Main content

Spirit of Bach

Sara Mohr-Pietsch explores what lies beneath Bach's music with pianists Angela Hewitt and Gabriela Montero, conductor Steven Devine, physicist Tara Shears and cellist David Watkin.

Sara Mohr-Pietsch investigates what lies beneath the 'Spirit of Bach', the hidden elements to this well-known and well-loved composer, which are discovered by performing his music, studying his scores and examining the philosophies his music exhibits. In her quest, she interviews one of the world's leading Bach interpreters, pianist Angela Hewitt; hears from cellist David Watkin about his life-changing recording of the Bach Cello Suites, examines the connection between antimatter and Bach's cantatas with particle physicist Professor Tara Shears and harpsichordist/conductor Steven Devine of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; discovers the mathematical patterns which structure Bach's music, with Marcus du Sautoy. Plus, jazz musician Matt Herskowitz, and classical pianist Gabriela Montero share their thoughts on how Bach has influenced their music-making.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Christmas Eve 2017 21:30


  • Angela Hewitt

    Duration: 07:41

  • David Watkin

    Duration: 08:39

  • Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - Bach, the universe and everything

    Duration: 08:15

  • Marcus du Sautoy

    Duration: 06:45

  • Jazz Bach

    Duration: 10:20


Role Contributor
Presenter Sara Mohr-Pietsch
Interviewed Guest Steven Devine
Interviewed Guest Tara Shears
Interviewed Guest Marcus Sautoy
Interviewed Guest Matt Herskowitz
Interviewed Guest Gabriela Montero
Interviewed Guest David Watkin


  • Sat 23 Dec 2017 12:15
  • Christmas Eve 2017 21:30

Featured in...

Knock on wood – six stunning wooden concert halls around the world

Knock on wood – six stunning wooden concert halls around the world

Steel and concrete can't beat good old wood to produce the best sounds for music.

The evolution of video game music

The evolution of video game music

Tom Service traces the rise of an exciting new genre, from bleeps to responsive scores.

Why music can literally make us lose track of time

Why music can literally make us lose track of time

Try our psychoacoustic experiment to see how tempo can affect your timekeeping abilities.