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.

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.

An emotionally charged new work commissioned exclusively by The Philadelphia Orchestra, and given its World Premiere last November by the Philadelphians, will be re-broadcast in its entirety on WRTI’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on Sunday, August 7th at 1 pm. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

On Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, Saturday from 5 to 6 pm on WRTI... As we’ve seen this year on Discoveries, the rise of American orchestral music followed composers and orchestras, as you might think. And because orchestras have leaders, we’ve started looking at conductors, too.

The Philadelphia region is rich with music schools training the next generation of artists. South-African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana, a 2014 graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts, and a 2013 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, stands out and already has a busy international performance schedule.

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