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."

Fugue in A-flat, BWV 862, from Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier - Onyx Brass

Cantata BWV 108 Es ist euch gut, dass ich hingehe (translation) - Robin Blaze, countertenor;  James Gilchrist, tenor;  Dominik Wörner, bass;  Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki, conductor

Partita No. 4 in D, BWV 828 - David Fray, piano

On the program:

Triple Concerto in A minor, BWV 1044 - Rachel Brown, flute;  Pauline Nobes, violin;  Richard Egarr, harpsichord;  Academy of Ancient Music, Andrew Manze, director

Cantata BWV 42 Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats (translation) - Yukari Nonoshita, soprano;  Robin Blaze, counter-tenor;  James Gilchrist, tenor;  Dominik Wörner, bass;  Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki, conductor

Marco Borggreve

On the program:

Three Chorale Preludes: Erstanden ist der heil'ge Christ, BWV 628, Erscheinen ist der herrliche Tag, BWV 629, and Heut triumphiert Gottes Sohn, BWV 630 - Simon Preston, organ (Klosterkirke, Soro)

Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D, BWV 1069 - Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Andrew Parrott, conductor

Cantata BWV 31 Der Himmel lacht!  die Erde jubilieret (translation) - Barbara Schlick, soprano; Guy de Mey, tenor; Klaus Mertens, bass; Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Chorus, Ton Koopman, conductor

Sinfonia from Easter Oratorio BWV 249 (arr. Empire Brass) - Empire Brass; Douglas Major, organ (National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.)

Anthony Parmelee

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers talks about Bach's music and her recording entitled "Air," on which she plays both parts of Bach's Double Concerto.

On the program:

Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F, BWV 1047 - Maurice Andre, trumpet;  Janos Rolla, violin;  Maxence Larrieu, flute;  Bernard Schenkel, oboe;  Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra

Cantata BWV 131 Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir (translation) - Regine Jurda, alto;  Maximilian Kiener, tenor;  Franz Schlecht, bass;  Arcis-Vocalisten Munich and L'Arpa Festante Baroque Orchestra, Thomas Gropper, conductor

Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041:  III. Allegro assai - Anne Akiko Meyers, violin;  English Chamber Orchestra, Steven Mercurio, conductor

Concerto in D minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043 - Anne Akiko Meyers, violin 1 & 2;  English Chamber Orchestra, Steven Mercurio, conductor

On the program:

Concerto in A minor (orig. D minor), BWV 596 - Flanders Recorder Quartet

Cantata, BWV 125 Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin (translation) -Robin Blaze, counter-tenor; Andreas Weller, tenor; Peter Kooy, bass; Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki, conductor

Concerto in C for 2 pianos, BWV 1061 -Christoph Eschenbach and Justus Frantz, pianos; Hamburg Philharmonic