Biscuits & Bach is a four-hour program hosted by Rachel Stewart and featuring music from the Renaissance to the Baroque and beyond. Rachel welcomes the occasional guest and shares a recipe or two. It's food for the soul and soul food on a Sunday morning.
The English royal courts of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were active music centers and attracted the best composers who created some of England's finest music. The likes of John Dowland, Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel all received royal patronage. And one king, Henry VIII, even contributed his own compositions to court festivities.This week we explore this regal music with brass arrangements played by the Fine Arts Brass Ensemble on their album Music from the English Courts.
July 17, 2016 A Tale of Two Seasons Vivaldi’s concertos are so popular in modern times that we often forget he was a major player in the opera world of his day. This week we’ll compare and contrast early and later operatic compositions by listening to tracks from the album Vivaldi: A Tale of Two Seasons. We’ll hear works from 1717 and 1733. Listen and see if you notice innovations in Vivaldi’s compositional style. And Rachel will talk with Amanda Fisher and Paul Bright of EDIA Maps, the creators of The Great NC BBQ Map, a beautiful and handy resource for those who seek out North Carolina’s favorite food.
July 10, 2016 Testament Listen Now This week we listen to tracks from Rachel Barton Pine's new double album, Testament, featuring Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin. We’ll also chat with Pine about why these works are important, why she chose to record them now and how she is raising her young daughter while maintaining her busy schedule on the road.
July 3, 2016 Reconstructions & Transcriptions for Strings
Furor Musicus, an ensemble from the Netherlands, revels in the discoveries unearthed by this research and focuses on the "what if's" where Bach is concerned. On their recording, "J.S. Bach: Reconstructions and Transcriptions, for Strings," they explore pieces that either were or might have been originally written for strings. We'll hear selections from their album this week.
June 26, 2016 Bach Violin Concertos
The Academy for Ancient Music, Berlin began in 1982 in East Berlin. Since their founding, they’ve become recognized as one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras, and they are unusual for the fact that their artistic leadership is provided by several concertmasters rather than one conductor. Their 2005 album of Bach violin concertos garnered considerable praise when it came out, and we’ll listen to several tracks this week. Concertmasters Midori Seiler and Stephan Mai are in the spotlight as soloist and conductor respectively.
June 19, 2016 Pahud/Pinnock: Bach Flute Sonatas The metal flute was a relatively new and popular instrument in Bach’s day. His son, CPE Bach, worked for Frederick the Great of Prussia who was a gifted amateur flutist which may have had some influence on JS Bach’s decision to write several sonatas for the instrument. This week we’ll hear several of these works when we feature the 2008 recording, Bach: Complete Flute Sonatas, with flutist Emmanuel Pahud of the Berlin Philharmonic and harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock.
June 5, 2016 Gallén: Lute Works Spanish guitarist Ricardo Gallén first performed Bach's lute suites in concert in 2006. Four years later he captured his vision of these works and other Bach lute compositions in a recording made in St. John Chrysostom Church in Newmarket, Canada. We'll sample his performances this week when we listen to tracks from his album, Bach: Complete Lute Works.
May 29, 2016 Galway: Bach trio sonatas Listen Now In Bach’s day, the flute was coming into its own having seen several technological improvements that made it easier to play and nicer to hear. Bach used the flute often in his cantatas and instrumental music, and on the recording Bach, Vol. 2, Sir James Galway and friends explore the sound of several trio sonatas played on modern instruments. We’ll sample that album as well as listen to a conversation with Sir James that touches on everything from Mozart to Pink Floyd to Bach to grits.
May 22, 2016 Midori & Zuckerman: Double Concertos Violinist Midori dazzled the world when Zubin Mehta put her on stage with the New York Philharmonic when she was just 10 years old back in 1982. Four years later, she recorded her debut album of Bach and Vivaldi concertos with mentor Pinchas Zukerman and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. This week we’ll listen to selections from one of the twentieth century’s most remarkable prodigies and enjoy being dazzled all over again.
May 15, 2016 Mortensen: Harpsichord Concertos Listen Now When Bach worked in Leipzig, he was employed by no fewer than three churches all of which demanded new music for services along with choir directing. Leading the afternoon concerts of the Collegium, made up of student and professional musicians, must have provided a refreshing change of pace, especially since it gave him an opportunity to write instrumental compositions. His keyboard concertos, created by orchestrating movements from his cantatas, were almost surely on those programs. This week we listen to harpsichordist Lars Ulrik Mortensen and Concerto Copenhagen perform several of these great works. And Rachel talks with Tom Lewtak, an NC organ maker, about his unusual occupation.
May 8, 2016 Hewitt: English Suite Fans of Bach’s keyboard music will enjoy this week’s show. We’ll explore selections from the acclaimed 2003 recording by pianist Angela Hewitt of the English Suites. The naming of these suites has always been something of a mystery. They are not influenced by any English style or music. In fact they are an inspired union of the Italian concerto form, the French dance style and German counterpoint. One possible origin of the name may be found in a note written on a score copy owned by Christian Bach, Johann Sebastian’s youngest son. It reads “fait pour les Anglois” (done for the English). Regardless of why they were written or for whom, the English Suites remain an important part of Bach’s keyboard oeuvre.
May 1, 2016 Handel Organ Concertos In addition to being a beloved composer in his day, George Frideric Handel was famous for his prowess as an organist. He often played the organ as an opening act for his longer theatrical works. It was a brilliant marketingploy since patrons flocked to hear his performances. He wrote his Opus 4 organ concertos for such occasions, and this week we’ll hear a recording of them from 2008 featuring Richard Egarr and the Academy of Ancient Music.