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."

Full Moon
Andrew Choy / Wikimedia Commons

On the program:

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Martin Luther) - Julia Gooding, soprano

Chorale prelude:  Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 660, and Chorale prelude:  Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 661 - His Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts, Timothy Roberts, director

Cantata:  Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 62 (translation) - Yukari Nonoshita, soprano;  Robin Blaze, alto;  Makoto Sakurada, tenor;  Peter Kooij, bass;  Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki, conductor

Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1066 - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Chorale prelude:  Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 599 - Peter Sykes, organ (Fisk organ at Old West Church, Boston)

Catrin Finch
Sven Sindt

On the program:

Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659 (arr. Busoni) - Nikolai Demidenko, piano

Cantata BWV 61 Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland [I] (translation) - Christine Schäfer, soprano;  Werner Güra, tenor;  Gerald Finley;  bass;  Arnold Schoenberg Choir & Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, conductor

Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (excerpts;  trans. Catrin Finch) - Catrin Finch, harp

Christmas Market in Leipzig

Chorale preludes:  Herr Christ, der einge Gottes-Sohn (Lord Christ, only Son of God), BWV 601, and Lob sei dem allmächtigen (Praise Be to God Almighty), BWV 602 - Gerhard Weinberger, organ (Joachim Wagner organ at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway)

French Suite No. 5 in G, BWV 816 - Simone Dinnerstein, piano

Cantata:  Schwingt freudig euch empor,  BWV 36 (translation) - Sibylla Rubens, soprano;  Christoph Pregardien, tenor;  Peter Kooy, bass;  Collegium Vocale, Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

3268zauber, via Wikimedia Commons

This week on The Bach Hour, hear an organ with porcelain pipes, a concerto played by Anderson and Roe, and a cantata about a young girl's love for coffee.

Sagar-Stewart for Steinway Ltd.

On the program:

Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, BWV 1047 - Friedemann Immer, trumpet; Christopher Krueger, recorder; Marc Schachman, oboe; Daniel Stepner, violin; Boston Baroque; Martin Pearlman, conductor

Andante from Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, BWV 1047 (trans. Eugene Goossens) - Jonathan Plowright, piano

Cantata BWV 116 Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ (translation) - Sibylla Rubens, soprano;  Annette Markert, alto;  Christoph Prégardien, tenor;  Klaus Mertens, bass;  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Ton Koopman, conductor

Fantasia in G, BWV 572 (trans. Arnold Bax) - Jonathan Plowright, piano

Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV 727 (trans. William Walton) - Jonathan Plowright, piano

Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn, BWV 648 (trans. John Ireland) - Jonathan Plowright, piano

Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich, BWV 605 (trans. Constant Lambert) - Jonathan Plowright, piano

Ach bleib' bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 649 (trans. Ralph Vaughan Williams) - Jonathan Plowright, piano

In dulci jubilo, BWV 729 (trans. Lord Berners) - Jonathan Plowright, piano