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.

This Sunday, December 18th at 3 pm on WRTI, Symphony in C joins with the Greater South Jersey Chorus in a performance of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah. Recorded live December 10th, this concert brings to life the well-loved 274-year-old masterpiece, called “truly immortal” by Symphony in C’s music director, Stilian Kirov.

Although Handel’s Messiah is now regularly performed during the Christmas holidays, the work was actually premiered in the spring before Easter. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on the fantastically successful masterpiece, which was created by necessity in just 24 days over two centuries ago.


Philadelphia’s role in the formation of our government is characteristic of a time when the city and its leading residents were forging firsts of all kinds. As Handel’s Messiah is performed this holiday season, WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston wondered when and where those first citizens might have heard the great Baroque work.

WRTI's Mark Pinto fills us in on the latest classical music CDs on Saturdays after the opera on Classical New Releases. Check out five newly released recordings he recommends!

Credit: Felix Broede

Join us this Sunday on WRTI for a mini festival of Russian favorites, as Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève returns to the Verizon Hall podium to conduct The Philadelphians. Download our new App to listen wherever you are in the world!

Music of memories sleeping and waking inhabit Now Is the Time on WRTI this Saturday, December 10th at 9 pm. A sparkling duo for violin and piano is A Dream of Waking by Dan Becker, and Elizabeth Brown walks us through the mnemonic device of remembrance in The Memory Palace for a trio of flute, cello, and piano. Brown is the flutist, also. Curt Cacioppo takes us through his own memories of Italy in his string quartet Divertimenti in Italia.

The last time New York's Metropolitan Opera presented a work written by a woman was 113 years ago. It's a drought that lasted longer than the years between the Cubs' World Series victories. That situation has finally been rectified this week with the New York premiere of the opera L'Amour de Loin by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.

Credit: Felix Broede

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a highly educated member of the Russian elite. But it’s his connection with folk tunes and the countryside that especially touches one of today’s young classical stars. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

You can take a bus or car to the historic mansions of Fairmount Park this holiday season, but in the past a sleigh would have carried you there. Here’s WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston on the sights you may have seen along the way. On Saturday, December 3rd, WRTI hosts will be appearing at this year’s Fairmount Park Historic Home Holiday Tour for "Sounds of the Season."

What's the longest-running continuous classical radio series in American broadcast history? The Metropolitan Opera's Saturday matinee broadcasts, launched in 1931! The 86th season of live Saturday broadcasts begins on December 3rd. Full schedule below.

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