On this day in 1813, a group of musicians first came together to “encourage an appreciation by the public in the art of music.” They eventually became the Royal Philharmonic Society, and to mark the anniversary this afternoon, John plays a movement from one of the greatest works it ever commissioned; Beethoven’s Symphony No.9. We’ll hear the Philharmonia Orchestra perform the opening movement, under Charles Mackerras.
Also this week sees the anniversary of the printed music score. Queen Elizabeth I granted the exclusive rights to William Byrd and Thomas Tallis in January 1575, so John plays one of Tallis’ most beautiful motets, If Ye Love Me.
Sunday 31 January
This afternoon, John marks the birthdays of two great composers, born exactly 140 years apart: Franz Schubert and Philip Glass. First, we hear a movement from one of the seven symphonies Schubert completed, his Symphony No.5, in a recording from Neville Mariner with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Later, Gidon Kremer is the soloist in Glass’ celebrated Violin Concerto, joined by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Christoph von Donhanyi.
John also features the Morriston Orpheus Choir, one of Wales’ leading male voice choirs, which turned 85 years old in 2020. We hear them sing the Joseph Parry hymn Aberystwyth.
Sunday 7 February
John features the music of Debussy – The Girl with the Flaxen Hair – performed by one of his favourite musicians, the great Daniel Barenboim. There’s further music close to John’s heart, as the Llanelli Male Voice Choir sing a traditional song that’s become synonymous with Welsh rugby, ‘Calon Lan’. Later in the programme John features another piece chosen by a Classic FM listener that sparked a love of classical music.