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.
September 6, 2015 Staier: Harpsichord Concertos Bach's seven keyboard concertos are special in several ways. They are major and pivotal works in the development of the concertante form. And they are some of the few compositions by Bach that have come down to us in the form of an autographed score which has been a boon to many a musicologist and musician. Harpsichordist Andreas Staier has just release a new double album of all seven works recorded with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and Petra Mullejans. It's our featured recording this week.
August 30, 2015 Kotova: The Cello Suites Bach’s Cello Suites are some of his works best known and loved by modern audiences. Amazingly, they were rarely heard until Pablo Casals began performing them nearly a century ago. This week we listen to a 2014 recording made by Russian-born cellist, Nina Kotova. She plays the 1673 Stradivarius cello that once belonged to Jacueline du Pré and was recently owned by Lynn Harrell. And we’ll hear the third and final part of Rachel’s conversation with The Thistle and Shamrock’s Fiona Ritchie about her book Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia. Ritchie talks about what surprised her most when researching the book and how music from both sides of the Atlantic has been shaped by centuries of adaptation and change.
August 23, 2015 Mullova-Dantone: Bach Sonatas Listen Now When J.S. Bach worked in the court at Cothen, he had time to focus on composing instrumental works as the Calvinist prince did not require much church music. During this time, Bach wrote several groundbreaking works, including his violin sonatas. This week we'll hear the 2007 recording of these sonatas by violinist Viktoria Mullova. And we'll continue our conversation with The Thistle & Shamrock's Fiona Ritchie about her book Wayfaring Strangers. Ritchie talks about how tunes, recipes, and herbals traveled back and forth across the Atlantic influencing musicians, cooks and healers on both shores over the generations.
In their day, Bach was known and respected as an organist, and Handel worked for kings. But it was Georg Philipp Telemann who was most in demand as a composer in their German homeland. He was by far the most prolific and financially successful of the three. Even though history has seemed to relegate him to third place among these great German Baroque composers, his enormous talent should not be underestimated. He taught himself composition, learned to play many instrument and had a keen business sense. This week we’ll listen to an album of his string concertos performed by Musica Antiqua of Cologne led by violinist Reinhard Goebel. And we’ll also hear the first in a three-part conversation with Fiona Ritchie, host of The Thistle and Shamrock. Ritchie has written a book with Doug Orr called Wayfaring Strangers which explores the connections between the folk music of Scotland, Ulster and the southern Appalachians. This week she’ll explain the history of this music culture moving from the old to the new world.
This week we take a listen to a 2012 3-CD set compilation of baroque-era favorites which have been reissued on the Erato label. It’s called Baroque Treasures. We’ll hear first rate performances of favorites by Bach, Handel and Pachelbel. We’ll also listen to compositions by composers Claudio Monteverdi and Giorgio Mainerio who came a century or more before Bach.
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.
Purchase Featured Album:Six Suites for 'Cello Solo for Acoustic GuitarCDbaby | iTunes
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.