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."

Harald Hoffmann, courtesy of Decca

On the program:

French Suite No. 5 in G, BWV 816 - Till Fellner, piano

Cantata BWV 26 Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig (translation) - Yukari Nonoshita, soprano; Robin Blaze, alto; Makoto Sakurada, tenor; Peter Kooy, bass; Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki, conductor

Chorale Prelude on Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig, BWV 644 - Simon Preston, organ (Metzler Organ at Trinity College, Cambridge)

Sonata for harpsichord and violin in C minor, BWV 1017 - Janine Jansen, violin; Jan Jansen, harpsichord

"Vision," a sunlight reflection
By Anagoria (CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

On the program:

French Suite No. 3 in B minor, BWV 814 - Murray Perahia

Cantata BWV 79, Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild (translation) - Sandrine Piau, soprano; Bogna Bartosz, alto; Klaus Mertens, bass; Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Ton Koopman, conductor

Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F, BWV 1046 - American Bach Soloists, Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

Stephan Schmidt
courtesy of the artist

On the program:

Trio Sonata in G minor, BWV 1030 (after the Flute Sonata in B minor) - Rare Fruits Council

Cantata BWV 115 Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit (translation) - Barbara Schlick, soprano;  Andreas Scholl, alto;  Christoph Pregardien, tenor;  Concerto Vocale of Leipzig and Baroque Ensemble of Limoges, Christoph Coin, director

Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro, BWV 998 - Stephan Schmidt, ten-string guitar

Isabelle Faust
Felix Broede

On the program:

Chorale Prelude Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 645 - Craig F. Humber, organ (Silbermann organ at St. Peter's Church, Freiburg, Germany)

Partita No. 3 in E for Solo Violin, BWV 1006 - Isabelle Faust, violin

Cantata BWV 180, Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele (translation) - Sophie Karthäuser, soprano; Petra Noskaiová, alto; Christoph Genz, tenor; Dominik Wörner, bass; La Petite Bande, Sigiswald Kuijken, conductor

Marco Borggreve

On the program:

Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV 871, from Book Two of The Well-Tempered Clavier - Edward Aldwell, piano

"Bleibt, ihr Engel, bleibt bei mir!" from Cantata BWV 19 - James Gilchrist, tenor;  English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Morimur - Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004, with selected chorale harmonizations - Christoph Poppen, violin;  The Hilliard Ensemble

Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, Sinfonia from Actus tragicus, BWV 106 (arr. Kurtag) - Gyorgy and Marta Kurtag, piano