The Bach Hour

Sundays 6-7am, Mondays midnight-2am

The virtually limitless well of music by J.S. Bach has always had a prominent place on radio airwaves in Boston. Whether it’s an iconic work like the Toccata and Fugue in D minor or a rarely heard but emotionally riveting church cantata, Bach’s music is a touchstone, returning listeners to a foundation on which so much subsequent music has been built.

The Bach Hour grows out of a tradition begun in the early 1970's by Robert J. Lurtsema of WGBH 89.7 FM.  As one of the earliest sets of the complete Bach cantatas on record (Leonhardt and Harnoncourt) was being released, they became a regular fixture on each Sunday's edition of Morning Pro Musica, Lurtsema's unique daily program.  Now, on The Bach Hour, those cantatas, with the rich and diverse range of performances now available, are heard on the calendar days for which they were written.  Combined with recent and classic recordings of Bach's instrumental masterpieces and occasional interviews with significant interpreters, each week's program offers a chance to connect more deeply with this bedrock composer.

Hear The Bach Hour each Sunday at 6am on 99.5 WCRB.

Listen to The Bach Channel - a continuous stream of Bach Hour episodes - by clicking the down-facing arrow in the gray menu bar, and clicking on "Bach Channel."

Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

This week on The Bach Hour, Alessio Bax plays piano transcriptions of some of Bach's most beloved works.

Tim Heirman

On the program:

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654 (trans. Max Reger) - Markus Becker, piano

Cantata BWV 154 Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren (translation) - Caroline Weynants, soprano; Patrick van Goethem, countertenor; Il Gardellino, Marcel Ponseele, director

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, from Cantata BWV 147 (arr. Empire Brass) - Empire Brass; Douglas Major, organ (National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.)

Oboe Concerto in F, BWV 1053 - Il Gardellino, Marcel Ponseele, oboe and director

Sinfonia in D, BWV 1045 - Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki, conductor

xave, via Flicker [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]

On the program:

Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G, BWV 1048 - English Baroque Soloists

Partita No. 5 in G, BWV 829 - Igor Levit, piano

Cantata BWV 190 Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (translation) - Daniel Taylor, alto; James Gilchrist, tenor; Peter Harvey, bass; Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Solosits, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Philippe Herreweghe
Michiel Hendryckx

On the program:

English Suite No. 4 in F, BWV 809 - Angela Hewitt, piano

Cantata BWV 63 Christen, ätzet diesen Tag (translation) - Carolyn Sampson, soprano;  Ingeborg Danz, alto;  Mark Padmore, tenor,;  Sebastien Noack, bass;  Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

Chorale preludes: Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich, BWV 605, and Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar, BWV 607 - Simon Preston, organ (Klosterkirke, Soro)

Hildebrandt organ at St. Wenceslas Church, Naumburg, German
Rabanus Flavus / Wikimedia Commons

On the program:

Sleepers Wake!, from Cantata BWV 140 - Empire Brass;  Douglas Major, organ (National Cathedral)

Cantata BWV 132 Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn! (translation) - Brigitte Geller, soprano;  Michael Chance, countertenor;  Jan Kobow, tenor;  Dietrich Henschel, bass;  Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Canonic Variations on Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her, BWV 769a - Gerhard Weinberger, organ (Zacharias Hildebrandt Organ at St. Wenceslas [St Wenzel] Church, Naumburg, Germany)

Concerto in C minor for Violin and Oboe after BWV 1060 - Jeanne Lamon, violin and director;  John Abberger, oboe;  Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

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