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.

The legendary Broadway musical writing team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II produced their final show together, The Sound of Music, nine months before Hammerstein passed away of cancer. Yet throughout all the songs of the show, there’s a great sense of hope and optimism. “My Favorite Things,” with its holiday imagery, and its reminder to remember one’s favorite things when times are sad, has been adopted and adapted by jazz artists and pop artists to this day.

Handel’s Messiah, originally composed for performance during the springtime Christian observance of Lent, has become a contemporary staple of Christmas celebrations in modern America. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on this 18th-century oratorio.

Credit: Jan Northrop

This Sunday, December 18th at 1 pm, WRTI's broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert brings us a performance of the powerful Brahms Symphony No. 1, the composer’s answer to Beethoven, and the culmination of 15 years’ work. Parisian conductor Alain Altinoglu, who earned raves for his performances in his 2014 Philadelphia Orchestra debut, conducts. Download our App to listen wherever you are!

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.

Pages