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.

Jean Rondeau: Bach vs Scarlatti

February 21, 2018

Although almost exact contemporaries, the lives of Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Scarlatti couldn’t have been more different. Tonight, young French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau presents a program of works by Bach and Scarlatti, as well as encores by François Couperin, on the 1737 Christian Zell harpischord, only one of three Zell harpsichords remaining, held in Barcelona’s Museu de la Música. ...

A Naughty, Bawdy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2018

Taking its name from the French Renaissance composer of chansons, The French early music Ensemble Clément Janequin presents a program of 15th- and 16th-century chansons. Lutenist Eric Bellocq joins the male a capella ensemble for this recital recorded live in concert in the Knight’s Hall of the Moravský Krumlov Castle, as part of the Concentus Moraviae Festival.

Huelgas Ensemble: Flanders — A World of Polyphony

February 7, 2018

This evening’s program paints a colorful portrait of the great age of polyphony, dominated by Franco-Flemish composers between 1450 and 1600. From generation to generation, the style, which they developed, became the musical language of Europe. The Huelgas Ensemble’s diverse program of secular and sacred music provides a fine primer to the astonishing cultural sphere. Recorded live in concert June ...

Soli Deo Gloria Festival: Cantatas of the Reformation

January 31, 2018

Founded in 1968 by conductor Frieder Bernius, The Stuttgart Chamber Choir (Kammerchor Stuttgart) is devoted to historically informed performances. Tonight we hear three choral masterworks by Bach. Recorded live in concert June 6, 2017, in St. Martin’s Church, Braunschweig (Brunswick) Germany, as part of the 2017 Soli Deo Gloria Festival. PROGRAM Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Missa brevis in G minor, ...

Bless’d Isle

January 24, 2018

“Where words leave off, music begins,” A celebration of the mastery of English composers from Dowland to Arne and settings of words to music. Soprano Carolyn Sampson is joined by the Academy of Ancient Music, under the direction of Richard Egarr, who also performs on harpsichord and organ. This special 90-minute edition of Baroque&Before was recorded live in concert November ...

Ave Maris Stella / Mary Star of the Sea

January 17, 2018

Gothic Voices presents works from the 12-15th century honoring the Biblical matriarch Mary in her various guises: caring mother, virgin lover, guiding light. Ancient ritualistic texts explore her mythical and human aspects and are set to music by masters of mediaeval England. Recorded live in concert in London’s Cadogan Hall. PROGRAM Anonymous, 13th century Ave Maria; Super te Ierusalem – ...

A Feast of A Capella Music from the Renaissance

January 10, 2018

The Croatian Radio-Television Chorus under the direction of Saša Britvić presents a program of 15th- and 16th-century polyphony, focusing on works by Croatian Renaissance master of motet and madrigal Julije Skjavetić. Recorded live in concert in Zagreb’s Mimara Museum. PROGRAM Philippe Verdelot (1480-1552) Madonna, non so dir Julije Skjavetić (fl. 1530-1565) Appariran per me Era il bel viso suo Io ...

In Paradiso: Spanish & Italian Canzonette

January 3, 2018

Duo La Galanía — Soprano Raquel Andueza and theorbist Jesús Fernández Baena — present a program of devotional and secular songs from 17th-century Spain and Italy. Recorded live in concert at the Church of the College of St. Michael, as part of the International Sacred Music Festival in Friburg, Switzerland. PROGRAM Anonymous Omnia vanitas praeter amare Deum, vana bergamasca Lamento ...

Ave Atque Vale: Hail and Farewell

December 27, 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, we remember the life and work of three classical artists who died this past year, each, in various degrees, dedicating himself or herself to the performance and diffusion of early music: Italian conductor and musicologist Alberto Zedda, Czech harpsichordist and teacher  Zuzana Růžičková, and Siberian born Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. We laud them tonight ...

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio from St. Thomas Church, Leipzig

December 20, 2017

On this special extended Christmas edition of Baroque&Before, we present a recording of Cantatas 1,2,3, and 6 of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, recorded live in concert in Leipzig’s St. Thomas Church, where Bach was Kapellmeister from 1723 until his death in 1750. The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra joins the Thomanerchor, the boys’ choir of St. Thomas Church, founded over 800 years ago. ...

Music for Hanukkah of the Sephardim

December 13, 2017

Songs of celebration, of life, love, and spiritual devotion of the Sephardim — the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa — to celebrate the Festival of Lights. PROGRAM Salamone Rossi Sonata sopra la Bergamasca (Sonatas, Bk. IV, No. 12) Sinfonia settimadecima & Galliarda detta la Zambalina (Sinfonie e Galliarde, Bk. II) Traditional Hazaremos una merenda ...

German Motets for Advent with Capella Mariana

December 6, 2017

Czech ensemble Capella Mariana, founded in 2008, presents a program of motets from the German Renaissance and Baroque perfect for the Christmas season. Recorded live in concert December 6, 2016, from Prague’s Klementinum. PROGRAM Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) Nun komm de Heien Heiland Veni redemptor gentium Ecce Dominus veniet   J.S. Bach (1685-1750) Lobet den Herrn all Heiden, BWV 230   ...

The Golden Age of Iberian Sacred Music

November 29, 2017

Polyphonic sacred choral music flourished throughout the Iberian Peninsula during the Renaissance, even as Protestant countries were turning toward homophony. The Montreal Early Music Studio presents works by some of the masters of 16th- and 17th-century sacred polyphony from Spain and Portugal. Presented by Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, recorded live in concert in the Church of Saint-Léon, a ...

Tomás Luis de Victoria: The Spanish Palestrina

November 22, 2017

Known as the “Spanish Palestrina,” Tomás Luis de Victoria has been called the greatest of all Iberian composers. Corund, the Swiss vocal ensemble specializing in sacred music of the Renaissance and Baroque, tonight presents a concert of a capella sacred works by Tomás Luis: three motets, followed by the Requiem of 1603. Recorded live in concert in the Valère Basilica, ...

Music from Montserrat

November 15, 2017

The new organ in the Basílica of the Montserrat Abbey (Barcelona) is the largest organ in Catalonia and one of the largest in Europe. Built by Albert Blancafort and his atelier and completed in 2010, it has 4,242 pipes and 63 registers. The Montserrat International Organ Festival invited virtuoso organists for a recital to inaugurate the new organ. Tonight we’ll ...

Zelenka’s Mass for All Saints

November 8, 2017

Czech composer Jan Lukáš (Dismas) Zelenka’s music was admired by Bach and other contemporaries for its harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness. His Missa Omnium Sanctorum (Mass for All Saints), written in 1741, is one of Zelenka’s few remaining masses, and  the last work he composed before his death. This recording, made live in concert September 9, 2016 as part of the ...

A word about November 1

November 1, 2017

Baroque&Before will not be heard this week, due to WFMT’s live broadcast of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Wagner’s Die Walküre. Baroque&Before returns to our regular time on Wednesday, November 8th, with the Missa Omnium Sanctorum (Mass for All Saints) by Baroque Czech master Jan Dismas Zelenka.

Baroque&Before Remembers Zuzana Růžičková

October 25, 2017

The world renowned Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková died September 27, 2017 at the age of 90. In a career spanning more than half a century, she recorded over 100 albums, and was the first harpsichordist to record Bach’s complete works in a collection of 35 CDs. On this edition of Baroque&Before, we bring you excerpts from a recital featuring some ...

The Fruit of Love: Instrumental Dances by Anthony Holborne

October 18, 2017

L’Archéron, a consort of viols, devotes its entire live recital to the music of Anthony Holborne, specifically, a selection of instrumental dances from The Fruit of Love, published in 1599. Recorded live in concert in L’Église de Gruyères, at the closing recital of the Douxième Atelier de Musique Ancienne (Early Music Workshop.) PROGRAM Anthony Holborne (1545-1602) The Fruit of Love ...

Monteverdi 450: Sacred&Secular

October 11, 2017

On last week’s program, we heard the Ricercar Consort, Ensemble Oltremontano , and vocal soloists in the first ten sections of the Vespers of 1610, recorded live in concert as part of the  Basel Early Music Festival. Tonight, we’ll hear the rest of the Vespers Monteverdi’s masterpiece. But before we get to the sacred, we’ll turn to the secular, and ...

Monteverdi 450: Vespers of 1610, Parts I-X

October 4, 2017

In celebration of the 450th anniversary year of the birth of Claudio Monteverdi, Ensemble Oltremontano and the Ricercar Consort present the first ten parts of Monteverdi’s Marian Vespers of 1610, joined by soloists renowned   in the early music world. Next week, we’ll complete the Vespers, as well as hear a selection of Monteverdi’s madrigals, sung in Italian. Tonight’s program ...