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.
August 2, 2015 Hancoff: The Cello Suites Listen Now In 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.
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July 26, 2015 Heras-Casado: Praetorius with Balthasar-Neumann Choir and Ensemble Since 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.
July 19, 2015 Smith: Bach's Cello Suites for Lute Listen Now Bach'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.
July 12, 2015 Lohmann: Furor Musicus; Breakfast at Timothy's Listen Now 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.
July 5, 2015 Academy for Ancient Music Berlin: Violin Concertos Listen Now This week The Academy for Ancient Music Berlin performs music from their album Bach Concertos for harpsichords, recorders, oboe and violin. Also known as Akamus the ensemble is known throughout Europe for their concert series. We also highlight selections from Bach's Trio Sonata in C and Two-part Inventions.
This week on Biscuits and Bach, we feature a double-CD album, Bach: 6 Partitas by Andras Schiff.
One of the things that makes this recording unique is Schiff’s reordering of the works: He orders them according to descending keys: G - a - B flat - c - D - e. It’s very effective and, if anything, makes for a more satisfying musical experience than simply listening to them in order, starting with the cheerful fifth partita, working through to the craggy grandeur of the sixth which finally slips from E minor into G major.
Albrecht Mayer is the Principal Oboe of the Berlin Philharmonic, and he's had a lifelong love of Bach's music. Bach didn't write much solo music for the oboe; so, in 2010 Mayer put out a recording of oboe concerti and chorales that were created from Bach cantata movements by arranger Andreas Tarkmann. We'll feature the album called Voices of Bach this week.
And for Father's Day, Dr. Raymond Erickson, Professor Emeritus (The Worlds of J.S. Bach) of Music at Queens College and the Graduate Center of CUNY, joins us to talk about Bach's family life.
Although he’s considered a relatively minor player in the history of Baroque music, Johann Friedrich Fasch was well known in his day, and his music was widely performed in Germany. Both Telemann and Bach admired Fasch and led performances of his compositions. He was regarded highly enough that he was offered the position of Cantor at St. Thomas in Leipzig, but he turned it down, and the city leaders had to settle for a candidate who was lower down their list, J.S. Bach.
This week we listen to Edinburgh based Ensemble Marsyas perform music by Fasch from their new recording, J.F. Fasch: Quartets and Concertos. Ensemble Marsyas is comprised of some of Europe’s most talented early music specialists.
Most people don't realize that pianist and Bach interpreter Glenn Gould wrote a string quartet, his Opus 1. The discovery of the existence of this quartet by the young musicians of The Catalyst Quartet led to their interest in arranging Bach's Goldberg Variations for their ensemble. After months of arranging, editing and reworking their transcription, they have recorded it for posterity. We'll listen to it this week.
And Rachel talks with barbecue pit master, Brent Babb, about the art of barbecuing pork and about how he came up with his Babb-A-Q Sauce recipe.
Henry Purcell wrote a number of musical dramas or semi-operas, the last of which is The Indian Queen. Purcell was unable to complete the score before his untimely death, and consequently, it is one of his least performed stage works. But the renowned early music choral group, The Sixteen along with founder/leader Harry Christophers, has just recorded the work and released it on their Coro label. We feature it this week.
And Rachel Stewart talks with Bela Fleck about why he doesn’t just play traditional banjo music and to what degree he likes his bread toasted.
May 24, 2015 Biscuits and Bach Bach’s music is flexible. It can and has been arranged for just about any instrument combination you can think of. But have you ever heard it played on a mandocello? This week we listen to a new recording with a refreshing take on Bach’s Inventions and Organ Duos by two of the world’s top mandolinists, Caterina Lichtenberg and Mike Marshall. Lichtenberg plays mandolin while Marshall plays mandocello, a lower pitched, larger member of the mandolin family which is to the mandolin as the cello is to the violin. These engaging and playful arrangements are a great accompaniment to Sunday mornings.
Bach's Flute Sonatas are some of the most important works of the flute repertoire. They're also some of the earliest. It is thought Bach stopped writing as much music for the recorder after first hearing a transverse flute around 1715. This week we listen to the 1993 recording of Bach's Flute Sonatas by American flutist Paul Fried who has spent a lifetime studying these works.
We also talk with Tom Lewtak from Lewtak Organ Builders who has spent his life with pipe organs, first as an organist and then as an organ builder. Hear what it's like to make a living in this unusual profession.