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.
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.
September 21, 2014 Biscuits and Bach There is a dearth of instrumental secular repertoire from 17th century Spain that survives today. What we do know is that instruments such as shawms, viols, violins and percussion played important roles in the music culture of Spain at that time and suggests that ensemble music was important.
On their album, Espanoleta, Pittsburgh's Chatham Baroque has taken known 17th century Spanish dances and pieces by Spaniards of the era and arranged them for violins, guitar, harp, theorbo, viola da gamba and percussion -- an instrumentation that may have been common at that time. We enjoy these pleasing arrangements when we feature the album on this week's program.
September 14, 2014 Biscuits and Bach Bach's famous cello suites have not always been so well known. Legendary cellist Pablo Casals brought them to the attention of modern audiences in the early 20th century. Since then every cellist worth his or her salt has learned to play the suites. This week we feature a recent recording of all six cello suites by Russian born cellist Nina Kotova who plays a 1673 Stradivarious once belonging to Jacqueline Dupree and recently owned by Lynn Harrell. And Rachel talks with Aaron Goen, associate organist at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Charlotte, about the first Center City Concert of the season, and the technique required to play baroque organ pieces.
When Bach worked for Prince Leopold August in Cöthen from 1717-1723, he was not required to produce much church music for the Calvinist court. Instead Bach produced many of his secular and instrumental masterpieces. His Six Violin Sonatas were produced during this period, and they are groundbreaking. For the first time, the harpsichord has an equal role with the violin; it's not just basso continuo. This week violinist Viktoria Mullova and harspichordist Ottavio Dantone perform these great works when we feature their album of Bach Violin Sonatas on the Onyx label.
And violinist Robert McDuffie, a Macon Georgia native, talks about finding Southern food in the Big Apple.
The top composer in Germany in the early 18th century? Modern audiences would name Bach no doubt. But Bach's contemporaries would bestow that honor on Georg Philipp Telemann. Telemann's energy, upbeat style, entrepreneurism and prolific output ensured his popularity with the public and other musicians. This week we sample just a few of the many pieces written by Telemann on the recording, Telemann String Concertos, which was released in 2000 by Musica Antiqua Cologne and conductor Reinhard Goebel.
This week enjoy several baroque hits from superstars Bach, Handel and Pachelbel when we listen to featured album, A Baroque Festival. Released in 1988 by the Virgin Classics Label, A Baroque Festival continues to be a popular album for baroque music enthusiasts and features The Taverner Players and Andrew Parrott. Parrott founded The Taverner Players in 1973 and leads them through spirited renditions of these classics loyal to the period instrument philosophy of bringing authentic interpretations to modern audiences.
August 17, 2014 Biscuits and Bach Most Bach fans are familiar with the Anna Magdalena Notebook compiled by Bach's second wife for the purpose of instructing their children in music. But there is also a Wilhelm Friedemann Bach notebook put together by Bach for his eldest son by his first wife, Maria Barbara. Bach apparently took great care in training his talented son for a life in music. We hear selections from the notebook as recorded by German-American pianist Wolfgang Rubsam on a 1995 Naxos recording. And we talk to food writer and Appalachian foodways expert, Fred Sauceman, about the culinary heritage of our region. It involves pigs, corn and pot likker.
August 10, 2014 Biscuits and Bach In 1991, a previously unknown collection of music was discovered at Aalholm Hall on the island of Lolland in Denmark. Over 200 works by the likes of Vivaldi and Haydn had remained hidden from the world for 200 years. In 1993, Concerto Copenhagen, under the direction of Andrew Manze, recorded four works from this astonishing collection for the Chandos label. We feature the resulting album, "Flute Concertos by Scheibe, Agrell & Hasse" this week.
And Rachel Stewart talks with food writer Debbie Moose about a few of the fifty million ways to make potato salad.
If you’re a fan of baroque chamber music or the recorder, you’re in for a treat this week. We feature the 1988 album from the Boston-based label, Titanic: 18th-century Recorder Sonatas with Marion Verbruggen, recorder, John Gibbons, harpsichord and Christina Mahler, cello. The disc has selections from greats like Telemann, Bach and Corelli as well as lesser known composers such as Jean-Baptiste Loeillet.
And Rachel talks with Dr. Tom Hanchett, Staff Historian of the Levine Museum of the New South, about several books on Southern food he’s recently discovered.
Twenty years ago Paul Goodwin was one of England's top oboists before he gave up performing as a soloist and turned to conducting full time. This week we take a listen to one of his best recordings as an oboist, Bach-Telemann: Oboe & Oboe d'amore Concertos. The Bach works on this album are reconstructions as no manuscript for a Bach oboe concerto exists.
And Rachel Stewart talks worth conductor JoAnn Falletta about eating in the various cities where she works -- Buffalo, Norfolk and Belfast -- not to mention Brevard, NC, where she participates in the Brevard Music Festival each summer.
The fortepiano was invented near the end of Bach’s life, and the great composer was invited to play one of the new instruments at the Court of Frederick the Great. Scholars believe one of Bach’s flute sonatas was written with the fortepiano in mind, and using that as a starting point, flutist Susan Rotholtz and keyboard master Kenneth Cooper recorded an album in 2002 of Bach flute sonatas using a fortepiano. It’s our featured disc this week.
And Frank Dominguez talks with Susan and Steve Talley who are the organist and music ministry director respectively of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. They discuss what it’s like to be a church musician and how that impacts the first meal of the day.
In Bach’s time and before organs were used in both sacred and secular settings much more than today. This week we feature a 1992 release on Decca’s old sub-label, Argo, called Trumpet Voluntary – Music for Organ and Brass which boasts familiar and not so familiar baroque pieces arranged for brass and organ. These types of arrangements were ubiquitous in the 17th and 18th centuries. Peter Hurford, who at 83 is still considered one of the world’s top organists, plays the organ of Ratzeburg Cathedral, Germany, and he teams up with The Michael Laird Brass Ensemble for performances that are sure to please the ear.
Joining Rachel to talk about food this week is Brian Sonoskus, Executive Chef at Tupelo Honey Café. The restaurant has a new cookbook out that celebrates food traditions of the mountain south. Ramps anyone?