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.

Even without Appalachian Spring, Aaron Copland might still be considered the greatest American composer. WRTI’s Kile Smith thinks that the key to Aaron Copland is heard more clearly in Appalachian Spring than in any other of his works.
 


Appalachian Spring. Billy the Kid. Rodeo. Fanfare for the Common Man. “I Bought Me a Cat.” Aaron Copland’s music cries out “America.” The kid from Brooklyn learned from a teacher in Paris, and became America’s leading composer during his lifetime and more. You voted him your No. 8 Most Essential Classical Composer.

Don’t even try to think of a bad piece of music by Antonín Dvořák, because you won't find any. Not in our book, anyway. And you thought so highly of the Bohemian master that you voted him No. 9 in our Essential Composer Countdown. Probably no one from that time had a more varied output.

George Frideric Handel was born in Germany in 1685, and moved to Britain as a young man. He spent his most productive years there, and became a naturalized British subject in his early 40s. His now-famous Water Music suites, commissioned for King George I for a ceremonial boat ride on the River Thames in London, were first performed during the summer of 1717.

It's so easy to find oneself attracted to the music of Franz Schubert. His unmatched gift for lyricism makes him so approachable, so comprehensible; and we feel ourselves being pulled into his musical world— in my case, at a very early age. 

If you have a picture of “German symphonic composer” in your mind, Gustav Mahler’s face may very well be that picture. Our Essential Winter Member Drive Countdown continues with Mahler coming in as No. 11.

This Sunday at 1 pm, WRTI presents a concert first heard at Verizon Hall in November, 2014. You'll hear the youthful and energetic Piano Concerto No. 1 of Beethoven performed by perennial favorite, pianist Andre Watts, who first played with The Philadelphia Orchestra at age 10.

We’re skipping all the way to No. 2 today for a special birthday celebration of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). That’s right, you voted the wunderkind from Salzburg your No. 2 most essential classical composer. His symphonies, operas, concertos, and compositions, in every genre of the time, remain to this day an incredible marvel of genius.

Do you want to know what made the composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) so special? I'll tell you. Aside from revolutionizing the piano itself, enlarging its scope, the genres it lent itself to, and its breadth of color, Chopin essentially invented the scherzo and instrumental ballade as virtuoso piano movements, and reinvented the etude as a musically engaging genre, rather than a mere exercise.

After being featured on NPR's All Things Considered, Chad Lawson's CD, The Chopin Variations, shot to No. 1 on iTunes Classical before it was even released in September, 2014. Lawson's interpretation of Chopin's nocturnes, preludes, and waltzes involves a surprising reconfiguration of the piano, and offers a sense of intimacy with the music that is likely new to most listeners.

Pages