Watch John Suchet conduct Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in ‘one of the great moments of my life’

2 January 2022, 10:43

John Suchet conducts Radetzky March with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Classic FM presenter John Suchet conducts the RLPO in a performance of Strauss’ Radetzky March.

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For the last 10 years, John Suchet has presented the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s series of Christmas concerts.

In his final year of presenting RLPO’s Spirit of Christmas series, Suchet was given the chance to conduct the orchestra in the Radetzky March by Johann Strauss I, as a final farewell gift.

“I wasn’t going to say no to that was I?” quips Suchet, “I don’t think Sandra Parr of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra has ever received a quicker reply. Just in case she changed her mind.

“On the final night, Sandra presented me with a framed photograph of the orchestra, signed by the players, and I mounted the podium for the last time. From the first night playing on autopilot, on the sixth the orchestra followed my beat from beginning to end.”

The Last Waltz: The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna

The Radetzky March was first performed 1848 and was dedicated to Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz, who is best known for his victory at the Battle of Custoza earlier that year.

Along with the Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss II, Strauss’s son, the piece became an unofficial Austrian national anthem.

Since 1946, the piece has been played every year at the famous New Year’s Concert (Neujahrskonzert) of the Vienna Philharmonic, and the orchestra – which is Classic FM’s Orchestra in North West England – now performs a new 2020 arrangement of the work, commissioned by the board of directors of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Suchet added: “Those who witnessed it said they had never seen a smile that stretched so wide. It was one of the great moments of my life. Proof that a schoolboy dream really can come true.”

Bravo, maestro Suchet!

John Suchet presents The Classic FM Concert every weekday evening from 8pm to 10pm.