Steven Zohn

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.”

George Frideric Handel was born in Germany in 1685, and moved to Britain as a young man. He spent his most productive years there, and became a naturalized British subject in his early 40s. His now-famous Water Music suites, commissioned for King George I for a ceremonial boat ride on the River Thames in London, were first performed during the summer of 1717.

Falling off the podium or into the orchestra pit weren’t the occupational hazards befalling French Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully - but his was no less risky. Temple University Professor Steven Zohn, an expert in Baroque music, recounts the conducting move that led to Lully’s death.

J.S. Bach’s second-surviving son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), was a musical force in his own right. His fame, at least after the mid-1700s, overshadowed that of his now-legendary father. This year, six German cities with ties to C.P.E.’s musical footprint in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt (Oder), Leipzig, Potsdam, and Weimar are leading a celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth.   

Today, J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos are among the most popular pieces from the Baroque era. WRTI’s Susan Lewis explores the mystery in the story of the famous concertos.   

On Sunday, August 11th at 2 pm, WRTI will broadcast a recorded live concert featuring The Philadelphia Orchestra performing three of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, his Double Violin Concerto, and his Orchestral Suite No. 3.


Today, J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos are among the most popular pieces from the Baroque era. WRTI’s Susan Lewis explores the mystery in the story of the famous concertos.   

On Sunday, May 19th, WRTI will broadcast The Philadelphia Orchestra performing three of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, his Double Violin Concerto, and his Orchestral Suite No. 3.