Revisit Bach Month

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
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No composer, classical or otherwise, has exerted a more powerful impact on music and culture than Johann Sebastian Bach, and Classical New England celebrated Bach during the composer's birthday month of March.

Hear concert broadcasts, Bach Minutes, and a special birthday celebration on-demand.

Drive Time Live: Guitarist Xuefei Yang Plays Bach's "Air on a G String" from WGBH Classical New England on Vimeo.


  Listen to The Bach Channel

Learn more about Bach, see more video, and hear The Bach Hour on-demand
Watch more Bach video.

Each day during Bach Month, Benjamin K. Roe takes you inside the stories that surround the composer and his music on The Bach Minute. Listen for The Bach Minute on the air and on-demand:

Music and Math in Harmony: The Art of the Fugue

Hear more Bach Minutes

Learn about Goldberg Week with NPR Music and Classical New England, exploring Bach's Goldberg Variations through commentary, FAQ, and more.

Connect with Bach's music in performance and through the experiences of some of today's most compelling musicians.

Goldberg Variations for String Trio
Cellist Matt Haimovitz (left), violinist Jonathan Crow, and violist Douglas McNabney perform selections from Bach's Goldberg Variations, in Dmitri Sitkovetsky's arrangement for string trio, in Classical New England's Fraser Performance Studio.

See video of the performance

Alina Ibragimova and the Academy of Ancient Music in Concert
The Russian violinist joins one of Britain's great early music ensembles in a concert recorded on March 3, and Masaaki Suzuki conducts and orchestral suite in a December 2011 performance in Berlin.

(Due to rights restrictions, this concert is no longer available.)

Wilhelm Friedemann BachBach & Sons
Recent concert performances highlight Bach's legacy as most immediately manifested through his own sons, including Wilhelm Friedemann (pictured), Johann Christoph Friederich, and Carl Philip Emmanuel.

(Due to rights restrictions, this concert is no longer available.)

The Bach Hour with Harry Christophers on the St. Matthew Passion
The Artistic Director of Boston's Handel and Haydn Society joins host Brian McCreath for a two-part exploration of what is arguably Bach's greatest masterpiece.

Hear Part One

Hear Part Two

Bach Birthday Celebration
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein (shown) and guitarist Xuefei Yang visit Classical New England's Fraser Performance Studio to share of some Bach's instrumental masterpieces with a studio audience and host Cathy Fuller.

Hear the program

The St. John Passion, in concert from Carnegie Hall
Bernard Labadie directs Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, with tenor soloist Ian Bostridge, bass-baritone Neal Davies, soprano Karina Gauvin, countertenor Damien Guillon, tenor Nicholas Phan, and bass-baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann.

(Due to rights restrictions, this concert is no longer available.)

The St. Matthew Passion in concert with the Handel and Haydn Society
Conductor Harry Christophers leads the Handel and Haydn Society chorus and orchestra in the pinnacle of Bach's sacred music, live from Symphony Hall in Boston. Soloists include Joshua Ellicott in the role of The Evangelist, Matthew Brook in the role of Christ, soprano Gillian Keith, mezzo-soprano Monica Groop, tenor Jeremy Budd, and baritone Stephan Loges.

Hear the program

Van Zweden Debuts at Symphony Hall

Thursday, February 9, 2012
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Isabelle Faust's Bach

Friday, October 15, 2010
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Hear Music From The Royal Wedding

Friday, April 29, 2011
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(photo:  AP)

England's Royal Wedding of 2011 for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge included stunning musical performances.  Hear them on demand:

Processional Sequence:

For Queen Elizabeth:  March from The Birds, by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry
For the clergy:  Prelude on Rhosymedre, by Ralph Vaughan Williams
For the bride:  "I was Glad," by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry


"Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer," words by William Williams, translated by Peter Williams and others, and music by John Hughes
"Love Divine All Love Excelling," words by Charles Wesley and music by William Penfro Rowlands
"Jerusalem," by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, words by William Blake


"This is the day which the Lord hath made," by John Rutter, commissioned by Westminster Abbey as a wedding present and performed by both the Choir of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal Choir

"Ubi caritas," by Paul Mealor, a Welsh composer

"Blest pair of Sirens," words by John Milton from At a Solemn Musick, music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry

The National Anthem

Recessional Sequence:

"Valiant and Brave," after the motto of No. 22 Squadron (Search and Rescue Force), composed for the occasion by Wing Commander Duncan Stubbs, Principal Director of Music in the Royal Air Force
Crown Imperial, by William Walton
Toccata, from Symphonie V, by Charles-Marie Widor
"Pomp and Circumstance March No. 5," by Edward Elgar


And if you missed any of Cathy Fuller's pre-wedding interview this week with conductor Christopher Warren-Green, you can hear it here.

Celebrating Bartók

Friday, March 11, 2011
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During this 130th anniversary year of the birth of Béla Bartók (born March 25, 1881), 99.5 All Classical celebrates the groundbreaking Hungarian composer with a series of on demand performances and features.

New England Conservatory Philharmonia
The Concerto for Orchestra, one of Béla Bartók's most enduring and popular masterpieces, was commissioned by conductor Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Performed for the first time in December 1944, it remains a regular fixture on orchestra programs around the world, and on March 9, 2011, Benjamin Zander conducted a performance at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall, with the NEC Philharmonia.
Listen On Demand

Discovery Ensemble
Courtney Lewis conducts one of Boston's most exciting orchestras, Discovery Ensemble, in Bartók's kaleidoscopic Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. 99.5 All Classical host Brian McCreath talks with Lewis about the piece, with a walk-through of each of the movements, all recorded in 99.5 All Classical's Fraser Performance Studio.

Listen On Demand

Duke Bluebeard's Castle
In 1911, Bartók completed a one-act opera based on Charle Perrault's French fairy tale "Bluebeard," further revising it before its first performance in Budapest in 1918. A dark, pyschologically rich piece, Brian Bell offers a guided tour.
(image:  Gustave Doré's Barbe Bleue, courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Hear a guided tour at Backstage with Brian Bell


Takács Quartet, Muzsikás, and Márta Sebestyén
One of the premiere string quartets on today's concert stages joins forces with a legendary Hungarian folk ensemble and equally legendary Hungarian folk singer to explore the roots of Bartók's music.

Listen On Demand

Pianist Hung-Kuan Chen
Recorded in 2008 in 99.5 All Classical's Fraser Performance Studio, Hung-Kuan Chen performs a piece that combines Bartók's fascination with folk music and his evolving perspective of the piano as a percussion instrument, the Out of Doors Suite, in a program that also includes music by Brahms and Ravel.

Listen On Demand



Violinist Augustin Hadelich
Recorded in 2008 in 99.5 All Classical's Fraser Performance Studio, Augustin Hadelich performs Bartók's Sonata for solo violin, Sz. 117.

Listen On Demand

Violinist Lara St. John and Pianist Anton Kuerti at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival
Recorded on May 14, 2009, at St. James Church during the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, Lara St. John and Anton Kuerti perform Bartók's Rhapsody No. 2, Sz. 89, BB 96, written in 1928, part of a program that also includes music by Beethoven, Franck, Hindson, Ravel, and Liszt.

Listen On Demand


Oct. 15: Mahler's Mahler

By Brian McCreath   |   Friday, October 15, 2010
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In 1905, Gustav Mahler sat down at the piano in Leipzig and played through a few of his own compositions in piano reduction form, and everything was "recorded" on a piano roll.  It's the only recorded document of Mahler performing, and while he has a (ahem) charmingly casual approach to accuracy, the interpretive aspect can be revelatory.

These piano rolls have been issued on CD over the years, but earlier this year, I had the good fortune to be in Vienna and found a recent release that, for me, stands apart.  For this recording, the piano rolls were re-produced on the Blüthner piano Mahler owned when living in Vienna.  It's not as rounded and perfect a sound as a modern Steinway, and that lends it just that tiny extra bit of authenticity to my ear. 

So if you have a chance to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra perform Mahler's Fifth Symphony this week, either by going to Symphony Hall or by tuning in on Saturday night for our live broadcast, I hope you'll tune in today after 3:30 for Mahler's own performance of the piano reduction of the first movement of that piece. 

And for some perspective on Mahler's place in Vienna's history and the (now unfortunately ended) museum exhibit where I found this CD, visit Bloomberg's Norman Lebrecht.  Also, check out Brian Bell's audio tour of Mahler's Fifth below.

About the Author
Brian McCreath Brian McCreath


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