Saturday Classics

Saturday, 6 to 11 am

Wake up to a great variety of classical music every Saturday morning with host Rolf Charlston. You'll hear works ranging from Baroque to contemporary--from a gentle waltz to a bright tango--from old favorites to something new.

Composer ID: 
53c7dc13e1c8b9c77b4b9b7c|53c7dbe1e1c8b9c77b4b9b6e

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Creatively Speaking
3:07 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Have You Heard...Grassical Music?

The DePue Brothers Band plays a blend of classical, bluegrass, jazz, pop, and American roots music.

The four DePue brothers (Wallace, Jason, Zack, and Alex) were raised on classical music, barbershop, and Bluegrass. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, today they’re juggling work at conventional ensembles - The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the Philly Pops - with a family-based band specializing in a blend of classical and American grass roots music.

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Creatively Speaking
1:33 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Handel's Messiah: A Christmas Tradition Born in the Spring

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Handel’s Messiah, originally composed for performance during the springtime Christian observance of Lent, has become a  contemporary staple of Christmas celebrations in modern America. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on this 18th-century oratorio.

On Sunday, December 21, at 1 pm, WRTI will rebroadcast The Philadelphia Orchestra and The Philadelphia Singers Chorale with soloists in a 2013 performance of Handel's Messiah, at The Kimmel Center

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Happy Holidays from WRTI!
11:35 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Classical Music for the Holidays on WRTI: 2014 Schedule

Dashing through the snow, to your radio you shall go! WRTI brings you the holidays in all their sonic glory. Here are highlights from our classical schedule for Monday, December 15th through Thursday, January 1st, 2015. WRTI celebrates the season with a carefully chosen selection of holiday favorites. Highlights include: Wednesday, December 24th - The Nutcracker in its entirety. On Christmas Day, we bring you the Messiah, New York Philharmonic with NY Choral Artists and soloists.

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A Special Holiday Concert on WRTI
7:44 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Symphony in C on WRTI: Vivaldi's Gloria, Winter Wonderland, and more! Dec. 14 at 3 PM

It's a special holiday broadcast with Symphony in C on Sunday, December 14 at 3 pm.  You'll hear Vivaldi’s exuberant Gloria celebrating the season in Baroque style. Exciting arrangements of holiday favorites will round out the program. Joining Symphony in C is the New Jersey MasterChorale and soloists, under the direction of Wayne Richmond. Rossen Milanov conducts.

Program:

Vivaldi:  Gloria, RV 589

Vivaldi:  “Winter” from The Four Seasons, RV. 297

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Opera on WRTI
11:09 am
Wed December 10, 2014

The Met Opera on WRTI: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Dec. 13, 12 PM (Early Start Time)

James Levine returns to Wagner with a signature run of the epic comedy, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, back at the Met for the first time in eight years. Michael Volle is in the central role of Hans Sachs. Johan Botha reprises his indomitable Walther, and the elegant Annette Dasch is Eva. Saturday, December 13, 12 noon to 6 pm (***Note early start time and later end time.)

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The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI
12:49 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

The Philadelphia Orchestra on WRTI: Andre Watts, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Dec. 14 at 1 PM

Spanish conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos (1933-2013)

The entire Philadelphia Orchestra family was saddened this past summer by the death of a great friend of the Orchestra, and a musician of exemplary standards. The eminent Spanish conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, who passed away in June, 2013, is featured in a rebroadcast of a program performed in February of 2013, one of his last performances with the Philadelphians.

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Creatively Speaking
3:56 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Listen To This: The Dreamiest Chopin You've Ever Heard

Pianist Chad Lawson's "The Chopin Variations," performed with violinist Judy Kang and cellist Rubin Kodheli, presents the music of Chopin in a whole new way.

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.

WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston learns about the power of simplicity in her conversation with pianist Chad Lawson.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
6:09 am
Mon December 8, 2014

For The Season, Trio Mediaeval Spans Centuries

Trio Mediaeval is (from left) Berit Opheim, Anna Maria Friman and Linn Andrea Fulgseth.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 1:26 pm

For all those who just can't bear to hear "Jingle Bell Rock" or any of the other Yuletide earworms that will invade shopping malls and radio waves in the coming months, Norway's Trio Mediaeval has some new old music for the holiday season.

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The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert on WRTI
9:13 am
Sun December 7, 2014

It's Julian Anderson, Mozart, and Richard Strauss with The Philadelphians, Dec. 7 at 1 PM on WRTI

Vladimir Jurowski conducts The Philadelphia Orchestra in a concert recorded in October, 2014.

Guest Conductor Vladimir Jurowski, a familiar presence on the podium here in Philadelphia, returned for a visit to Verizon Hall in late October, for a concert we hear broadcast on Sunday that continues three programming themes heard throughout this season: the 40/40 Project, the presentation of pieces that have not been performed on subscriptions concerts in at least the past 40 years, or ever; a month-long celebration of the “Art of the Pipe Organ,” featuring Verizon Hall’s majestic Fred J.

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Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection
10:17 am
Sat December 6, 2014

Bach Secular and Sacred

The Visitation, Rogier van der Weyden, 1445. Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday, December 6th, 5 to 6 pm. Does the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music have vocal works? It does now, although it didn’t originally. The Symphony Club had no singers, so it didn’t require vocal or choral music. But as its library expanded, became a part of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and began circulating to orchestras, the need to look beyond purely instrumental works increased. Requests came in for Handel’s Messiah, the Brahms German Requiem, a Schubert or Mozart Mass, opera arias here and there, and so by the late 1970s the Collection started purchasing some of the great voice with orchestra literature.

We'll wrap up our three-program excursion into the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with two of his works for voices. Last month we looked at concertos using harpsichords, which first saw the light of day in the 1730s at Zimmermann’s Coffee House in Leipzig, but the work most associated with that place, of course, is the Coffee Cantata. Bach wrote no operas, but this secular cantata is, in effect, a mini-opera.

“Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht” are the first words sung by the father Schlendrian to his daughter, and are a great beginning to any concert, as they mean, “Be quiet and stop yakking!” (more or less). Schlendrian, literally, “stick in the mud,” wishes to get his daughter out of the newly fashionable but addicting activity of coffee-drinking. She will not yield until he offers to get her—if she quits—a husband. She agrees, but lets us know that she’ll only marry a man who lets her drink coffee. And that’s the story, the libretto by a frequent collaborator of Bach’s, Christian Friedrich Henrici who wrote under the name “Picander.”

In 1716, Bach, at Weimar, composed the original version of Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, “Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life,” a cantata for one of the weeks leading up to Christmas. When Bach moved to Leipzig to become Kantor, or music director, of the prestigious St. Thomas Church, he started to compose cantatas for each week of the church year. He needed one for a July Sunday, the Visitation of the expectant mother Mary to her cousin Elizabeth (soon to be the mother of John the Baptist), and remembered his old Weimar cantata.

It was a studied choice. Because of differences in the observance of Advent between Weimar and Leipzig, the old cantata wasn’t useable for him anymore, so instead of letting it sit in a desk drawer, he took it out and revised it. About half of it worked perfectly—it was already Marian in nature—but he added more sections. The last movement of it, however, will be recognizable to anyone who has ever heard Bach.

Alon Goldstein performs Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, arranged for piano by Dame Myra Hess:

“Jesus bleibet meine Freude” means “Jesus remains my joy,” but we hear this music at weddings, at Christmas, at Easter, and all through the year in every kind of arrangement, as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (the words by English poet Robert Bridges, 1844–1930). The chorale melody, unadorned by Bach’s bubbling triplets, is by Johann Schop (c.1590–1667), reminding us that there really is no such thing as a “Bach chorale tune.” He excelled in these chorale movements at taking old Lutheran hymn melodies and, in settings of exquisite craftmanship, creating new works of genius. Vocal works with orchestra indeed have a place in the Fleisher Collection.

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