Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 24 January 2015

Alex James casts an eye over the major musical anniversaries to celebrate in the week to come. Click below to listen again to the show.

beethoven bust visits classic fm

On this day in 1813, the Royal Philharmonic Society was founded. So tonight, Alex James begins by featuring its most famous commission: Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 - the 'Choral' Symphony.

Arguably the greatest symphony ever composed, it is the summit of Beethoven's achievements, a masterful musical celebration of humanity and a work that makes all who hear it feel better about life. And yet, the composer himself never actually heard it. When he conducted its premiere, he was famously unaware of the rapturous response. It took one of the musicians to alert him to the cheering audience – and that was only at the end of the second movement.

Looking ahead over the next week, there are plenty more anniversaries and ‘on this day’ events to mark, including the 70th anniversary of the birth of one of the 20th century's finest cellists – Jacqueline du Pré