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."

Eric Milnes

On the program:

French Suite No. 6 in E, BWV 817 (arr. Feldmann) - Klaus and Rainer Feldmann, guitars

Cantata BWV 1 Wie schoen leuchtet der Morgenstern (translation) - Monika Mauch, soprano; Matthew White, countertenor; Charles Daniels, tenor; Stephan MacLeod, bass; Montreal Baroque, Eric Milnes, conductor

Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G, BWV 1048 - Dunedin Consort, John Butt, director

 

Harry Christophers
Handel and Haydn Society

Handel and Haydn Society Artist Director Harry Christophers talks with host Brian McCreath about Part Two of Bach's St. Matthew Passion.

On the program:
St. Matthew Passion:  highlights of Part Two (translation) - Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Evangelist (tenor);  Andreas Schmidt, Jesus (baritone);  Ann Monoyios and Barbara Bonney, soprano;  Anne Sofie von Otter, contralto;  Michael Chance, countertenor;  Howard Crook, tenor;  Monteverdi Choir, London Oratory Junior Choir, and English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Harry Christophers
Stu Rosner / Handel and Haydn Society

Handel and Haydn Society Artist Director Harry Christophers talks with host Brian McCreath about Part One of Bach's St. Matthew Passion.

On the program:
St. Matthew Passion:  highlights of Part One (translation) - Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Evangelist (tenor);  Andreas Schmidt, Jesus (baritone);  Ann Monoyios and Barbara Bonney, soprano;  Anne Sofie von Otter, contralto;  Michael Chance, countertenor;  Howard Crook, tenor;  Monteverdi Choir, London Oratory Junior Choir, and English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Kristof Fischer

On the program:

Trio Sonata in G, BWV 1039 - Ensemble Il Quadrifoglio

Cantata BWV 106 Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (Actus Tragicus) (translation) - Hannah Morrison, soprano; Meg Bragle, alto; Nicholas Mulroy, tenor; Peter Harvey, bass; Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin, BWV 616 - Simon Preston, organ (Sorø Abbey, Denmark)

Prelude & Fugue in D minor, K. 405/4 (after BWV 877); Prelude & Fugue in D, K. 405/5 (after BWV 874); Prelude & Fugue in E, K. 405/3 (after BWV 878), attr. Mozart - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

For more information about the April 6th concert featuring the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Bach's B minor x 4

Mar 2, 2017
clockwise, from upper right: portrait by E.G. Haussmann (1748); portrait by J.E. Rentsch (c. 1715); statue by C. Seffner (1908); forensic reconstruction by Caroline Wilkinson (2008)
Wikimedia Commons

Last weekend I spent a lot of time with Bach. Over the last four and a half months, I’ve spent a lot of time with Bach. “But you produce a show called The Bach Hour. Of course you’ve spent a lot of time with Bach!”

 

Yes, well, there is that. But this has been exceptional. Being at four different performances of Bach’s Mass in B minor since October has left me with two takeaways, one of them expected, the other unexpected. Neither takeaway is the, dare I say, cliché, “I heard things in the Mass I had never heard before.”

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