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.

In an era when women had little voice, 12th-century abbess Hildegard of Bingen founded her own women's monastery, authored volumes of sacred text, served as a physician to her community, wrote the oldest surviving musical morality play, and produced plainchants of great expression and beauty. She was canonized in 2012.

Credit: Steph Mackinnon

What kind of music would speak to Bach today? Cellist Matt Haimovitz—who has been performing works by Bach in concert halls and clubs for the last three decades—asked composers to respond to the preludes from Bach’s cello suites. WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports.

Credit: Joseph Lange

Mozart mentioned in a letter to his father that he wanted to write a mass for his new wife Constanze, who was a soprano. “But there was no commission,” says Temple University music history professor Steven Zohn. “It’s not usual for him to write something on spec or just because he wanted to write something that showed the love for his wife.”

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2016-17 season is under way with Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the podium for his fifth year as music director of the Orchestra. WRTI will broadcast all 30 subscription concerts beginning Sunday, November 20th.

Opera Philadelphia and the Apollo Theater present Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, composed by Daniel Schnyder with a libretto by Bridgette A. Wimberly, in a New York premiere marking the first time opera is performed on the Apollo Theater stage, and the first time Opera Philadelphia produces in New York City. Listen on WRTI, Saturday, November 19th at 1 pm.

Now Is the Time jumps into the Giving Thanks for Philadelphia weekend on WRTI Saturday, November 19th at 9 pm. All the composers and many of the performers live in and around Philadelphia, or studied here. Retired Haverford College professor Harold Boatrite’s music is always smart and tuneful, and his Sonata for Flute and Piano is no exception. Daniel Kellogg and Zhou Tian both went through Curtis, and both have their works played here by Mimi Stillman, from her CD Odyssey.

This Saturday and Sunday, November 19th and 20th, is a Philadelphia weekend like no other on WRTI. Before Thanksgiving is upon us, we’re giving thanks for some of the great Philadelphia ensembles, instrumentalists, singers, and composers all weekend long!

Although their father was an amateur guitarist and composer, Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Clarinet Ricardo Morales and his four brothers and one sister have made music the family business. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Morales and each of his siblings began their careers there. Now they have multiple connections with the music community in Philadelphia. WRTI’s Susan Lewis talked with several of the brothers.

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.

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