The Bach Hour | WCRB

CLASSICAL MUSIC/99.5

A production of  

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.

More about The Bach Hour


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To hear about Bach's life and music one story at a time, listen to Bach Minutes.

Cantata No. 12, and Brandenburg Concerto No. 4

Cantata No. 12, and Brandenburg Concerto No. 4

The Bach Hour | WCRB

Harvard University's Christoph Wolff describes Bach's approach to transforming works by other composers.

On the program:

Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G, BWV 1049 - Daniel Stepner, violin;  Christopher Krueger and Roy Sansom, recorders;  Boston Baroque, Martin Pearlman, conductor

Cantata BWV 12 Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (translation) - Daniel Taylor, alto;  Mark Padmore, tenor;  Peter Kooy, bass;  Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

Concerto in A minor, BWV 593 (after Vivaldi) - Gerhard Weinberger, organ (Zacharias Hildenbrandt organ at St. Wenceslaus Church, Naumberg, Germany)

The Trost Organ at Altenburg in Cantata No. 146

The Trost Organ at Altenburg in Cantata No. 146

The Bach Hour | WCRB

On the program:

Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582 - Gerhard Weinberger, organ (1739 Trost organ at the Schlosskirche, Altenburg, Germany)

Cantata BWV 146 Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen (translation) - Brigitte Geller, soprano; William Towers, alto; Mark Padmore, tenor; Julian Clarkson, bass; Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

(photo of Altenburg Castle Church and the Trost organ via ecv5 at Flickr under Creative Commons)

Lost and Found Bach

Lost and Found Bach

The Bach Hour | WCRB

Harvard University's Christoph Wolff tells the story of a work of Bach's discovered in 2005.

On the program:

Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr', BWV 662 (Leipzig) - Jacob Street, organ (Richards, Fowkes, & Co. organ at First Lutheran Church, Boston)

Cantata BWV 112 Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt - Katharine Fuge, soprano;  William Towers, alto;  Norbert Meyn, tenor;  Stephen Varcoe, bass;  Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Concerto in D for three violins, BWV 1064R - Petra Müllejans, Gottfried von der Goltz, and Anne Katharina Schreiber, violins;  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra

Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn' ihn, BWV 1127 - Elin Manahan Thomas, soprano;  English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiiner, conductor

French Suite No. 1 with David Fray, and Cantata No. 6

French Suite No. 1 with David Fray, and Cantata No. 6

The Bach Hour | WCRB

The Easter Oratorio

The Easter Oratorio

The Bach Hour | WCRB

The Cantata No. 182 for Palm Sunday

The Cantata No. 182 for Palm Sunday

The Bach Hour | WCRB

On the program:

Suite No. 5 in C minor for solo cello, BWV 1011 - Pieter Wispelwey, cello

Cantata BWV 182 Himmelskönig, sei willkommen - Malin Hartelius, soprano; Nathalie Stutzmann, alto; James Gilchrist, tenor; Peter Harvey, bass; Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

(The image at left [courtesy Wikimedia Commons] shows column detail from the Nikolaikirche, Leipzig, which is modelled on palms.  The theme of palms is prevalent in the architecture of the Nikolaikirche, which, with the Thomaskirche, is one of the churches served by Bach between 1723 and 1750.  The Nikolaikirche also played a pivotal role in the fall of the Communist regime of East Germany in the 1980's.)

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