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Biscuits and Bach
Sundays, 7 - 11 a.m.
Overview | Biscuit Tin Recipes | Rachel Stewart bio

Rachel StewartBiscuits & 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.

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Program Schedule
September 27, 2015
Vogt: Bach Goldberg Variations
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Lars Vogt: Bach Goldberg Variations album coverThis has been a banner year for new recordings of the Bach Cello Suites and Goldberg Variations. German pianist Lars Vogt  has just come out with his album of Goldberg Variations, some of Bach’s most delightful works for keyboard. Vogt spent seventeen years learning and perfecting his performance of the Goldbergs. We’ll get the benefit of that preparation on this week’s show. And Rachel talks with guitarist Peter Blanchette about his unique instrument he has named the archguitar. He also talks about how he approaches playing Bach.

Purchase Featured CD: Lars Vogt: Bach Goldberg Variations

Program Audio: Biscuit Chat: Peter Blanchette
September 20, 2015
Pine: The Viola D'amore Concertos
Vivaldi: The Complete Viola D'amore Concertos by Rachel Burton Pine, Ars Antigua album cover.Perhaps the instrument audiences most associate with Antonio Vivaldi the is the violin. With a catalog of 230 violin concerti it stands to reason. But Vivaldi, whose output was prodigious, wrote a number of concerti for other instruments as well including eight for the viola d’amore. The viola d’amore is a six or seven stringed instrument that resembles a violin but has a duplicate set of sympathetic, resonant strings which are not bowed. Leopold Mozart once wrote that it sounded "especially charming in the stillness of the evening." Violinist Rachel Barton Pine has been a longtime fan of the viola d’amore, and she’s just released her first album featuring this beautiful baroque instrument and all eight of Vivaldi’s concerti. We’ll listen to several tracks this week.

Purchase Featured Album: Vivaldi: The Complete Viola D'amore Concertos
September 13, 2015
Hancoff: Suites for Cello Solo, for Acoustic Guitar
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Steven Hancoff: The Six Suites for 'Cello Solo, J. Sebastian Bach, For Acoustic GuitarAfter many years of study and preparation, guitarist Steven Hancoff has recorded his guitar transcription of Bach's Suites for Cello Solo. This week he talks to us about why he embarked on this journey and about the remarkable story of how these once little known suites became a favorite of modern audiences and an essential part of the cello canon. We'll also sample his recording, From Tragedy to Transcendence: The Six Suites for Cello Solo for Acoutstic Guitar.

Purchase Featured Album: Six Suites for 'Cello Solo for Acoustic Guitar CDbaby | iTunes

September 6, 2015
Staier: Harpsichord Concertos
[pictured album cover] Johann Sebastian Bach, Harpsichord Concertos, Freiburger Barockorchester, Andreas Staier harpsichordBach's seven keyboard concertos are special in several ways. They are major and pivotal works in the development of the concertante form. And they are some of the few compositions by Bach that have come down to us in the form of an autographed score which has been a boon to many a musicologist and musician. Harpsichordist Andreas Staier has just release a new double album of all seven works recorded with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and Petra Mullejans. It's our featured recording this week.
August 30, 2015
Kotova: The Cello Suites
Nina Kotova: J.S. Bach, The Cello Suites CoverBach’s Cello Suites are some of his works best known and loved by modern audiences. Amazingly, they were rarely heard until Pablo Casals began performing them nearly a century ago. This week we listen to a 2014 recording made by Russian-born cellist, Nina Kotova. She plays the 1673 Stradivarius cello that once belonged to Jacueline du Pré and was recently owned by Lynn Harrell. And we’ll hear the third and final part of Rachel’s conversation with The Thistle and Shamrock’s Fiona Ritchie about her book Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia. Ritchie talks about what surprised her most when researching the book and how music from both sides of the Atlantic has been shaped by centuries of adaptation and change.

Purchase Featured Album: J.S. Bach: The Cello Suites

Fiona Ritchie and The Thistle and Shamrock

Wayfaring Strangers by Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr

August 23, 2015
Mullova-Dantone: Bach Sonatas
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J.S. Bach, Sonata, Viktoria Mullova and Ottavio Dantone album cover.When J.S. Bach worked in the court at Cothen, he had time to focus on composing instrumental works as the Calvinist prince did not require much church music. During this time, Bach wrote several groundbreaking works, including his violin sonatas. This week we'll hear the 2007 recording of these sonatas by violinist Viktoria Mullova. And we'll continue our conversation with The Thistle & Shamrock's Fiona Ritchie about her book Wayfaring Strangers. Ritchie talks about how tunes, recipes, and herbals traveled back and forth across the Atlantic influencing musicians, cooks and healers on both shores over the generations. 

Purchase Featured AlbumBach: Sonatas / Viktoria Mullova, Ottavio Dantone, Et Al

Fiona Ritchie and The Thistle and Shamrock

Wayfaring Strangers by Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr

August 16, 2015
Musica Antiqua Köln
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In their day, Bach was known and respected as an organist, and Handel worked for kings. But it was Georg Philipp Telemann who was most in demand as a composer in their German homeland. He was by far the most prolific and financially successful of the three. Even though history has seemed to relegate him to third place among these great German Baroque composers, his enormous talent should not be underestimated. He taught himself composition, learned to play many instrument and had a keen business sense. This week we’ll listen to an album of his string concertos performed by Musica Antiqua of Cologne led by violinist Reinhard Goebel. And we’ll also hear the first in a three-part conversation with Fiona Ritchie, host of The Thistle and Shamrock. Ritchie has written a book with Doug Orr called Wayfaring Strangers which explores the connections between the folk music of Scotland, Ulster and the southern Appalachians. This week she’ll explain the history of this music  culture moving from the old to the new world.

Purchase Featured Album: Telemann: String Concertos / Goebel, Musica Antiqua Köln

Fiona Ritchie and The Thistle and Shamrock

Wayfaring Strangers by Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr

August 9, 2015
Baroque Treasures
BB-8915This week we take a listen to a 2012 3-CD set compilation of baroque-era favorites which have been reissued on the Erato label. It’s called Baroque Treasures. We’ll hear first rate performances of favorites by Bach, Handel and Pachelbel. We’ll also listen to compositions by composers Claudio Monteverdi and Giorgio Mainerio who came a century or more before Bach.

Purchase Featured Album: Baroque Treasures
August 2, 2015
Hancoff: The Cello Suites
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BIX: houghIn 1720, J.S. Bach returned home from a trip to find that his wife, Maria Barbara, had died. It's hard to know exactly how Bach processed such a tragedy and came to grips with being a widower left with four children. But not long after Maria Barbara's death, he produced some of his most achingly beautiful compositions, the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin and the Suites for Solo Cello. Guitarist Steven Hancoff has just released a recording of the Cello Suites played on his instrument, and we'll hear him play three of the six suites this week. And Rachel talks with world renowned pianist Stephen Hough about coffee, tea, fish for breakfast and other morning food delights and disasters.
Purchase Featured Album: Six Suites for 'Cello Solo for Acoustic Guitar CDbaby | iTunes

July 26, 2015
Heras-Casado: Praetorius with Balthasar-Neumann Choir and Ensemble
biscuits-072615Since he was 19 years old, conductor Pablo Heras-Casado has been fascinated with the Protestant music from the period before Bach. For 20 years, he's been studying and performing the music that bridges the late Renaissance and early Baroque. His explorations have led him to three composers with the family name Praetorius (Michael, Hieronymus and Jacob) who were active in northern Germany in the early 17th century. Hieronymus and Jacob were father and son organists in Hamburg, and Michael was the Praetorius we best know today. He gave us "Lo, How a Rose E're Blooming." Heras-Casado has just released an album of music by these three that is beautifully performed by the Balthasar-Neumann Choir and Ensemble. We'll hear from each Praetorius on the album during this week's show.

Purchase Featured Album:
Praetorius with Balthasar-Neumann Choir and Ensemble
July 19, 2015
Smith: Bach's Cello Suites for Lute
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Hopkins Smith: Bach Suites pour luth baroque 4,5,6 - album coverBach's suites for solo cello are revered not only by cellists but also by other musicians who have adapted them for their own particular instruments over the decades. American lutenist Hopkinson Smith released an album in 2013 of cello suites transcribed for lute. Interestingly, it was Bach himself who made the first lute transcription (of the suite No. 5, BWV 995.) So Smith has followed a respectable precedent with his own transcriptions. We'll feature the album, Bach: Suites Nos. 4-6 this week. And Rachel talks with April McGreger about her book, Sweet Potatoes, A Savor the South Cookbook, from UNC Press. Find out why it's one of the best foods you can eat and why it's important in the south.

Purchase Featured AlbumBach: Suites No 4, 5 & 6

PurchaseSweet Potatoes, A Savor the South Cookbook

July 12, 2015
Lohmann: Furor Musicus; Breakfast at Timothy's
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J.S. Bach Reconstructions and Transcriptions for Strings - Furor Musicus Antoinette Lohmann (album cover)Bach's music lends itself to transcription, a characteristic upon which the ensemble Furor Musicus capitalizes in its 2010 release J.S. Bach: Reconstructions and Transcriptions for Strings. This week we'll hear versions for strings of the Goldberg Variations and the Orchestral Suite No. 2 among others. And we talk with Dr. Timothy O'Lenic who moonlights as a cook and chef. He's just put out a cookbook called Breakfast at Timothy's. Hear about some of his suggested recipes for the first and most important meal of the day.

Purchase Featured AlbumJ.S. Bach - Reconstructions and Transcriptions for Strings

Related: Purchase Dr. Timothy O'Lenic's Breakfast at Timothy's

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