J.S. Bach

The Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 of Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by the Swiss Baroque Soloists, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

The six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721 are among the finest musical compositions of the Baroque era. The Third in the set is scored for three violins, three violas, three cellos, and basso continuo, including harpsichord. The Margrave not only never paid Bach for his work, but he failed even to thank him. This third concerto is a highlight of one of the happiest and most productive periods in Bach's life.

Even though he didn't call them the "Brandenburgs" himself, Bach still thought of them as a set. Compiled from short instrumental sinfonias and concerto movements he had already written, Bach re-worked the old music, often re-writing and elaborating where he saw fit, and creating in the process some of the most brilliant and enjoyable of any of his works.

Bach specialist Nicholas McGegan conducts The Philadelphia Orchestra this Sunday, May 19th, 2 to 4 pm, in an all-Bach concert - bringing a special touch to the Orchestra, and throwing the spotlight on several Philadelphia Orchestra soloists.

Concertmaster David Kim, Principal Oboist Richard Woodhams, Principal Horn Jennifer Montone, and Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner are just some of the stellar players of the Orchestra who will play major roles in a program including:

Listen to our annual broadcast of Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 on Good Friday, March 29th, a few minutes after 12 noon.

The recording features Karl Richter conducting the Munich Bach Orchestra, Munich Bach Choir, and Regensburg Cathedral Choir. Edith Mathis (Soprano), Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Schreier (Tenor), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone), and Matti Salminen (Bass).

Happy Easter from WRTI!

Preparing The Chorus For A Master Work

Mar 24, 2013

Music lives at Westminster Choir College at Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. As WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, the college's Westminster Symphonic Choir has, for almost 90 years, been performing with the world's foremost orchestras under some legendary conductors, including Leopold Stokowski, Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, Pierre Boulez, Robert Shaw, Kurt Masur and on and on.

Joe Miller is professor of conducting and chair of conducting for organ and sacred music at Westminster Choir College. This week, his Westminster Symphonic Choir performs Bach’s St Mathew Passion with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nezet-Seguin, a Westminster Alum.

Hear the complete Christmas Oratorio of Johann Sebastian Bach between December 25th and January 12th. The first part describes the birth of  Jesus, the second the annunciation to the shepherds, the third the adoration of the shepherds, the fourth the naming of Jesus, the fifth (for the first Sunday after New Year) the journey of the Magi, and the sixth (for Epiphany) the adoration of the Magi. 

Listen to the work's six parts on December 25th, 26th, 27th and January 1st at 3 pm, and on Saturday, January 5th, and Saturday, January 12th at 10 am.

Avi Avital: A Mandolinist's Unlikely Education

Sep 10, 2012

Avi Avital is one of the world's leading classical mandolinists, gracing concert halls from Tel Aviv to Munich to New York. But the young Israeli says he discovered the mandolin only by coincidence.

"When I was a kid, I had a neighbor who played the mandolin — the neighbor from upstairs," Avital tells NPR's Guy Raz. "It was one of those buildings where all the doors are open and all the neighbors are friends and more close than relatives. It was like one big family.

Facing Bach's St. Matthew Passion, I often feel a combination of anticipation and dread. It's a great work, profound in its humanity and spirituality, with sublimely beautiful music. But it's a long haul, and if it's not a good performance, well, I'm stuck. And it can be not-good in various ways: either too solemnly pious or too much an exercise in musical style rather than emotional drama. A new DVD recorded in 2010 at Berlin's great concert hall, the Philharmonie, would be of major interest under any circumstances.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): A Look at His Life and His Legacy

Philadelphia, PA – WRTI's Susan Lewis profiles the Master of Baroque! The great German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist J. S. Bach's birthday is March 21st. The Bach Festival of Philadelphia is March 30th to April 1st at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Rittenhouse Square.

Join Jill Pasternak as she interviews Anne Akiko Meyers. The violinist's new CD with the English Chamber Orchestra, Air: The Bach Album, features the A minor & E Major Concerti plus the Double Concerto. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Classical Albums Chart.

More about Anne Akiko Meyers

Two-time Grammy-nominated Tiempo Libre is one the hottest young Latin bands today. Equally at home in concert halls, jazz clubs and dance venues, the members of the Miami-based band are true modern heirs to the rich tradition of the music of their native Cuba.