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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 the Easter with Naxos segment catalogue here


Botessini: Messa da Requiem
“…this rare recording of Bottesini’s rarely heard Requiem is unreservedly recommended.” (Fanfare)
Rutti: Requiem
“Rütti’s Requiem is one of the finest new large-scale choral works I have heard in many years.” (Fanfare)

Cherubini: Requiem
“…this masterpiece [is] the finest work of its kind from the Classical era.” (
Stanford: Requiem
“A fine performance of Stanford's inexplicably neglected Requiem…captivating from first to last.” (Classic FM)


Naxos 8.570326
FASCH: Passio Jesu Christi / Suite in D Minor
Peter Cser • Zoltan Megyesi • Maria Zadori
Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis
Capella Savaria • Mary Terey-Smith

Bach's predecessor at the Leipzig Thomasschule, and a prolific composer with a contemporary reputation throughout Germany, Johann Friedrich Fasch composed works for the Lutheran church service as well as secular instrumental works, including overtures (suites), symphonies, partitas and a large amount of varied chamber music. His Passio Jesu Christi is a setting of the so-called Brockes Passion, known for its overt sentimentality and theatricality, which was also set by Handel and by Telemann, among others.

Naxos 8.557149
PENDERECKI, K.: St. Luke Passion
Izabella Klosinska • Adam Kruszewski
Romuald Tesarowicz • Krzysztof Kolberger
Warsaw National Philharmonic • Antoni Wit


Penderecki’s St Luke Passion takes as its model the Passions of Bach, the events leading up to the Crucifixion related in an ongoing sequence of narratives, arias and choruses. Its stark simplicity and directness attracted worldwide attention and it was quickly performed many times in Europe and the USA. For many, here at last was a piece of contemporary music which made an immediate emotional impact, and the use of contemporary compositional techniques served only to reinforce the dramatic power of the work.


Naxos 8.572714
MESSIAEN, O.: Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum / Le tombeau resplendissant / Hymne
Lyon National Orchestra • Jun Markl

Olivier Messiaen’s uniquely distinctive and powerfully expressive musical voice drew strength from religious faith and nature. A prestigious commission, Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum commemorates the dead of two World Wars through the transcendence of Christ’s Resurrection. Scored for winds and percussion, the work is conceived for and conjures up vast spaces. Le tombeau resplendissant and Hymne are early works, but equally filled with mystery and symbolism. Fanfare magazine described Jun Märkl’s previous volume in this series (Poèmes pour Mi / 8.572174) as “the best recording around of a mesmerizing masterwork”.

Naxos 8.572487
KARLOWICZ, M.: Symphony in E Minor, "Rebirth" / Bianca da Molena
Warsaw Philharmonic • Antoni Wit


Best known today for his sumptuously Romantic symphonic poems (8.570452, 8.570295), Mieczysław Karłowicz completed his most ambitious work, the ‘Rebirth’ Symphony, in 1903. Like Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony, premièred eight years earlier (Naxos 8.550523–24), it evokes the soul’s spiritual struggle against fate from tragedy to triumph. The resplendent Prologue from Karłowicz’s music for the play The White Dove leads to a serene Intermezzo. Polish conductor Antoni Wit brings out the brooding, portentous and lyrical characteristics of his compatriot’s richly orchestrated yet seldom-heard scores.


Dupré: The Way of the Cross
"A first-rate choice in every sense." (International Record Review)
J. S. Bach: Chorale Preludes for Passiontide
“…the recording is superb throughout.” (Penguin Guide)

Sofia Gubaidulina: Seven Words
"The combined effect of solo cello and bayan…is utterly mesmeric."
(Classic CD)
Haydn: The 7 Last Words
“ would be hard to imagine performances of greater intensity than these…” (BBC Music Magazine)

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