Classical Weekdays

Monday through Friday, 6 am to 6 pm

WRTI brings you the best recordings of works from the vast world of classical music every weekday from 6 am to 6 pm. Chamber music, symphonies, choral works, violin concertos, piano sonatas, and more...engagingly presented with insight and a smile by our knowledgeable hosts.

Playlists are below.

This week in July of 1940, one of the most loved and most sung choral works - written by a composer living in Philadelphia - was premiered in western Massachusetts. But Randall Thompson’s Alleluia is almost the opposite of an “alleluia.”

From Randall Thompson, the composer who was then the Director of the Curtis Institute of Music, conductor Serge Koussevitzky requested a loud and festive choral fanfare. It was to open the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood.

Comprised of four violin concertos written by Antonio Vivaldi in 1723, The Four Seasons is probably the Baroque composer's best-known work. Each of the four concerti is based on a sonnet - supposedly written by Vivaldi himself. Each sonnet is divided into three sections (fast, slow, fast), which correspond with the three movements in each concerto. Read the "Summer" sonnet and listen to each part of The Four Seasons, Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, "L'estate" (Summer)

SUMMER SONNET

Cliff Waatt

At the age of 8, violinist Sarah Chang was featured as soloist with the New York Philharmonic. Soon afterwards, she played with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Today, she has a full career playing with orchestras all over the world. WRTI’s Susan Lewis profiles this busy artist, who still calls the Philadelphia area home.


Classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein is just back from Havana, where she performed with Cuba's National Youth Orchestra. She is also working with young people back in her hometown, New York. One of her goals? To introduce students to the composer she's best known for performing — Johann Sebastian Bach. She's taking digital pianos into public schools in a program she calls "Bach-packing."

Colin Bell

The music of Beethoven and Dvořák frame works by Gyorgy Ligeti and George Enescu - two composers very familiar to The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Conductor-in-Residence, Cristian Macelaru on WRTI’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast this Sunday, July 5th at 1 pm.

If ever there was a musician whose battle cry was “freedom” it was Ludwig van Beethoven. His Leonore Overture No. 3 relates the heroic conviction of a woman to free her husband from certain doom. The Piano Concerto No. 2 was composed for his own astonishing virtuoso technique. And the Symphony No. 5 has become so much more than a symphony – its famous first four notes have been turned into a Morse code phrase for "victory." Its propulsive energy and journey escalate towards a finale that has long transcended the concert hall and given hope to oppressed people everywhere.

The venerable Berlin Philharmonic isn't known for impetuous courtships. But after conducting only three programs, the darkest of horses - Kirill Petrenko - was invited last week to succeed Simon Rattle as the Orchestra's chief conductor. Can the Berlin Philharmonic survive without its usual star power? The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports.

The New York Times calls Alisa Weilerstein the "sovereign of the American cello," and continues, "it’s not technical brilliance that makes Alisa Weilerstein’s recording of Dvorak’s much-loved cello concerto special, though the young American cellist has it in spades. It’s the take-no-prisoners emotional investment that is evident in every bar, but never more so than in the heart-wrenching slow movement, where Ms. Weilerstein’s cello appears to take on human shape."

There’s no escaping your past. Aboard an ocean liner in the early 1960s, a West German diplomat, Walter, and his wife Liese are bound for a new posting in Brazil.

But unbeknownst to her husband, Liese served as an SS officer in Auschwitz. Haunted by her past, she is stunned when she thinks she recognizes a fellow passenger; is it really Marta, her former prisoner?

The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia’s season is going out, not with a bang, but with some urban rumble, random accompaniment by geese, and lots of song in a site-specific work at the Fairmount Water Works this weekend. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns caught Philadelphia’s most venerable choir at its most vulnerable.

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