The RLPO celebrated its 175th anniversary today – and Classic FM was at the party

12 March 2015, 22:32 | Updated: 23 April 2015, 16:53

There was Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Vasily Petrenko, a brilliant choir - and lots of cake. And Classic FM broadcast the anniversary concert. Relive the party here.

Welcome to Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, where the RLPO was to perform Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to mark its 175th anniversary.

Live broadcast

Classic FM was broadcasting live from nearby Liverpool John Moores University. Hi, John Suchet and Anne-Marie Minhall!



The RLPO were making their own preparations. Classic FM's Jane Jones spoke to Ian Tracey, Chorus Master of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir. He was keen to point out that the Liverpool Philharmonic's choir was actually formed before the orchestra 175 years ago. "The choir are very sensitive about the fact that they came first and the orchestra came second," Tracey said. Listen to the full interview by clicking 'play' below.


Yes, the choir was definitely excited:

Mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge, one of tonight's soloists, is Liverpool born-and-bred. "Live music in general is such a big thing to Liverpool. There's such a great history of it here and this is a world-class orchestra."


Maestro Petrenko

Jane also ambushed Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko on his way to his dressing room. He told her of the Beethoven piece his orchestra will be playing tonight: "Ode to Joy - what can be more joyful on such an anniversary?" Hear the full interview by clicking 'play' below. 


The rehearsal

What could we expect tonight from Petrenko and the RLPO? Some of this: 


A photo posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) on Mar 12, 2015 at 8:34am PDT


And this:


A video posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) on Mar 12, 2015 at 9:10am PDT


And the rest of this:


The RLPO rehearsing LVB. You can hear all this LIVE on Classic FM at 8pm tonight

A video posted by Classic FM (@classicfm) onMar 12, 2015 at 9:41am PDT


And if you were in any doubt as to the importance of Beethoven's Ninth - the climax of tonight's concert - then Barry Cooper, professor of music at Manchester University, was there to explain to Jane Jones (accompanied by some background double bass): "This was the first time we'd had a choral finale to a symphony. To have a symphony which has a choir in it was completely novel."


The performance

Surprise! As the RLPO took to the stage, we learned that the orchestra would begin the concert with a bonus piece: Rossini’s Fair is the Bride, which was played at their first concert on 12 March 1840.

And, two hours later, what was the verdict?

Take a bow, Vasily:

Vasily Petrenko and the Liverpool Philharmonic

And the choir, too:

Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmon

The after-party

Every anniversary concert needs a birthday cake. This one was served up with buckets of prosecco. Many happy returns, RLPO!