Benjamin Lees: Composer who eschewed modernism in favour of a gritty, muscular clarity

The American composer Benjamin Lees had the bad luck to reach his stylistic maturity at a time when contemporary composition was besotted by modernism; more traditional idioms were regarded as passé. But Lees stuck to his guns, writing music he could be proud of, and when the serialist hegemony fell away he had a substantial corpus of solidly crafted works to show for his perseverance, written in a style that married gritty muscularity with formal clarity. The critic Steve Schwartz described it as "a dramatic neoclassicism, free of Stravinskian pastiche, darker than Piston, more direct than Diamond".

Online rivals bring brutal end to Blockbuster story

Enjoy the neon lighting and over-priced junk food while you can.

Maureen Forrester: Contralto celebrated for her interpretations of Mahler

The contralto Maureen Forrester gained worldwide fame as a recitalist and concert singer during the early part of her long career. Noted particularly for her magnificent interpretations of Mahler's songs and other vocal music, she also sang Brahms, Dvorák and Bach with equal facility, while her rich, opulent voice, always under perfect control, was agile enough for Handel's most florid music. She came to opera relatively late, but from the mid-1960s onward, while continuing her concert and recital tours, she also took one or two operatic engagements a year, mostly in North America.

Man dies after US police station shoot-out

A 29-year-old man towed a trailer full of explosives into a suburban Dallas police station's parking lot, then set fire to his pick-up truck and began shooting at the building, authorities said today.

BP agrees to pay $50m Texas fine

BP has agreed to pay a $50.6m fine for safety violations at its Texas City refinery, the troubled plant where 15 workers were killed in an explosion five years ago.

Rupert Cornwell: The US stays cool, but is global warming the price?

Out of America: Air conditioning helped to make America what it is today, and there's a risk it could change the rest of the world, too

DVD: Shrink (15)

E M Forster asked us all to "only connect", but you suspect the author would have shunned these LA bores, whining about their "genius" (Dallas Roberts's agent) and their frequent masturbating (Robin Williams's sozzled movie star).

Apple iPhone class action lawsuit gets legal backing

A US federal judge says a monopoly abuse lawsuit against Apple and AT&T's mobile phone unit can move forward as a class action.

Gay couple to have children christened

A gay couple that made legal history when they were jointly registered as fathers were this weekend christening their fourth and fifth children.

Stephen Foley: From Blockbuster to bust?

US Outlook: There is an air of the surreal surrounding the Blockbuster annual meeting in Dallas on Thursday.

Shrink (15)

Kevin Spacey leads this Hollywood ensemble drama about "the courage it takes to achieve happiness", which clues us into its therapy-driven mood.

Reina admits Liverpool must lower sights

Liverpool were facing the grim prospect of scaling down their aspirations from those of past seasons last night as co-owner Tom Hicks, whose US baseball team has filed for bankruptcy, raised the prospect of the club being under his ownership for a further 18 months.

BA's dream of US alliance to take off at last

Willy Walsh is under seige, but his proposed deal with American Airlines will soon get the go-ahead

Texas to vote on curriculum that changes history

The slave trade was in fact the "Atlantic triangular trade". Capitalism, with all its negative connotations, should in future be referred to as the "free enterprise system". And don't even think about buying into the theory of evolution: children must instead be taught that God created Earth using a euphemistically-titled technique known as "intelligent design".

Stricker to sit out Sawgrass event

Steve Striker has withdrawn from this week's Players Championship to rest his sore right shoulder.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
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Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices