Dmitri Shostakovich

Military Wives scoop Classical Brit

The Military Wives' choirmaster described the group's prize win at the Classical Brits as “the candle on the icing of a very large cake”.

Independent classical podcast: Andrew Litton

It's a well-kept secret that the Bergen Philharmonic is one of the world's oldest orchestras - 246 years old and counting. Norway's most famous son, Edvard Grieg, was himself artistic director from 1880-1882. Now, and for the foreseeable future, an American is at the helm.

Prom 52: LSO/Gergiev, Royal Albert Hall, London

How do you musically represent the explosion of an atom bomb? Last year John Adams showed us in his new opera Dr Atomic: a succession of shattering brass triads in G sharp minor, with an extra hyper-romantic chord thrown in. Alfred Schnittke's way, half a century ago, was to bombard his audience with everything in his orchestral armoury – string and trombone glissandi, cluster-chords, roars on percussion, and tremolandi all round. But the Nagasaki oratorio which Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra brought to the Proms didn't give us Schnittke the mature and playful "polystylist": this was Schnittke the student, and it showed.

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The Brothers Karamazov, Barbican, London

It's a brave (or foolhardy) man who dares to make an opera of Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. Throughout the long first act of Alexander Smelkov and Yury Dimitrin's adaptation for the Mariinsky Theatre, the effect was a little like speed-reading it while under the influence. If you didn't know the novel at all, the seemingly reckless dash of the narrative, the dislocation of characters and ideas, will have left you feeling marooned in some grand farce. To some extent, Dostoyevsky's last novel is just that – the anatomy of a chaotic society and the human conditions driving it. But still I wonder if the composer and his librettist have got the balance right between the grimly ironic and the tragic?

LSO / Previn, Barbican Hall, London

It doesn't seem so very long ago (but it was) that André Previn crossed over from the darkside (aka Hollywood) and sought the classical limelight in London. He sported a Beatles haircut and a spring in his step, and Eric Morecambe called him Mr Preview.

A concert for Ossetians – to Russia's tune

Many have lost relatives, some no longer have homes, but they all put on their best evening dress and flocked to Tskhinvali's central square to see one of the world's most famous conductors lead an emotional concert in support of his people – and Russian military action.