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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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
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment