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 Easter Oratorio is not one of his most performed works. Perhaps it's because of its inauspicious beginnings as a dramma per musica about shepherds and shepherdesses. In fact, some might say it's somewhat forgotten. But conductor John Eliot Gardiner confesses to his liking for the work in the liner notes of his newest recording with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists. We'll sample their performance of this low profile yet moving work as we enjoy a morning filled with baroque music for Easter Sunday.
Today no one would consider Bach's music controversial, but when he introduced his St. John Passion to his Leipzig congregation in 1724, it was a bold move. Operatic Passion music such as Bach wrote was contentious, and the people of Leipzig were used to a more simple setting of plainchant. The people must have been pleased, however, since the St. John Passion was performed three more times during Bach's tenure in Leipzig. The Academy of Ancient Music and the Choir of th AAM have just released a new recording of this masterpiece which differs from many other recordings in that it is a performance of Bach's first version from 1724. We feature it on the Palm Sunday edition of Biscuits and Bach.
Today we celebrate the 5th anniversary of Biscuits and Bach with live music, giveaways and complimentary biscuits from Bojangles and coffee from Summit Coffee. Cellist Tanja Bechtler and pianist Cynthia Lawing will perform baroque music in the Clark Performance Studio, and we’ll feature a new album of Bach’s Lutheran Masses. Rachel will visit briefly with Jane Cain, Director of Music at Davidson College Presbyterian Church, and talk about the upcoming performance by the Christ Church Cathedral Choir of Oxford. And WDAV opens its doors 9am – 1pm for Biscuits & Bach & Bojangles. Stop by the station, say hello, listen to some music and grab a biscuit!
Although she’s made numerous recordings over the years, Anne Akiko Meyers is just now releasing an album of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Perhaps subconsciously she’s been waiting for the perfect moment which now seems to have arrived with her acquisition of the Vieuxtemps Guarneri de Gesù violin, an iconic instrument with an exquisite tone. This particular Guarneri violin and the Four Seasons originated in northern Italy around the same time, and even though the esteemed violin maker and the illustrious composer probably never met, the music and the instrument seem made for each other. Judge for yourself as we listen to Anne Akiko Meyers’ exciting and beautiful interpretations of the concerti this week. She also chats with us about her new violin and making The Vivaldi Album.
Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are revered as some of his finest compositions and indeed some of the greatest of all music. As incomprehensible as it seems, they lay unplayed and unknown for nearly 100 years after their creator's death.
But today, fortunately, we have numerous quality recordings and performances of them to enjoy. The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra has just added to their number by releasing an excellent album of Brandenburg recordings which we sample on this week's program.
The story of the Virgin of Guadalupe has been inspiring the faithful since 1531 when legend has it the Virgin revealed herself to Saint Juan Diego on Mount Tepeyac in Mexico. It has played a part in evangelism in the Americas ever since. In 1764, Italian-born composer Ignacio de Jerusalem who was chapel master of Mexico City Cathedral composed his Matins for the Virgin of Guadalupe. This incredible music was unheard for nearly 200 years until recorded by Chanticleer in 1997. This week we feature selections from their 1998 album, Matins for the Virgin of Guadalupe.
And Rachel chats with cellist Alisa Weilerstein about her new Dvorak album, Bach's importance to her as a musician, and instruments made from cereal boxes.
Bach wrote his Inventions and Sinfonias in 1723 as a musical guide for keyboard players, and they remain a core part of the piano repertoire. The Inventions are the first keyboard pieces by Bach pianist Simone Dinnerstein remembers hearing, and at first, she confesses she never thought she'd be able to master them. But master them she has, and her latest release on Sony Classical, J.S. Bach's Inventions & Sinfonias, features these beloved works.
Dinnerstein herself joins us to talk about the recording and the importance of Bach to her as a musician. And if you’ve ever wondered what exactly counterpoint is, she explains it in plain English.
This week hear music that Louis XIV heard when we feature Florilegium’s latest release on the Channel Classics label, Couperin and Rebel, which explores selections written by two of France’s most important baroque composers. Both worked in the Court of Versailles and gained fame throughout Europe.
We’ll also talk with food writer Kathleen Purvis about her latest book Bourbon, A Savor the South Cookbook. Purvis will enlighten us about how bourbon is made and share some surprising recipes for this iconic Southern liquor.
If you’re of a certain age, when you hear “Bohemian music,” the word “rhapsody” probably comes to mind (and perhaps even images of men wearing Spandex). But before there was a “Bohemian Rhapsody,” there was the Bohemian violin virtuoso-cum-composer. This week we feature a brand new album from the Czech label, Supraphon, entitled Il Violino Boemo – Music from 18th-Century Prague which features violin sonatas by little-known 18th century Bohemian composers who were also excellent violinists.
And Rachel talks with Barbara Krumdieck, Artistic Director of Music at St. Alban’s in Davidson, about their concerts to celebrate the 300th birth anniversary of CPE Bach which they are giving in partnership with Music at St. Peter’s in Charlotte. According to Barbara, CPE is not quite a chip off the old block.
Bach's collection of 48 preludes and fugues known as The Well-Tempered Clavier is one of the most influential works in music history. Intended to illuminate the pursuits of "musical youth desirous of learning," it was studied closely by Haydn and Mozart as well as later composers. The paired preludes and fugues encompass a wide range of styles, and every key is represented making it an excellent "text book." London-based South African pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar has recently released a recording of both books of The Well-Tempered Clavier which is our featured recording this week. As you listen, you can compare selections from Book I and Book II which were written 20 years apart.
January 26, 2014 Biscuits and Bach On her newly released album, Russian-born American pianist, Julia Zilberquit, helps connect the dots between the early Italian concerto form which crystalized in Vivaldi’s compositions and the sublime heights reached by Bach’s solo keyboard concertos. We’ll hear selections from J.S. Bach: Complete Solo Keyboard Concertos from Warner Classics.
And Rachel talks to Charlotte dancer/choreographer Juliana Tilbury of Plexus Dance about her surprising choreography of music by Bach. Spoiler alert: It’s not ballet.