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.

BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/ Bychkov, Barbican Hall

Ask not for whom the bell tolls. Rachmaninov didn’t: he knew. Or rather he was convinced that they all tolled for him. His splendid choral symphony The Bells is full of ominous premonition with even the “Silver Sleigh Bells” of a lost youth - scintillating with some of the composer’s most expensive orchestration - promising only oblivion.

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/ Rattle, Barbican Hall

They’ve called this unprecedented five-day residency “The London Concerts” and having already shown off the youthful core of players at the heart of this venerable and venerated orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra duly expanded from chamber to symphonic proportions and crossed the river from the Southbank to the Barbican for what was by any standards a wondrous display of high-end artistry.

First Night: Berliner Philharmoniker/Simon Rattle, Queen Elizabeth Hall

'Orchestral republic' shows its power with Rattle at the helm

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

Two perfect works in perfect equilibrium; Mozart and Mahler well met indeed.

London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/ Elder, Barbican Hall

Elgar’s The Kingdom arrives in the heat of inspiration on a surge of orchestral magnificence. A glorious theme representing “New Faith” is announced in the strings, as noble and aspirational as anything Elgar wrote.

Radio 3 - Low-brow, lightweight and losing its way?

What's happened to Radio 3? It seems to fear treating classical music seriously, says regular listener Nicholas de Jongh

London Symphony Orchestra/ Douglas/ Roth, Barbican Hall

Programming Liszt is like counting calories: you can blow your entire month’s intake in less than an hour.

London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Saraste, Royal Festival Hall

In a programme note for the premiere of his 2nd Violin Concerto in 1943 Bohuslav Martinu wrote of the eternal tension between “absolute music” and music with an expressive purpose.

Barefoot orchestra blows its own horn

Kinshasa, the chaotic capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is used to just about every noise imaginable.

Album: Khachaturian, Spartacus/Gayaneh (Onyx)

Under Marin Alsop, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra raised its game with recordings of Bernstein and Adams. Now its new director, Kirill Karabits, has chosen an impactful selection of music from Khachaturian's ballets for his debut recording, affording a lively workout for the percussionists.

London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Petrenko, Royal Festival Hall

What a journey we took here from the muted half-lights of Stravinsky’s Scherzo Fantastique to the tumultuous bell-laden prophecy at the close of Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony.

Jiri Novak: Violinist who eschewed a solo virtuoso career to lead the Smetana Quartet for more than 30 years

Jiri Novak, the leader of the celebrated Smetana Quartet, was considered to bethe foremost string-quartet leader of his time, and was one whose modesty concealed an enormous talent and profound musicianship.

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Hall, London<br/>Markus Werba, Wigmore Hall, London<br/>London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London

As the BBC Symphony Orchestra turns 80, its value for money has never been more pronounced

Observations: Flick the baton and win a prize

Next week, 20 young conductors will compete in London for a prize of £15,000 and the chance to work for a year as assistant conductor to the London Symphony Orchestra. Whence comes this contest, some of whose winners are now established stars? Step forward Donatella Flick, daughter of an Ossetian prince and fanatical donor to musical and humanitarian charities.

Faust, Coliseum, London<br/>London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London

A splendidly sung and updated reading of a morality tale loses the Faustian themes of shame and the supernatural
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Bruges
Lake Como
Burgundy
South AFrica
Paris
Northern Corsica
Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game