Album: Lisa Smirnova, Handel: Die Acht Grossen Suiten (ECM New Series)

The diversity of Handel's works, especially popular ones such as the Messiah, Royal Fireworks and Water Music, has tended to overshadow his keyboard compositions. T

Ken Russell arriving to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house

Ken Russell: Film director whose style was unmistakable and whose love of controversy defined his career

Ken Russell was a flamboyant and often controversial figure who won an Oscar nomination for his film Women in Love (1969), famous for its graphic and passionate nude wrestling scene between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed. An eccentric, larger-than-life personality, he was for a time the British cinema's enfant terrible, who often battled censors and distributors over his unconventional approach to such varied and distinctive fare as The Music Lovers (1970), The Devils (1971), The Boy Friend (1971) and the rock opera Tommy (1975).

Alice Sara Ott, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Every year the international piano circus requires a new pin-up: last year’s was Yuja Wang, this year it’s Alice Sara Ott.

Album: Vivaldi, Il Cimento dell'Armonia... – Avison Ensemble / Beznosiuk (Linn)

Though based in the North-East, the Avison's double-disc of Vivaldi's Opus 8 Violin Concertos rivals the sun-kissed performances of Europa Galante and Concerto Italiano.

Album: Manchester Camerata, Tchaikovsky: Variations On A Rococo Theme; Prokofiev: Symphony No 1 (Avie)

This is the first fruit of Gábor Takács-Nagy's tenure as conductor with Manchester Camerata.

Sword and sorcery: 'The Legend of Zelda: the Minish Cap'

How Xbox fans could save classical music

Rebecca Armstrong tunes into orchestral renditions of video game soundtracks

Album: Anna Netrebko, Live at the Metropolitan Opera (Deutsche Grammophon)

This compilation of highlights from Anna Netrebko's Metropolitan Opera roles makes a distinctive introduction to her talents.

Chamber Prom 3, Prom 23, Rousset/Talens Lyriques/Hough/Noseda/BBC Philharmonic (4/5, 5/5)

Christophe Rousset regards his harpsichord as a time-machine, and his travels have yielded impressive fruit: he’s brought to light scores of works by French and Italian Baroque composers which had been overshadowed by Handel and Vivaldi.

Album: Benjamin Grosvenor, Chopin/Liszt/Ravel (Decca)

Benjamin Grosvenor is the baby-faced piano prodigy who at 18 is the youngest musician ever to sign for Decca. His debut programme for the label ingeniously moves from Chopin to Ravel's "Gaspard De La Nuit" by way of Liszt's "En Rêve", a pleasing arc further finessed by the way he alternates Chopin scherzos and nocturnes, respectively showcasing Grosvenor's boundless dexterity and his precocious sensitivity.

Album: C P E Bach, Harpsichord Concertos – Staier/ Müllejans/Freiburger (Harmonia Mundi)

Published in 1772, C P E Bach's "Sei Concerti" marked the end of three decades of boredom as court harpsichordist to Frederick the Great.

Album: David Wilde, Wilde Plays Beethoven (Delphian)

David Wilde follows his solo piano albums dedicated to Brahms and Schumann with these masterly interpretations of three of Beethoven's most imposing sonatas, in which he aims to show the composer's progression from despair at losing his hearing, through optimism to spiritual aspiration.

Album: Bach, Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin – Pavlo Beznosiuk (Linn)

Borne on the breath of the bow, Bach's works for solo violin offer perhaps the most intimate connection to the composer. As Beznosiuk puts it, "the notion of interpretation seems irrelevant".

Early Opera Company, The Messiah

Messiahs come in all shapes and sizes, and did so from the start. The oratorio’s first performers, in Dublin in 1742, doubled as soloists and chorus.

Album: Vivaldi and Friends, La Folia etc – Apollo's Fire/Sorrell (Avie)

Borrowings and adaptations were meat and bread to the Baroque composers.

Adriana Lecouvreur, Royal Opera House, London

It’s more than a century since Covent Garden last staged Francesco Cilea’s ‘Adriana Lecouvreur’, and the reason they’re doing it now – for astronomical seat prices – is glaringly obvious.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
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