First, Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs Since I was a little girl, Easter has arrived for me with the opening Rise, Heart (skip to 25 seconds in to avoid annoying announcer). The rest of the five are here. If I ever understand atonement, it will be because of “Love Bade Me Welcome.”
Or, for baroque types, some Schütz: Die mit Tränen Säen and Selig sind die Toten (These are texts made famous by Brahms, of course: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy”, and “blessed are the dead who die in the Lord”)
No Easter should be without Bach; here’s the requisite chorale. If you’re impatient with recitative, skip to 1:10.
And Fauré: Pie Jesu and Agnus Dei–I have a deal worked out with God that if I’m a willing and diligent church musician all my life, I get to be a good soprano for two hours in heaven, and this Pie Jesu is definitely on my recital program. Bonus points to anybody who can tell me who the soprano is in this recording–I can’t figure it out.