Saturday Classics

Saturday, 6 am to 12 noon

Treat yourself to a delightful variety of classical music every Saturday morning with host Debra Lew Harder. You'll hear works encompassing a wide range of time periods and instrumentation— from the Renaissance to new American classical music—from a gentle waltz to a bright piano sonata—from old favorites to something new.

Credit: Opera Philadelphia

WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston considers a question of operatic proportion, with notable librettist Mark Campbell.

Credit: Jessica Griffin/Philadelphia Orchestra

His Excellency President Elbegdorj — the leader of the growing democracy situated between China and Russia — spent last Friday, September 23rd in Philadelphia, following the conclusion of his work at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 


This week’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast brings us a performance from early March, which saw the return to Philadelphia of pianist Hélène Grimaud, who performs a concerto close to her heart, the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2

Christopher Rouse's Symphony No. 3, which appears on his latest album, contains many levels of meaning. It's an homage to the Russian composer Sergey Prokofiev, whose Second Symphony serves as a structural model for the piece. It's an encoded musical portrait of Rouse's wife. And it's an engaging piece of music even for a listener who possesses none of this background knowledge.

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, this Saturday at 5 pm on WRTI... Looking over the landscape of American orchestral music covering the 19th and into the 20th centuries as we have been, we see two names—not American—looming large. One is Beethoven, the other, Wagner. They are still huge now; imagine them in the eyes of American musicians then.

Grab your tissues and join us to hear one of Giacomo Puccini’s most beloved operas! Filled with beautiful arias, La Boheme is one of the composer’s most frequently performed and recorded operas. The performance we’ll hear is considered by many the finest recording of the work ever made—the 1956 La Boheme conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham.

Credit: Vahan Stepanyan

Michael Tilson Thomas is on the podium for this Sunday’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast from 1 to 3 pm on WRTI.

Credit: Dario Acosta

Vladimir Jurowski, one of the most sought-after conductors in the world, collaborates with one of the world’s most talented virtuoso pianists, Yefim Bronfman, in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, the “Emperor,” one of the supreme achievements in the genre — this Sunday, September 18th at 1 pm on The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast on WRTI.

Talk to nearly any classical music critic about heroes of the trade and one name usually comes up: Virgil Thomson. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times advises: "Every practicing and aspiring critic today should read Thomson's exhilarating writings."

When you think of an orchestra, you're probably picturing refined woodwoods, brass, and strings. But one ensemble I recently met is made up mostly of kids who play instruments made out of literal trash. This is the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay, and their group is the subject of a new documentary film.

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