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."

courtesy of Cantata Singers

David Hoose, the conductor of Boston's Cantata Singers, joins Brian McCreath for an in-depth look at J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor, featuring a performance with the Leipzig Radio Choir, Staatskapelle Dresden, and conductor Peter Schreier.

For more about the Mass in B minor, visit the Oregon Bach Festival's Digital Bach Project.

Kristof Fischer

On the program:

Toccata, Adagio & Fugue in C, BWV 564 - Gerhard Weinberger, organ (St. Martin's Church, Groningen, the Netherlands)

Cantata BWV 181 Leichtgesinnte Flattergeister (translation) - James Gilchrist, tenor;  Stephan Loges, bass;  English Baroque Soloists & Monteverdi Choir, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Contrapunctus 1-4, 7, Canon 16, and Contrapunctus 9 from The Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080 - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

James McMillan, courtesy of DECCA

Countertenor Andreas Scholl talks with host Brian McCreath about life, music, and Bach, recorded in Oct. 2011, when Scholl visited Boston for a concert presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston.

On the program:

Cantata BWV 200 Bekennen will ich seinen Namen - Andreas Scholl, countertenor; Basel Chamber Orchestra

Violin Concerto E, BWV 1042 - Lisa Batiashvili, violin; Chamber Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

Prelude and Fugue in B, BWV 868 - Andras Schiff, piano

Cantata BWV 82 Ich habe genug (translation) - Andreas Scholl, countertenor; Basel Chamber Orchestra

A.B., via Wikimedia Commons

On the program:

Lute Suite No. 4, BWV 1006a - David Russell, guitar

Cantata BWV 51 Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen! (translation) - Malin Hartelius, soprano;  Niklas Eklund, trumpet;  English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
(recorded in concert at Unser Lieben Frauen Church in Bremen, Germany, during Gardiner's Bach Cantata Pilgrimage)

Canons on the Ground from the Goldberg Variations, BWV 1087 - Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041 - Alina Ibragimova, violin; Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen, conductor

Esa-Pekka Salonen
Clive Barda / LA Philharmonic

On the program:

Fugue in G minor, BWV 578 "Little" (arr. Stowkowski) - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

Cello Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007 - Phoebe Carrai, cello

Cantata BWV 73 Herr, wie du willt, so schick's mit mir (translation) - Yukari Nonoshita, soprano; Gerd Türk, tenor; Peter Kooy, bass; Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suziki, director

Prelude and Fugue in E-flat, BWV 552 "St. Anne" (arr. Schoenberg) - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor