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.
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.
February 22, 2015 Biscuits and Bach As a virtuoso mandolinist, Avi Avital is good at adapting his instrument for all kinds of music from Bach to tango. On his brand new album Avi Avital: Vivaldi, he brings it back to its foundational repertoire written by Antonio Vivaldi. He refers to the Red Priest's mandolin compositions as "the Old Testament." And he is its scholar with a new translation/interpretation. We'll sample the recording this week.
Also, WDAV's Frank Dominguez talks with Andrew Griffiths and Kate Ashby of the UK's renowned vocal ensemble, Stile Antico, about the thrill of discovering breakfast at Cracker Barrel for the first time.
Soprano Kathleen Battle and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis teamed up on 1992 for an album called Baroque Duet. The pairing of Battle's exquisitely pure tone and Marsalis's virtuosic brilliance makes for beautiful arrangements of baroque favorites like Handel's "Let the Bright Seraphim." We sample several tracks from this excellent partnership on this week's program.
And Rachel talks with Dr. Eric Nelson, conductor, and Dr. Paul Westermeyer, liturgist, about their roles in the upcoming Festival of Church Music at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. Find out what a liturgist does and whether you should eat before or after performing.
Purchase Featured CD: Baroque Duet - Kathleen Battle, Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis is best known as a jazz musician, but he also has an impressive resume of classical recordings. This week we’ll feature his 1996 recording, In Gabriel’s Garden, an album of baroque selections from various countriesin 18th century western Europe.
Bach wrote his six Trio Sonatas, BWV 525-530 for organ as a technical challenge for his oldest son Wilhelm Friedemann. But they are far more than utilitarian pedagogical pieces. They expand the definition of the trio sonata itself. Flutist Paula Robison and harpsichordist John Gibbons have interpreted these gems for their instruments on the album, J.S. Bach Sonatas BWV 525-530, which we feature this week.
And if you haven't planned your Super Bowl party menu yet, you can get some ideas and tips when Rachel chats with food writer Debbie Moose about the foods we love to eat at sporting events.
In the century before Bach was born, German composers were infatuated with and inspired by the experimental works of Italian composers, particularly the instrumental form, the sonata. The Germans wrote music with flamboyance and virtuosity that was unencumbered by vocals or words. Music writers of the day referred to this modern style as stylus fantasticus.
American early music ensemble, Quicksilver, has just released an album dedicated to this exciting time in music history entitled Fantasticus: Extravagant and Virtuosic Music of the German Seventeenth Century. It's our featured recording this week.
And WDAV's Frank Dominguez talks with conductor Gerard Schwarz and his cellist son Julian about baroque music and their favorite foods.
Bach’s contemporary, Arcangelo Corelli, was world famous in his own time. His music was loved from Russia to American where Thomas Jefferson was a fan. As popular as Corelli was, only a few of his original manuscripts survive.
Among those are the Violin Sonatas, Op. 5. These sonatas draw on dance rhythms and are playable on a variety of instruments besides the violin. They certainly suit the recorder as proven by renowned recorder player Michala Petri and harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani on their new album, Corelli La Follia. Listen for lively and lovely selections from it throughout the program this week.
This week, Rachel features a new release from the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo that showcases many styles of Bach. Pieces include The Art of Fugue, St. Matthew's Passion, and more. And Rachel chats with pianist Stephen Hough about his busy concert schedule, foods he's enjoyed around the world, and Twitter.
Very few original manuscripts from Bach have survived the centuries. Additionally, he was known to make arrangements and transcriptions of his own work to suit various instrumentations. So finding definitive versions of his works can prove difficult.
With this in mind, the ensemble Furor Musicus from the Netherlands has recorded an album called J.S. Bach: Reconstructions and Transcriptions for Strings. Much of the music on the recording will be recognizable to listeners, but the arrangements may offer a new perspective on a familiar piece. Listen for selections throughout the program this week.