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naxos educational Information Naxos sees it as its mission to promote the appreciation and understanding of classical music and has produced a wide range of educational texts and recordings.

There are the lives and works of the great composers; analyses of the most important works of classical music; introductions to all the most popular operas; A-Z of Classical Music and A-Z of Opera; an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra; and many others.

Naxos has tapped into the educational potential of CDs... These are superbly vivid biographies, and there is so much in them that one could listen again and again. -GRAMOPHONE

Naxos Educational is charting new territory. Using the wealth of Naxos recordings combined with approachable, absorbing narrative, it aims to broaden the understanding of musicians and their music.

 Recent Releases

This audiobook series introduces, in words and music, the plot and background of major operas. Using the principal themes and arias, taken from the Naxos recordings of the complete works, the presentation is informative yet entertaining, enabling the listener to get more from this remarkable art form.

Opera Explained
An Introduction to...
La sonnambula

Author: Thomson Smillie
Narrator: David Timson
1 CD with 12-page booklet
ISBN: 978-1-84379-102-7


La sonnambula was written by Bellini as a vehicle for two of the supreme singers of his age and accordingly is a fine example of the school we call bel canto, where beauty of voice and the virtuosity of the singers is integral to conveying the emotions in the soul of the composer. The fact that Bellini was one of the great melodists, writing long, beautiful vocal lines, that he was a master orchestrator and that he could write stirringly for the chorus all conspire to make La sonnambula an extremely enjoyable example of Italian opera in its prime.

Opera Explained
An Introduction to...

Author: Thomson Smillie
Narrator: David Timson
1 CD with 12-page booklet
ISBN: 978-1-84379-101-0


Monteverdi's Orfeo, first performed in 1607, generates a special excitement because it is the first unquestioned masterpiece of opera. Notable for its precise orchestration and powerful drama it was a groundbreaking work. It concerns the legend of Orpheus, the demi-god whose music had the power to conquer the forces of Hell and to bring his wife back, briefly, to life. The extracts used in this introduction are from Naxos's full recording; it uses authentic period instruments, which serve to evoke the early Baroque period of the opera's composition.


8.558198-99 Discover Choral Music

Author: David Hansell
2 CDs with 175-page booklet

- 20,000-word essay
- Timeline of events in choral music, history, art & literature
- Richly illustrated with photographs

Includes music by Taverner, Tallis, Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Brahms, Mahler, Britten, Pärt and many others.

This series began with introductions to periods in musical history: Early, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Twentieth Century. These form a beautifully presented set of five, and became a springboard for branching out into other areas. Discover Opera was the first departure, and now it is choral music in the spotlight.

After a brief discussion of choral music’s origins (What is ‘choral’?), touching on early Christianity and Byzantine chant, the author begins with early polyphony.

The birth of oratorio, J.S. Bach (the culmination of an astonishing supply of church cantors and organists in Protestant northern Germany), Haydn’s works for the Esterházy family, Bruckner’s masses and motets, Mendelssohn, Spohr, Brahms, Verdi... all this and so much more, right up to the present day (Arvo Pärt), is laid before the reader in an approachable, chronological way. References are given throughout to music tracks on the two accompanying CDs, illustrating the text via the best possible means: the music itself.

This is where both Naxos Educational ( and Naxos Books ( are unique: texts by carefully selected authors are accompanied by CDs – and, in the case of the books, websites as well – so that the reader can listen as well as read. For writing which concerns music, this is ideal!

The CDs of Discover Choral Music include examples by Taverner, Tallis, Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Brahms, Mahler, Britten, Pärt and many others.

Others in the series:

Genevieve Helsby
Editorial Manager, Naxos Educational



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Arts and Music
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Listen Learn and Grow
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The Instruments Of The Orchestra
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