Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 18 July 2015, 7pm

Alex James takes you on a weekly tour through the important dates and events from more than a thousand years of classical music’s history.

On this week's show, Alex discovers why 90 years ago this week, Time magazine made Gershwin its first cover-star musician. He was big news - the premiere of Rhapsody in Blue the year before had given him a profile which would have been unimaginable for any other composer of concert music.

And did you know that Saint-Saens had his own museum? A distant cousin of the composer's was a librarian in Dieppe, and Saint-Saens regularly sent him photos, sketches of his works, autographed manuscripts and all the mail he received. This museum – now housed in a 15th century castle overlooking the English Channel – today holds some 20,000 letters addressed the the composer.

Also tonight Alex cuts a slice of birthday cake for Ladies in Lavender composer Nigel Hess and the superb Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti. 

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