “richly sung and very well recorded” programme of Orlando Gibbons, L’Estrange, and Pitts. (The Penguin Guide on 8.557681)

Naxos 8.572800
Percival's Lament - Medieval Music and the Holy Grail
Capilla Antigua de Chinchilla, Ferrero
Naxos 8.572800

The Holy Grail has occupied a central place in Western life. It was believed by many to have been used by Christ at the Last Supper, and in the middle ages writers saw the Grail as a dish, or a chalice, or a precious stone. Songs and instrumental music celebrated its mystical power and were composed by some of the greatest troubadours, mystics and singer-poets of the age: Chrétien de Troyes, Walther von der Vogelweide, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Hildegard of Bingen. This disc uniquely focuses on the common threads between Grail literature and music.

Naxos 8.578210
Sacred Music - TALLIS, T. / ALLEGRI, G. / PERGOLESI, G.B. / MOZART, W.A. (Favourite Sacred Masterpieces)
Summerly, Halasz, Wildner, Kovacs
Naxos 8.578210

Some of the world’s greatest sacred masterpieces are heard on this disc, performed by some of the world’s leading vocal ensembles. The journey ranges from Thomas Tallis’s extraordinary Spem in alium to César Franck’s immortal Panis angelicus. Pergolesi’s Stabat mater is a masterpiece of the early eighteenth century. Mozart, who as a 14-year-old had copied out Allegri’s Miserere from memory, is represented by his beautiful Ave verum corpus. It is impossible to omit the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria from a journey that crosses geographical borders and spans the centuries.

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