A special occasion calls for a very special concert – and from the epic tragedy of its opening to its transcendent final Hymn to Joy, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has long been classical music’s supreme act of celebration. So what better way for the BBC SSO to toast Donald Runnicles’ 60th birthday than with the work at the very centre of his beloved German Romantic tradition. First, though, two of the orchestra’s principal players begin the festivities with one of the few pieces that can truly look Beethoven in the eye: Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, music of sublime grandeur and heart-rending beauty.
Prelude: 3.00pm (free to ticket-holders)
James Naughtie, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today, in conversation with Donald Runnicles.
The concert will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3.