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.

Sam Rivers: Sax symbol blows on

Sam Rivers played with Charles Mingus, Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix. Keith Shadwick meets the energetic octogenarian

The young and the restless

A new generation of conductors is taking Europe by storm. Jessica Duchen outlines the trials and triumphs that lie ahead in the pressure cooker of the pit

Denise Leigh: If at first you don't succeed

Winning the talent show Operatunity has taken the blind singer Denise Leigh to unimagined heights in the music world. But only after a decade of struggle, she tells James Rampton

Last Night of the Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London

So it was farewell to the 2004 Prom season; farewell to Michael Davis, leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra; and farewell to their chief conductor, Leonard Slatkin, after four eventful but far from harmonious years in the saddle.

Prom 36: BBC Scottish SO/Volkov, Royal Albert Hall London

When the Israeli-born Ilan Volkov was appointed chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra last year, much was made of the fact that he was only 27.

Proms 19 and 20: Bavarian Radio SO / Jansons, Royal Albert Hall, London

Here was a pair of Proms to which all those who insist that Western classical music is dead ought to have been frogmarched.

Sir Simon Rattle: Time for Britain's greatest living conductor to face the music?

This September, Sir Simon Rattle will perform at the BBC Proms at the head of arguably the greatest symphony orchestra in the world. For the past two years, Rattle has been principal conductor and artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and such is their combined lure that seats for the two concerts are already hard to come by, despite the presence on the programme of such difficult, challenging works as Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra, and the last significant offering of the French composer Olivier Messiaen, Eclairs sur l'Au-Dela.

America sings a new song of celebrity censorship

A furore over a Linda Ronstadt gig is the latest in a series of rows about politics that is casting a shadow over the world of US entertainment. By Andrew Gumbel

Preview Classical: l'enfance du Christ

Hector Berlioz, one of the most under-rated of the great composers, is loved by millions for his early Symphonie fantastique, yet the rest of his output is largely ignored. In truth, Berlioz's works often betray his origins as a "self-made" composer, but it is his refusal to act within formal constraints that make him such a genius. And if there is one conductor who has been responsible for altering our view of Berlioz from a "one- hit wonder" to a composer of rare originality, it is surely Sir Colin Davis, who has championed him for more than 30 years. Now, with the the London Symphony Orchestra, he has embarked on the year-long Berlioz Odyssey, an exploration of the composer's large-scale works. Last week we had the first opera, Benvenuto Cellini; this week we have the seasonal L'enfance du Christ, with a superb line-up of soloists, headed by Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside and Robert Lloyd. With more to come next year, this is a real cause for celebration.

Give over, Beethoven!

Musicians in top orchestras fear they'll go deaf as instruments get ever louder, reports Louise Jury

Preserving the unique sound of men behaving badly

`There has never been a truly great woman composer - and it will not do to blame the men'

Letter: Vienna chauvinists

Sir: The Promenade Concert on Monday evening, 6 September, was given by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. I was disgusted to see that the orchestra had no women members.

PROMS 99: THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS

TODAY

Before the week is out...Watch this

IF YOU'RE after a (bite-sized) slice of high culture on the cheap, Birmingham is the place to head to this week. The Royal Shakespeare Company, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Birmingham Royal Ballet are among the 80 organisations performing free on the city's streets as part of Artsfest 99. Each performance lasts only 30 minutes so you can enjoy a little of everything, from jazz to a live link-up to the Proms. Just the ticket for the short-attention-span generation.

Music: Prom Of The Week

Glyndebourne's annual visit - semi-staged, without the sets of a full show - is never more than a token of what you'd get in Sussex. With Debussy's Pelleas and Melisande that's a real loss, because Paul Brown's spectacular (if de trop) designs are its USP - housing the action in a grand salon whose spiral staircase and Perspex floor (lit from below through carpets of flowers) make an amazing visual impact. Stripped bare for the Albert Hall it will probably look lost and vague. But then, lost and vague is the traditional way to do Pelleas. Whatever survives of Graham Vick's production, you'll get diverting performances from Richard Croft and Christiane Oelze in the title roles, plus a tumultuous Golaud from John Tomlinson, who gives the part such a Wagnerian dimension you can only wonder where he's left his spear. Andrew Davis (above) conducts the London Philharmonic. Get there early. Monday 7pm
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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada