Wednesdays at 10:00 pm
A fresh feast of early music every week.
Join host Candice Agree for WFMT’s exciting weekly program of early music. Baroque&Before explores works written before 1750, featuring live concert recordings from some of the world’s most prestigious early music festivals, as well as commercially released recordings from WFMT’s vast library. From Russia to the Americas, from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean and Middle East, Candice presents internationally known artists on the early music scene, crafting a delightful mix of musicianship, music, and history.
Lars Vogt & Bach’s Goldberg Variations
June 19, 2019
One of the essentials from the keyboard repertoire, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations is far-reaching in the compendium of emotions and sentiments it embraces, offering endless possibilities for interpretation. The transparency, delicacy, and fantasy in the treatment of the theme and variations, not to mention perfection, puts the Goldberg Variations at the pinnacle of Bachian keyboard writing. Tonight we’ll hear ...
Alessandro Scarlatti: San Casimiro, re di Polonia
June 12, 2019
Premiering in Florence in 1705, Alessandro Scarlatti’s oratorio for 5 solo voices and instrumental ensemble presents an allegory on the temptations by Regio Fasto (Royal Splendor) and Amor Profano (Profane Love) on Poland’s patron saint, the 15th century Prince Kazimierz, with Castità (Chastity) and Umiltà (Humility) triumphant in the struggle for Prince Casimir’s soul. Recorded live in concert July 15, ...
The Five Kingdoms of Mediæval Spain
June 5, 2019
Roman, Germanic, Byzantine, French, Arabic, and Jewish cultures all contributed to Spanish music. This week, a program of vocal music from Spain from the 13th-17th centuries: settings of secular and sacred texts by Tomás Luis de Victoria and Mateo Flecha the Elder, plus anonymous Sephardic and Navarrese love songs, reflecting the mix of cultures throughout the Five Kingdoms of Mediæval ...
Codex Calixtinus: Vespers of Saint James
May 29, 2019
Since the ninth century, the routes to Santiago de Compostela leading to the sanctuary of St. James have attracted countless pilgrims and exercised a potent mystique. What has achieved less attention is the music originally sung during the services in honor of the saint. Marcel Pérès’s in-depth study of the Codex Calixtinus, preserved at the Cathedral of Santiago, has led ...
Jordi Savall: Works by Diego Ortiz & Joan Cererols
May 22, 2019
Jordi Savall and La Capella Reial bring to life works by two composers from Spain with a Neapolitan connection: Toledo-born composer and music theorist Diego Ortiz, and Catalan musician and Benedictine monk Joan Cererols. Performances come from recordings from Classical WFMT’s Richard and Mary L. Gray Music Library.
The Piper & The Fairy Queen
May 15, 2019
Founded by the Irish harpsichordist and organist Malcolm Proud and the Swiss violinist Maya Homburger, Camerata Kilkenny is a period instrument group specializing in the performance of Baroque music. The great Uilleann piper David Power joins Camerata Kilkenny for a program of Baroque classics and traditional Irish favorites. Recorded live in concert August 10, 2018 in St Lawrence’s Church, a ...
Lumen Valo: Hymns from Mediæval & Renaissance Finland
May 8, 2019
Lutheranism was introduced gradually in Finland, which itself was a part of Sweden until 1809. The ties with Rome were broken in the 1520s, but it took almost the whole century for the Reformation to take root throughout the country. In 1582, the Finnish student Petri Rutha published a collection of popular Central European mediæval and early Renaissance songs. In ...
Sollazzo Ensemble: Contenance angloise
May 1, 2019
The Pan-European Sollazzo Ensemble, winners of the 2015 York Early Music Competition, brings its vivid style of performance to intimate and profound music that still speaks to us through the centuries. The program presents a fascinating example of a 15th century English cultural export: the so-called contenance angloise or English manner. This distinctive style of polyphony, developed in fifteenth-century England, ...
Songs & Laments of the Sephardim
April 24, 2019
A special Passover edition of Baroque&Before. As Jews all over the world celebrate Passover this week, Baroque&Before remembers the story of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt and the transition from slavery to freedom. This week’s program is one of sacred, paraliturgical, celebratory, and secular music of the Jews of the Mediterranean: Spain, Greece, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire.
Pergolesi: Septem verba a Christo
April 17, 2019
Now attributed to Giovanni Battista Pergolesi on the basis of the most recent research, the Seven Words of Christ has been regarded, ever since it was discovered by Hermann Scherchen, as “one of the most heartfelt works of art, full of profound tenderness and an all-conquering sense of beauty.” Written during the last three years of life, the Septem verba ...
Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble: Musical Treasures at the Swedish Royal Court
April 10, 2019
Founded in 1971, the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble presents late 17th- and early 18th-century music from Germany, Italy, Poland, and Sweden, including three works from the composer known as “The Swedish Handel.” Recorded live in concert January 21, 2017, in the Auditorium of Radio France Broadcasting House, Paris. Thanks to Classical WFMT’s association with the European Broadcasting Union, we’re able to ...
La Meridiana & Les voyages de l’amour: French Music for Woodwinds
April 3, 2019
Celebrating its 13th anniversary this year, Ensemble Meridiana’s five members come from four different countries, having met during their studies at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, where they specialized in early music. For its program Les voyages de l’amour, Ensemble Meridiana is joined by Mirko Arnone playing theorbo and Baroque guitar. Recorded live in concert in Rougemont, Switzerland’s Church ...
Avi Avital & The Virtuoso Mandolin
March 27, 2019
Les Violons du Roy welcomes its first-ever mandolin soloist Avi Avital for concerti grossi and concerti by Vivaldi, Handel, Paisiello, Durante, and more. Recorded live in concert November, 2018, in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Salle Bourgie. Thanks to Classical WFMT’s association with the European Broadcasting Union, we’re able to offer tonight’s program as a stream from March 28 ...
A Bach Anniversary Celebration with Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists
March 20, 2019
In celebration of the 334th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach on March 21 (Old Style,) we present the English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir in a program of Bach’s infrequently performed cantatas. John Eliot Gardner, who founded both performance groups, conducts. Recorded live in concert May 17, 2018 in Prague, in the Rudolfinum’s Dvořák Hall, as part ...
Women Baroque Composers
March 13, 2019
Celebrating Early Music Month and Women’s History Month on this edition of Baroque&Before, with works by French and Italian women composers of the 17th and 18th centuries. Ensemble Operabyrån was recorded live in concert in Sweden’s Nordmaling Church, as part of the Nordic Baroque Festival.
Torroella de Montgrí Festival: From Victoria to Cererols with Tenebrae
March 6, 2019
Tenebrae, the British chamber choir specializing in Renaissance polyphony, presents the magnificent Requiem Mass by Tomás Luis de Victoria. The program opens with two works by Joan Cererols: the Salve Regina and the Battle Mass. Born in Martorell, this year (September to September 2018-2019) marks the 400th anniversary of Cererols’s birth. Recorded live in concert August 8, 2018 in the ...
Utrecht Early Music Festival: Rameau’s Grands Motets
February 27, 2019
Jean-Philippe Rameau left behind only a small amount of sacred music. His grand motets, settings of psalm texts, were composed between 1713 and 1720. Vox Luminis, under the direction of Lionel Meunier, presents the three remaining complete motets. Recorded live in concert August 25, 2018, in TivoliVredenburg’s Main Hall, as part of the Utrechy Early Music Festival. Thanks to Classical ...
Treasures of the Neapolitan Baroque
February 20, 2019
In this recital from La Folia Early Music Festival, young French mezzo-soprano Juliette De Banes Gardonne is featured in a program of cantatas by Caresana, Porpora and Alessandro Scarlatti, little known, and in one case, unpublished, Joined by a chamber ensemble composed of harpsichord, theorbo, cello, flute, and violin. Recorded live in concert in Rougemont, Switzerland’s Church of Saint Nicholas.
L’Air français: The Art of the Intimate
February 13, 2019
In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, William Christie leads soprano Elodie Fonnard, baritone Marc Mauillon, and members of Les Arts Florissants in a program of airs, chansons, and cantatas. Recorded live in concert in the Chamber Hall of the Auditori in Girona (Gerona) as part of Nits de Clàssica a Girona (Classical Nights in Girona.)
Festive Music from the Hapsburg Court of Charles VI
February 6, 2019
Angelo Ragazzi’s Mass for his Holy Roman benefactor Charles VI is the centerpiece of tonight program. Lost for some 300 years, it’s presented tonight along with a Serenade by Ragazzi’s predecessor at the Habsburg Court, Johann Joseph Fux. Recorded live in concert August 18, 2018, in the French Church in Bern, Switzerland by the early music orchestra Les Passions de ...
Jean Guillou: Requiescet in pace
January 30, 2019
French organist, composer, pedagogue and organ builder Jean Guillou died January 26. He was 88. This week we remember Jean Guillou, titular organist at L’Église St. Eustache in Paris for 52 years, by his interpretations of Vivaldi, Bach, and more. Recordings used in this program come from Classical WFMT’s Richard and Mary L. Gray Music Library.