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.

Portrait by Thomas Hardy, 1791

Join us on Sunday from 5 to 6 pm as we present August’s concert broadcast by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, opening with an archival recording made at the Walnut Street Theater, with the orchestra’s founder and then–music director Marc Mostovoy conducting. Current music director Dirk Brossé conducts the second half of the program, which was recorded at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater in February, 2011.

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In the run-up to the November elections, political ads proliferate. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at how music contributes to the message.

The world is laughing at Florence Foster Jenkins once again in the new film of the same title. Meryl Streep plays the 1940s society matron who thought she was good enough to sing at Carnegie Hall, but was so sorely mistaken. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns, however, has stumbled onto the theory that Jenkins was laughing last.

Does a song, or even a symphony, trigger memories of important moments and milestones in your life? For violinist Hillary Hahn, a little-known, 19th-century concerto is an important part of her history and her current repertoire.


We're looking at the sky and beyond on Now Is the Time, Saturday, August 13th at 9 pm. Dark Clouds Bring Waters is William McClelland’s setting of John Bunyan: “Dark clouds bring waters, when the bright bring none.” Elena Ruehr follows that with lovely music for flute and piano, Of Water and Clouds.

Credit: Gary Horn

We're toasting a WRTI stalwart who is winding down his time on the air after 16 years of Saturdays. Rolf Charlston presented his final Saturday morning show on August 13th with an array of his own favorite classical works.

This Sunday, the Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast brings back to the podium Musical America’s 2015 Conductor of the Year, Gianandrea Noseda, for a concert from November that begins with Liszt’s orchestrally dazzling Symphonic Poem No 6, “Mazeppa,” and a performance by renowned violinist Leonidas Kavakos of Jean Sibelius' Violin Concerto.

Photographic proof by Victor Kraft / Library of Congress

A manuscript of a J.S. Bach cantata casts a new light on how Bach intended the piece to be played. A singer gains insight from a line in a Porgy and Bess manuscript that differs from the final lyrics. The Music Division of the massive Library of Congress in Washington, DC,  is a place where performers, composers, scholars and the general public make discoveries of the musical kind.

As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opens its first Mormon Temple in Pennsylvania on 17th and Vine streets in Philadelphia, many who drive past may wonder: What is it like inside? And will the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing there? WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston finds out.

Pieces of this and that country make up Now Is the Time, Saturday, August 6th at 9 pm. Two works of Mason Bates seemingly float in space, as Chanticleer sings the Maori-inspired Observer in the Magellanic Cloud, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project performs Mothership, along with electronics and a guzheng, the Chinese zither. Argentine sounds invest the lovely Dances of Mario Broeders for flute and harp, and the Cambodian American Chinary Ung brings Water Rings Overture for orchestra.

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