Arts: This was the week that was

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The Independent Culture
Today On this day in 1960 Ben Hur won a record 10 Oscars ("...and many thanks to my chariot-dealer..."). On the same day in 1874 Strauss's Die Fledermaus, featuring a baritone dressed as a bat, began flitting round for the first time.

Tomorrow Albrecht Durer died in 1528. His Study of a Hare is much reproduced but he presumably held greater store by his 100-square-feet Triumphal Arch, the largest known woodcut. The first in-flight movie was screened in 1925, The Lost World - not Steven Spielberg's but the good version, based on Arthur Conan Doyle's original yarn.

Wednesday In 1919 Britain heard its first jazz music, from The Original Dixieland Jazz Band at the Hippodrome in London; they were sacked instantly for being better than the star of the show. But then no one said the blues would be easy: ask Billie Holiday, born in 1915.

Thursday Good news for pianists without room for a grand came in 1807: William Southwell patented the upright piano. Ten years ago London heard the first complete performance of Odyssey, the symphony by Nicholas Maw which clocked up the longest single-movement work in Western musical history: 100 (no coughing please) minutes.

Friday The first British drama series began in 1954: The Grove Family featured Mr Grove, Mrs Grove and Granny Grove. Carl Perkins was born in 1932; his "Blue Suede Shoes" was so outstanding that even Cliff Richard made a good fist of it.

Saturday The first conductor to perform in Britain was German Louis Spohr, keeping the tempo at a Philharmonic Society concert in 1820. As seen in Backbeat, Stuart Sutcliffe, the original Beatles bass-player, died in Hamburg.

Sunday In 1988 the music for Kenneth MacMillan's ballet Elite Syncopations, based on Scott Joplin's music and performed in Munich, was provided by two pianos; the rest of the Bavarian State Opera orchestra was silent, quoting a 1937 Nazi law banning music by black people.

Jonathan Sale