Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 12 December 2015, 7pm

The Nutcracker, Peter Wright ROH

Alex James tells the stories behind some of this week's musical anniversaries.

Tonight, Alex celebrates the premieres of two landmark pieces by Beethoven - his Fifth Symphony and Fourth Piano Concerto, as well as the first performances of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker (pictured), Schubert’s opera Rosamunde, and Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé.

Alex also marks the anniversary of the birth of Puccini, and celebrates an academic appointment in St Petersburg for Russian composer Alexander Borodin – but it wasn't a musical one; his new job was as a senior scientist.

And there are birthday celebrations for trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins, cellist Steven Isserlis and conductor William Christie.

Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

Cat composer Alexander Livitsanos

This utterly adorable kitten is the ultimate distraction from work

chocolate bar musical taste

Can we guess your favourite chocolate bar from your favourite composer?

broken e-string violin

This clip captures the sheer horror of an E-string snapping halfway through a live radio broadcast