Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 29 November

Alex James explores all the important anniversaries, birthdays and on-this-day events in the world of classical music for the week ahead.

Tonight, Alex James begins by paying tribute to the great Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, pictured, who died in Brussels exactly 90 years ago today.  We'll be hearing some of Puccini's most famous works, including one particular operatic aria that introduced him to millions of people for the first time when it was sung by The Three Tenors at Italia 90 in Rome. 

10 reasons why we love Puccini > 

Looking ahead to the rest of the week, Alex features the brilliant Variations on a Rococo Theme by Tchaikovsky – which was premiered on 30th November 1877 – and raises a glass to the great British conductor Sir John Barbirolli, born 115 years ago on 1st December.   

Plus further premiere performances of Rachmaninov's Cello Sonata, Brahms's Symphony No.3, and Gershwin's jazz-infused Piano Concerto.

Classic FM Apps

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

Musical abbreviations quiz asset

You won’t get 20/20 on this quiz if you don’t know your musical abbreviations

musician would you rather

This musician edition of Would You Rather is completely excruciating

greatest best man speech

Everyone is saying this pianist gave the greatest best man speech of all time