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.
December 21, 2014 Biscuits and Bach: Baroque for Christmas
Tune in for a special "Baroque for Christmas" edition of Biscuits and Bach. As part of this annual tradition, we'll feature the acclaimed Harmonia Mundi recording of the Academy for Ancient Music, Berlin, the RIAS Chamber Choir, and conductor Rene Jacobs performing Parts I and II of Bach's Christmas Oratorio.
We also hear selections for Advent and Christmas from Tallis, Purcell, Molter and other Baroque and Renaissance composers. And Robert Shaw leads the Atlanta Symphony and Chamber Chorus in Bach's Magnificat in D. Throughout the program, members of the WDAV staff share their special Christmas memories.
December 14, 2014 Biscuits and Bach
This week we get into the holiday spirit with Anonymous 4's album "Wolcum Yule - Celtic and British Carols and Songs." We'll hear traditional tunes from around the British Isles including a carol written by Henry VIII.
After guitarist Peter Blanchette spent a year learning to play the lute, he decided it just wasn't the right instrument for him. He enjoyed playing guitar, but the guitar wasn't capable of easily playing the renaissance and baroque music he loved. So Blanchette solved his problem by creating the archguitar which combined characteristics of a lute and a Spanish vihuela (an early guitar-like instrument.)
This week Peter Blanchette joins Rachel for an interesting chat about his unique instrument and the beautiful sounds it can make. We'll sample his Archguitar Christmas album, and you'll also find out what his wife makes for breakfast on Sunday mornings.
Many people are surprised to learn that Vivaldi wrote more concerti for bassoon than any other instrument besides violin. (37 complete, 2 fragments) But for whom did he write them? Was there a particular musician he had in mind? No one knows.
Nadina Mackie Jackson, a talented bassoonist from Canada, is on a mission to record all of the bassoon concerti, mysterious though they may be, and has recently released volume one of what promises to be a five album series. It's our featured recording this week on Biscuits and Bach.
Johann Friedrich Fasch was an exact contemporary of Bach, Handel and Telemann. He's not remembered with quite the same reverence as those classical music giants, but his music is still widely respected and played in modern times. He was esteemed in his own time as well, and you'll hear why when we feature the new recording of his quartets and concertos from Edinburgh's Ensemble Marsyas.
And Rachel talks with April McGreger, the author of a new book about the South's favorite vegetable, sweet potatoes. It's part of the UNC Press Savor the South Cookbook series. Find out why sweet potatoes have been so important to Southerners historically, and hear about the many innovative and unusual ways they can be prepared.
Vivaldi wrote only one double concerto for cellos, but many of his concerti lend themselves to this particular instrumentation. English cellist, Julian Lloyd Webber, has arranged several Vivaldi double concerti so that he and his cellist wife, JiaXin Lloyd Webber, can play these remarkable works together. They've just released an album of these specially arranged works, and we feature it this week.
And Rachel talks with Anne MacLeod of Auchtermuchty, Fife in Scotland about how to make proper scones and the merits of eating a good haggis.
Bach’s French Suites acquired their name after his death when a biographer described them as being written in the French style. That was partially true although today most scholars would argue that they incorporate more elements of the Italian style popular during the Baroque period. Russian-born American pianist Sergey Schepkin has recently released a recording of these suites as part of his quest to record all of Bach’s keyboard music playing a modern piano. We listen to some selections from it this week.
And Rachel travels to Inverness, Scotland and the kitchen of Karen and Ian Thomson to find out how Ian makes his delicious bacon rolls, a popular breakfast food in Scotland.
Although Vivaldi's music wasn't well-known until the 20th century and his Four Seasons wasn't recorded until 1950, you can hardly find a famous violinist today who hasn't made his or her own recording of these treasured concerti. Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto is the latest to contribute a Four Seasons album to the long list that already exist. Kuusisto is a classical music star in his home country, and he is gaining an international reputation. We'll hear how his interpretations of these favorite works compare to the many others that exist.
Joshua Bell confesses that Bach's music is a huge presence in his life. With his ensemble, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, he has just released an album called "Bach." He's chosen some of the greatest works from Bach's violin repertoire including the Violin Concertos in A minor and E major, the beloved Chaconne and the Air from the Orchestral Suite No. 3. We'll sample tracks from the album this week.
And we'll revisit a conversation WDAV's Frank Dominguez had with Bell about working with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and his favorite breakfast dish from childhood.
Family connections are the theme of violinist Lisa Batiashvili's new recording simply entitled "Bach." The 35-year-old from Soviet Georgia teams up with her husband, renowned French oboist Francoix Leleux, and other close associates to perform music by Johann Sebastian Bach and his innovative son, Carl Philipp Emmanuel. We'll hear several selections from the album this week.
And Rachel chats with banjo virtuoso extraordinaire, Bela Fleck, about moving beyond folk music, playing baroque music on banjo, and savoring burned food.
This week we feature an album enables us to pay tribute to the late Christopher Hogwood (read Hogwood's New York Times obituary) and his Academy of Ancient Music with performances of Handel’s Water Music, Royal Fireworks Music, plus the three Concertos a due cori.
Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier is a cornerstone of keyboard music and is considered to be one of the most influential works ever written. Haydn and Mozart studied it closely as did many composers who came later. Bach wrote Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier in 1722, and described it as “for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study.” French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard has just released a new recording of Book I on Deutsche Grammophon, and we feature it this week.
In addition, Rachel talks with food writer Belinda Ellis about her book, Biscuits, a Savor the South cookbook from UNC Press. Listen to see if she shares her secrets to making a good biscuit.