Arts and Entertainment

First seen as part of a 1912 double bill, Ariadne auf Naxos was revised and reshaped as Europe plunged into the carnage of the First World War. Strauss was profoundly relieved when his son, Franz, was declared unfit for military service. But his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, had already served as a reservist when the now familiar version of their backstage comedy on high and low art premiered in Vienna in 1916, four days after the assassination of the prime minister in the dining room of a hotel a few minutes' walk from the opera house.

Classical review: Ariadne auf Naxos, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, East Sussex

Glyndebourne productions which put Glyndebourne itself on stage are nothing new, but for Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos director Katharina Thoma has harnessed a strand of history which has hitherto gone unremarked. In 1940, with opera off the menu, Glyndebourne became a reception centre for evacuee children.

Southbank Centre to host largest festival of 20th century music in 2013

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The Cunning Little Vixen, Glyndebourne Festival, Glyndebourne, East Sussex

It might be deduced that the only thing worse than working with children and animals would be working with children as animals. But Leoš Janáček was unfazed by the old Hollywood adage and his cartoon-strip derived opera The Cunning Little Vixen was spirited from page to stage with uncynical conviction and, it has to be said, no end of technical hazards.

Album: Ravi Shankar, Symphony (LPO)

It's not uncommon for Western composers like Tavener to bring Eastern influences into their work, but much rarer for an Indian classicist to operate in the Western tradition, as Ravi Shankar does here in his Symphony, which follows the classical four-movement structure but incorporates sitar (played by Shankar's daughter Anoushka) and raga scales into the orchestration.

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Nézet-Séguin, Royal Festival Hall, London

Bruckner’s unfinished final symphony - the 9th - poses many questions, none more perplexing than what might have been in terms of its absent finale.

London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Fleming/ Eschenbach, Royal Festival Hall (3/5)

With Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture raising the curtain, so to speak, Renée Fleming arrived like Venus in a soufflé of black and bronze layered chiffon.

Miracle maestro: Gustavo Dudamel brings music from Venezuela's slums to the Proms

Cometh the hour, cometh "The Dude". A few years ago, it felt as if classical music's energy was flagging. It needed a superhero: a young, hip, charismatic figurehead who could take centre stage and inspire a new generation to embrace an art that should be accessible to all but is not always perceived that way. Then, out of the impoverished urban sprawls of Venezuela, emerging from a legendary music education scheme known as El Sistema, along bounced Gustavo Dudamel.

Album: Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker, Schoenberg (EMI Classics)

Schoenberg first orchestrated Brahms' Piano Quartet No 1 because he felt that the pianist had a tendency to drown out the small string section.

Prom 24: BBC Symphony Orchestra/ Davis, Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall can be an intimate place, mysteriously transforming on occasions from monster auditorium to private salon.

Prom 21: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Chorus / Nelsons, Royal Albert Hall, London

At 33, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s Music Dirctor Andris Nelsons is young but still almost a decade older than Richard Strauss was when he showed the world how he planned to go on with his dazzling tone poem Don Juan – a piece with an excess of just about everything except length.

The Damnation of Faust, Coliseum, London<br/>London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London<br/>The Night Shift, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

The latest English National Opera newcomer succumbs to the guaranteed shock factor of Nazi Germany in updating the fable of a pact with the Devil

Album: Brahms, Ein Deutches Requiem &ndash;J&#228;rvi/SRC/FRSO (Virgin Classics)

Paavo Järvi's spacious, serene reading of A German Requiem is beautifully recorded.

Album: Paavo Jarvi, Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem (Virgin Classics)

Following his brilliant interpretation of Beethoven's 9th, Järvi turns his attention to another German musical milestone, Brahms' most imposing work.

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Jansons, Royal Festival Hall, London

The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra brought Strauss – oodles of it – for this Shell Classics International at the Royal Festival Hall; and as they signed off with one of those signature Rosenkavalier waltzes, all swooning strings and tumbling horns, there wasn’t a great deal more we could have asked of them.

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