Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 25 July 2015, 7pm

Join Alex James as he journeys through all the most important dates in the classical music world over the week ahead.

Holyrood Abbey ruins

On tonight’s show, Alex discovers how Mendelssohn’s visit to Holyrood palace in Scotland inspired a symphony. On his visit to the palace - the castle where Mary, Queen of Scots had lived - Mendelssohn visited the room where courtier David Rizzio was murdered. The composer was particularly inspired by the ruins. "Everything around is broken and moldering and the bright sky shines in. I believe I have found today in that old chapel the beginning of my Scottish symphony." He jotted down 10 bars that were to become the introductory theme of the symphony.

Gallery: Mendelssohn went to Scotland in 1829. Here's how much he hated the music >

Also this evening, Alex finds out why Haydn received a substantial pay rise, and celebrates the anniversaries of the births of composers John Field - inventor of the Nocturne - and Enrique Granados. 

There will also be music to mark the birthdays of pianist Angela Hewitt, and conductors Christopher Warren-Green and Riccardo Muti.