Biber and Scarlatti (discoveries on classical music radio)



This morning, while driving, I was listening on my car radio to classical music on WBAI, a non-commercial New York radio station.

Host Chris Whent was playing music by the Bohemian-Austrian composer and violinist Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704). Biber has languished in obscurity (by which I mean has languished in modern times), but he is being heard again. Needless to say, this should be attributed to the availability of recorded music.

Has anyone noticed that classical music RADIO programming is not what it used to be? I grew up listening to it at all hours — on my car radio and at home, early in the morning and late at night. The late Robert J. Lurtsema’s program of classical music, “Morning pro musica,” on WGBH in Boston comes to mind.

Chris Whent knows his baroque music. A long while ago, I was listening to WBAI once when he happened to be playing sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti on his program. I heard Scarlatti’s Keyboard Sonata in B minor, K.87/L.33, and I was “converted,” or one should say, lifted out of the slough of ignorance into a world or pure listening bliss.






I have appended here:



a movement from Biber’s Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientes (1676)




a rendition of Scarlatti’s Sonata in B minor, K.87/ L.33



— Roger W. Smith

   June 3, 2018







About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1), a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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