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.
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.
On April 27th the classical music world lost a major figure when trumpeter and co-founder of the Empire Brass, Rolf Smedvig, died suddenly of a heart attack at age 62. Biscuits and Bach this Sunday pays tribute to him by spotlighting his 1993 Telarc label album, “Ceremonial Music for Trumpet & Organ.” We enjoy Mr. Smedvig's beautiful tone and virtuosity in selections by Handel, Mouret, Purcell and Bach.
During the Baroque period, the French and Italian styles of composition were prominent, and each had its camp of champions. French composer Francois Couperin brought the rival styles together in his lengthy masterpiece, Les Nations (in English, The Nations). In each of The Nations' four suites, Couperin puts the Italian trio sonata next to the French dance suite achieving an artistically diplomatic result.
Juilliard Baroque, made up of respected early music specialists, has just released a recording of Couperin's massive work on the Naxos label, and we feature it this week.
April 26, 2015 Biscuits and Bach Sir James Galway is much beloved by classical music audiences, and he's the most celebrated flutist in the world. In honor of his 75th birthday, all of his recordings for RCA Red Seal have been issued together as a 73-cd box set. We'll focus on the baroque recordings among them this week.
And Sir James will join Rachel for a chat about Mozart, Bach, Pink Floyd and grits. You'll be amazed by how well he understands this Southern delicacy.
Antonio Vivaldi wrote an astonishing number of concerti for bassoon, 37 complete and 2 fragments. We don’t know exactly what inspired this prodigious output. Were they written for a bassoon virtuoso? A bassoon afficianado? One of the students at the Venetian girls school where Vivaldi worked? We’ll probably never know for sure, but Canadian bassoonist, Nadina Mackie Jackson is on a mission to record them all. She’s made a start with an album she calls Volumn One. We listen to tracks from it this week.
This Sunday, we feature J.S. & C.P.E. Bach: Sonatas For Viola Da Gamba And Harpsichord Transcribed For Cello. The album features two members of London’s baroque ensemble, The Brook Street Band, hailed as "the smartest new baroque band around" by The Times, London.
Laments were a common form of both secular and sacred music during the Baroque era with sacred laments usually being built around texts appropriate for Holy Week. This week we listen to the 2011 album from Les Art Florissants entitled Lamentazione. Selections are by Italian composers, mostly Venetian and Roman, who made use of stile antico, a style harkening back to the Renaissance.
And Rachel talks with Dr. Kenney Potter about an upcoming concert featuring Bach's Mass in b minor. His Wingate University Singers perform with the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra. He also reveals how he manages to get to his Sunday church job on time and still eat breakfast.
Event: University Singers with the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra April 10, 2015 More information
Violinist Gil Shaham started playing Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin nearly 30 years ago, but he only started to perform them in his concerts about 10 years ago. In 2014, after all those years of becoming intimately familiar with these masterpieces, he finally felt the time was right to commit his performances to disc. The resulting recording, released March 10th, contains Shaham's beautiful and thoughtful interpretations of these compositions which have been described as among the greatest achievements in human history.
We listen to selections this week, and Gil Shaham joins Rachel Stewart for a conversation about playing Bach, and he tells us which breakfast food is his guilty pleasure.
Art of the Fugue, one of Bach's very last works, has an aura of mystery. The score specifies no particular instruments, and the work is seemingly unfinished. In many ways it is an intellectual exercise. In any case, it is the definitive exploration of fugal counterpoint by an unrivaled master.
This week we listen to organist Barbara Harbach's recording of the great opus made in 1989 and 1990. Harbach also includes Pachelbel's Canon and Chorale Preludes by Bach on the album.
At the turn of the 18th century, Arcangelo Corelli was one the greatest violinists and teachers of the entire baroque era. His violin performance and composition techniques influenced generations of musicians.
This week, we feature a new release, Corelli’s Influence: Virtuoso Works for Baroque Violin from Alexander Woods. This album contains works by Corelli and two of his students in Rome, Pietro Castrucci and Antonio Montanari. The other composers represented evidently never crossed physical paths with Corelli, but were certainly influenced by his techniques and written treatises, Evaristo Felice Dall’abaco and Henrico Albicastro.