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Choral & Christmas Music

Holiday Classics
Various Artists

Seattle Symphony’s first holiday album embraces works composed specifically for Christmas as well as other pieces that convey a universal message of peace, love and hope—the essence of humanity’s highest aspirations. Music Director Gerard Schwarz asked two composers, the Symphony’s Composer in Residence Samuel Jones and Seattle Symphony Principal Oboe Ben Hausmann, to “make the music their own” by scoring several of the pieces to retain the unaffected simplicity of these well-known Christmas and concert works. Schwarz joined them in this task, arranging or editing several of the pieces, with the resulting works celebrating the remarkable artistry of the musicians of the Orchestra. In these new settings, recorded entirely in Benaroya Hall, the music emerges with honest, untarnished beauty.

CD currently available in North America. It will be released internationally at a later date.
In Terra Pax – A Christmas Anthology
Julia Doyle, soprano • Roderick Williams, baritone
Mark Williams, organ and piano • City of London Choir
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra • Hilary Davan Wetton, conductor


Performances of carols both ancient and modern have become central to the celebration of Christmas. The choral music on this disc includes Holst’s surprisingly neglected Christmas Day, as well as music by Leighton, Joubert, Mathias, Gardner and Rutter. The nostalgic mood of Howells’s evergreen carol-anthems is echoed in Finzi’s In terra pax, which recalls the pealing of bells at midnight on a frosty Christmas Eve. The City of London Choir, which enjoys an enviable reputation as a ‘leader among nonprofessional choruses’ (The Times), makes its Naxos début with this delightful recording.
Lullabies and Carols for Christmas
Monica Whicher, soprano • Judy Loman, harp

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.
The Manchester Carols
The Manchester Carollers • Northern Chamber Orchestra
Richard Tanner, conductor


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.
MYSTIC VOICES - Divine Music from the Heavens
Various artists, including Soloists and Schola Cantorum of Oxford,
Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly (conductor), Ingrid Kertesi (soprano),
Camerata Budapest, Lászlo Kovács (conductor),
Elora Festival Singers and Orchestra, Noel Edison (conductor),
Soloists and Kosice teachers’ Choir, Camerata Cassovia,
Johannes Wildner (conductor), The Chamberlains,
Choir of St John’s College Cambridge


Choral and vocal masterpieces for spiritual meditation and relaxation. The ultimate musical antidote to these stressful times.
CD 1 Fauré Pie Jesu, Schubert Ave Maria, Tallis Spem in Alium, Pärt Magnificat, Fauré Agnus Dei, Mozart Ave verum Corpus, Victoria Ave Maria , Tavener Song for Athene, Elgar Ave Maria, Bach arr Gounod Ave Maria, Fauré In Paradisum, Mozart Lacrimosa dies ill, Stanford Justorum Animae, Britten A Hymn to the Virgin
CD2 Allegri Miserere, Bingen O Euchari, Durufle In Paradisum, Victoria Sanctus, Lassus Kyrie, Palestrina Lesson 1 for Maundy Thusday, Guerrero Maria Magdalene, Bingen O vigra ac diadema, Byrd Kyrie, Ockeghem Intemerata Dei Mater, Palestrina Si ignoras te, Palestrina Kyrie
ULTIMATE CHANT - Music of Ethereal Beauty
Various Artists

The sound of unaccompanied chant moves and inspires those seeking the sublime. In our increasingly busy and secularized world, people return to chant, regardless of their religious beliefs, for the peace and calm that this eternal music offers.
Jubilant Sykes, celebrant • Asher Edward Wulfman, boy soprano
Morgan State University Choir • Peabody Children’s Chorus
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra • Marin Alsop, conductor


Gramophone Awards 2010 Editor’s Choice Premiered on September 8, 1971, with additional words by Stephen Schwartz of Godspell fame, Mass is a remarkable, visionary work with a kaleidoscope of musical styles that touches on themes of political protest, existential crisis and religious faith lost and found.
BLAKE The Passion of Mary, Four Songs of the Nativity
Patricia Rozario, soprano • Robert William Blake, treble
Richard Edgar-Wilson, tenor • David Wilson-Johnson, bass-baritone
London Voices • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra • Blake, Howard, conductor


Howard Blake is a popular and prolific composer whose output includes film scores (not least the extraordinarily successful The Snowman), choral, orchestral and instrumental works, ballets and opera. This disc presents the world première recordings of Four Songs of the Nativity, commissioned by The Book Club for The Bach Choir and London Brass, and Blake’s second dramatic oratorio, The Passion of Mary, commissioned by The Summer Music Society of Dorset in association with South West Arts. ‘The Passion of Mary draws together the Stabat Mater, the Magnificat, the Salve Regina and other Marian and Nativity texts with the wisdom of a Berlioz. The outcome is a splendid, highly accessible choral work.’ Roderick Dunnett (reviewing the London première for Church Times)
HAYDN The Complete  Masses(8 CDs)
Nina Faia • Ann Hoyt • Julie Liston • Nacole Palmer • Sharla Nafziger
Luthien Brackett • Hai-Ting Chinn • Kirsten Sollek • Nathan Davis
Matthew Hensrud • Matthew Hughes • Daniel Mutlu • Daniel Neer
Stephen Sands • Bert K. Johnson • Andrew Nolen • Richard Lippold
Dongsok Shin • The Trinity Choir • Rebel Baroque Orchestra
J Owen Burdick • Jane Glover


Today Haydn is viewed mainly in the light of his string quartets and symphonies, yet his first and last compositions were Mass settings. They encompassed an extraordinary musical output, within which his Masses shine as uplifting and deeply satisfying sacred works. Whilst acknowledging the Viennese traditions of church music, these Masses are infused with the kind of inspiration and originality that make Haydn an undisputed master in so many genres.
HAYDN The Oratorios (7 CDs)
Die Schöpfung (The Creation)
Max Ciolek • Sunhae Im • Jan Kobow • Hanno Muller-Brachmann
Christine Wehler • Cologne Vocal Ensemble • Capella Augustina
Andreas Spering

Die Jahrzeiten (The Seasons)
Andreas Karasiak • Stephan MacLeod • Rubens, Sibylla
Gewandhaus Chamber Choir • Leipzig Chamber Orchestra
Morten Schuldt-Jensen

Il Ritorno di Tobia (The Return of Tobias)
Roberta Invernizzi • Sophie Karthauser • Anders J. Dahlin • Nikolay Borchev
Ann Hallenberg • Cologne Vocal Ensemble • Capella Augustina
Andreas Spering


Haydn’s two great vocal masterpieces The Creation (1796–8) and The Seasons (1799–1801) have secured his place in the history of the oratorio. Here they are presented together with one of music history’s better-kept secrets: Haydn’s first oratorio Il ritorno di Tobia.
MAYR Te Deum / MOZART Missa solemnis
Priska Eser-Streit, Katja Stuber, soprano
Merit Ostermann, Roland Schneider, alto
Andreas Hirtreiter, Marc Megele, Jörg Schneider, tenor
Robert Merwald, Andreas Burkhart, bass • Simon Mayr Choir
Ingolstadt Georgian Chamber Orchestra
Franz Hauk, conductor, chorus-master and organ


It is uncertain whether the Missa Solemnis in C major was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or by his father Leopold. Whatever the case, it was extremely popular during the 18th and early 19th centuries, and was performed by Simon Mayr who copied the score around 1802. Mayr’s own festive Te Deum is believed to have been written for Napoleon’s coronation as King of Italy in Milan Cathedral on 26 May 1805. Mayr’s biographer Girolamo Calvi praised this effective work in the highest terms, declaring it a masterpiece.
MENDELSSOHN Elias (Elijah)
Ruth Ziesak, soprano • Claudia Mahnke, mezzo-soprano
Christoph Genz, tenor • Ralf Lukas, bass • Luise Müller, treble
Leipzig MDR Radio Choir & Symphony Orchestra • Jun Märkl, conductor


Mendelssohn’s magnificent oratorio Elijah brings to life the tumultuous times and personal drama of the Biblical prophet in a sweeping series of recitatives, arias and choruses in which the composer’s Romantic genius drew deeply from the wellsprings of Bach and Handel. In this new recording, sung in German, Jun Märkl, one of the most notable conductors of his generation, leads an outstanding cast of soloists headed by Ralf Lukas, Germany’s longest-standing radio symphony orchestra and its acclaimed choir.
MENOTTI Amahl and the Night Visitors, My Christmas
Ike Hawkersmith (Amahl) • Kirsten Gunlogson (Mother)
Dean Anthony (King Kaspar) • Todd Thomas (King Melchior)
Kevin Short (King Balthazar) • Bart LeFan (Page to the Kings)
Members of the Nashville Symphony Chorus
Members of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Nashville Symphony Orchestra • AlastairWillis, George Mabry, conductors


Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, the first opera written for television, enjoys more than five hundred performances annually around the world and is immensely popular with amateur groups. A crippled boy, Amahl, and his mother are visited by the three Kings who seek the newborn Jesus. Deciding to give his crutch to the Christ child, he is miraculously healed, and joyfully accompanies the Kings to give thanks. Sung in English, brimming with tuneful melodies for both soloists and chorus, the opera is a humorous and poignant Christmas classic beloved by people of all ages.
SCHUBERT Masses Nos 1 and 3
Trine Wilsberg Lund, Dorothea Craxton, soprano • Bettina Ranch, alto
Min Woo Lim, Andreas Karasiak, tenor • Assaf Levitin, bass
Immortal Bach Ensemble • Leipziger Kammerorchester
Morten Schuldt-Jensen, conductor


Aged only 17, Schubert conducted his first complete Mass setting, in F major, D. 105, in September 1814, gaining the approval of his former teacher Antonio Salieri. An amazingly accomplished work for so young a composer, it follows Classical precedents, while already giving glimpses of Schubert’s special lyrical gifts, and makes effective use, particularly in the forward-looking Sanctus, of the vocal soloists, choir and an orchestra rich in wind and brass including three trombones. The Mass in B flat major, D. 324, composed the following year and like its predecessor scaled for liturgical performance, similarly combines beauty with splendour.
SCHUBERT Mass No 6, Stabat Mater
Birte Kulawik, Dorothea Craxton, soprano • Cornelia Rosenthal, alto
Raimund Minarschik, Rolf Ehlers, tenor • Klaus Schredl, bass
Immortal Bach Ensemble • Leipzig Chamber Orchestra
Schuldt-Jensen, Morten, conductor


One of a remarkable series of works Schubert wrote in his final year, Mass No. 6 in E flat lay unperformed until a year after his death. With an unusually prominent part for trombones, this is a powerful and disquieting masterpiece, reconciling the liturgical grandeur and monumentality of the vast fugues that end the Gloria and Credo, with the composer's natural lyricism and daring chromatic digressions.
SCHUBERT Masses Nos 2 and 4, Deutsche Messe
Claudia Reinhard, soprano • Christine Wehler, alto
Raimund Minarschik, Rudiger Ballhorn, tenor
Markus Flaig, Tobias Berndt, bass • Immortal Bach Ensemble
Leipzig Chamber Orchestra • Schuldt-Jensen, Morten, conductor


A chorister from the age of eight until his voice broke seven years later, Franz Schubert was well placed to compose sacred music, including several splendid settings of the Mass. His second, completed in 1815, and fourth, written during the following year, follow Mozart’s examples but with strikingly Schubertian touches such as his dramatic use of key relationships and contrasting vocal textures to express the prayerful, meditative and glorious nature of the liturgical text. For the so-called German Mass, Schubert wrote unassuming yet heartfelt settings of congregational hymns for performance during the service.
SWAYNE Stabat mater, The silent land, Magnificat I, Ave verum corpus
Sophie Bevan, soprano • Kate Symonds-Joy, mezzo-soprano
Ben Alden, tenor • Jonathan Sells, bass • Raphael Wallfisch, cello
The Dmitri Ensemble • Graham Ross, conductor


The four pieces on this disc span three decades of Giles Swayne’s choral music, their striking echoes of Latin plainchant, Tudor polyphony and traditional African music providing contrasting and complementary strands characteristic of this much-travelled composer. Magnificat I draws on the music of the Senegalese Jola people and the Ba-Benezele of the Congo. Swayne’s moving threnody, The silent land, scored for 40-part chorus and solo cello, combines words from the Requiem Mass and Christina Rossetti’s poetry, while Stabat mater is dedicated to the grieving mothers of Israel and Palestine.
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Dona Nobis Pacem, Sancta Civitas
Christina Pier, soprano • Andrew Staples, tenor • Matthew Brook, baritone
The Bach Choir • Winchester Cathedral Choristers
Winchester College Quiristers • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
David Hill, conductor


Although Vaughan Williams described himself as ‘a cheerful agnostic’, he was not only steeped in the traditions of the Anglican Church, but sensitive to the mystical significance ‘of what lies beyond sense and knowledge’. Written in 1936, his cantata Dona nobis pacem sets powerful Biblical texts alongside those by Walt Whitman and John Bright and is both a warning that mankind was sliding disastrously towards another war and a plea for a world without strife. The oratorio Sancta Civitas, one of his most original choral works, strikingly deploys vocal and orchestral forces to depict the battle between good and evil from the Book of Revelation.
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Sacred Choral Music
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge
James McVinnie, Ashok Gupta, organ • Timothy Brown, conductor


Ralph Vaughan Williams’s sublime Mass in G minor reveals the composer’s absorbing interest in using the modal harmonic language and contrapuntal textures of the English late Renaissance to achieve a huge emotional and dynamic range. Undoubtedly the most technically demanding work on this disc is A Vision of Aeroplanes, a virtuosic motet for mixed chorus and organ. Several neglected works also feature here, including The Voice out of the Whirlwind, an anthem for mixed chorus and orchestra or organ, and Valiant-for-truth, one of several works based on Bunyan’s Christian allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress.
WACHNER Choral Music Vol 1
Elora Festival Singers • Michael Bloss, organ • Noel Edison, conductor

Julian Wachner’s music has been described as ‘bold and atmospheric’ (The New York Times), ‘jazzy, energetic, and ingenious’ (Boston Globe), and ‘highly enjoyable, touching, clever, and inspiring’ (Deseret News). As the composer has written: ‘I have found equal inspiration from strict form or unbridled chaos; tonality, modality or post-tonality; and lyricism, pointillism or minimalism—I find it crucial to have as sweeping a palette of creative possibilities at my disposal as possible…The challenge therefore, is to ride this wave of self-proclaimed eclecticism with sincerity, individuality and spontaneity, writing music that speaks to the human condition.’
WHITACRE Choral Music
Elora Festival Singers • Noel Edison, conductor

Eric Whitacre’s dedication to the beauty of sound, paired with exquisite texts, results in a poetic combination that creates a unique sonic experience. These works are existential choral moments, beautifully crafted, and harmonised to express a compressed moment in time. Such sublime sonorities transcend descriptions such as ‘warm’, ‘glistening’ or ‘shimmering’, although these features of his choral works do suggest affinities with the sound worlds of Arvo Pärt or John Tavener, for instance. However, Whitacre’s fluid lines and blossoming harmonies give his music its own highly personal and irresistible magic.
WHITBOURN Luminosity
Christopher Gillett, tenor • Desmond Tutu, speaker • Levine Andrade, viola
Henry Parkes, organ • Andrew Ker, Steffan Jones, percussion and tanpura
Commotio • Matthew Berry, conductor


Best known for his inspired Son of God Mass for saxophone, choir and organ, the British composer, conductor and writer James Whitbourn is admired for his fresh, distinctive yet accessible compositional voice. Setting texts from ancient seers to the modern luminary Desmond Tutu, the works on his new recording reflect the breadth of the composer’s achievement, from the monumental Magnificat written for King’s College Cambridge, to the Classical Indian fusion work Luminosity—a rare choral work composed for dance. They are performed by Commotio, an Oxford-based chamber choir which specialises in contemporary choral repertoire.

Naxos Composer Albums

The Naxos Bach Album
Various Artists

Orchestral Suite no 2 – Badinerie, The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I – Prelude no 1 in C major, Violin Concerto BWV 1042 – Allegro, Minuet in G major from Anna Magdalena Notebook, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1056 – Largo, Orchestral Suite no 3 – ‘Air on a G String’, Toccata and Fugue BWV 565 – Toccata, Magnificat – Magnificat anima mea, Brandenburg Concerto no 5 – Allegro, Violin Partita no 3 – Preludio, Christmas Oratorio – Jauchzet, frohlocket, Goldberg Variations – Aria, Concerto for Violin and Oboe BWV 1060 – Allegro, Cello Suite no 1 – Prelude, St Matthew Passion – Erbarme dich, mein Gott, Italian Concerto – Allegro, Concerto for 2 Violins BWV 1043 – Vivace, Mass in B minor – Osanna in excelsis
The Naxos Beethoven Album
Various Artists

Symphony no 5 – Allegro con brio, ‘Moonlight’ Sonata – Adagio sostenuto, Violin Concerto – Rondo, String Quartet op 59 no 2 ‘Rasumovsky’ – Finale, Symphony no 6 ‘Pastoral’ – Thunder-storm, Für Elise, Symphony no 3 ‘Eroica’ – Marcia funebre, Piano Concerto no 5 ‘Emperor’ – Rondo, Pathétique Sonata – Adagio cantabile, Symphony no 9 ‘Choral’ – Finale (excerpt)
The Naxos Bruckner Album
Various Artists

Symphony no 9 – Scherzo, Symphony no 4 ‘Romantic’ – First Movement, Symphony no 3 – Finale, Symphony no 7 – Scherzo, Symphony no 8 – First Movement
The Naxos Chopin Album
Various Artists

Fantasy-Impromptu op 66, Nocturne no 8, Ballade no 1, Mazurka no 23, Polonaise no 6 ‘Heroic’, Piano Concerto no 2 – Larghetto, Waltz no 1 ‘Grande valse brillante’, Waltz no 9 ‘Farewell’, Piano Sonata no 2 ‘Funeral March’ – III Marche funèbre, Prelude op 28 no 15 ‘Raindrop’, Etude op 10 no 12 ‘Revolutionary’, Barcarolle op 60
The Naxos Mahler Album
Various Artists

Symphony no 7 – Rondo-Finale, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen – Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer, Symphony no 1 ‘Titan’ – Third Movement, Das Lied von der Erde – Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde, Symphony no 6 ‘Tragic’ – Scherzo, Symphony no 4 – Last Movement, Symphony no 5 – Adagietto, Symphony no 8 ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ – Chorus Mysticus: Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis,
The Naxos Mendelssohn Album
Various Artists

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Overture & Wedding march, Gondola Song in A major ‘Barcarolle’, Violin Concerto – Allegro molto appassionato, Symphony no 4 ‘Italian’ – Saltarello, Piano Trio no 1 – Scherzo, The Hebrides ‘Fingal’s Cave’, String Octet – Allegro moderato, ma con fuoco, Symphony no 3 ‘Scottish’ – Allegro vivacissimo-Allegro maestoso assai
The Naxos Mozart Album
Various Artists

Overture to Le nozze di Figaro, Eine kleine Nachtmusik – Allegro, Clarinet Concerto – Adagio, Der Hölle rach (Queen of the Night’s Aria) from The Magic Flute, Symphony no 40 – Molto allegro, Piano Sonata no 11 – Rondo alla turca, Violin Concerto no 5 ‘Turkish’ – Allegro Aperto, Requiem – Dies irae, Piano Concerto no 21 – Andante, Madamina il catalogo e questo (Catalogue Aria) from Don Giovanni, Fin ch’han dal vino (Champagne Aria) from Don Giovanni, Concerto for Flute and Harp – Rondo, Symphony no 41 ‘Jupiter’ – Allegro vivace
The Naxos Schubert Album
Various Artists

Symphony no 9 ‘Great’ – Finale, Piano Quintet ‘Trout’ – Theme and Variations, Ave Maria, Impromptu op 90 no 3, Symphony no 8 ‘Unfinished’ – Andante con moto, Erlkönig (The Elf King), Overture to Alfonso und Estrella/Rosamunde, Winterreise – no 5 Der Lindenbaum (The Lime Tree), String Quartet ‘Death and the Maiden’ – Andante con moto, Symphony no 5 – Allegro
The Naxos Richard Strauss Album
Various Artists

Thus spoke Zarathustra – Introduction, Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Salome’s Dance, 4 Last Songs – Im Abendrot (In Twilight), Der Rosenkavalier – Waltz Sequence no 2, An Alpine Symphony (excerpt), A Hero’s Life – The Hero, Ariadne auf Naxos – Sei’n wir wieder gut! (Let’s get along again), Don Juan
The Naxos Tchaikovsky Album
Various Artists

Eugene Onegin – Polonaise, Piano Concerto no 1 – Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso (excerpt), Symphony no 6 ‘Pathétique’ – Allegro con grazia, The Nutcracker – Waltz of the Flowers, Swan Lake – ‘Swan Theme’, Violin Concerto – Finale, Symphony no 4 – Allegro con, Slavonic March, Symphony no 5 – Valse, 1812 Overture (excerpt)
Wonderful Educational Christmas Gifts
Browse through the great range of Naxos’s Educational albums and books, suitable for children and adults.
More Christmas Music on Naxos
There’s plenty more great music for Christmas available from Naxos. Take a look at these selections from our extensive catalogue.
Jazz Icons Series
Each DVD features a booklet with an essay written by an authoritative jazz historian as well as rare and unseen photos. Jazz Icons DVDs are produced with the full support and cooperation of the artists or their estates, who, in most cases, are contributing rare personal photographs, memorabilia, and forewords.

Other Ways to Find the Perfect Christmas Gift

Download the Naxos Catalogue 2011
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