Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 4 October 2014, 7pm

Alex continues his weekly journey through the coming week's important anniversaries, birthdays and events.

Tonight Alex James begins by featuring Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, which premiered in New York on this day in 1945. The ballet tells the story of pioneer settlers establishing a homestead and interacting with the landscape around them. Oddly enough, the title and the ballet are unconnected, with choreographer Martha Graham deliberately misconstruing the meaning as being related to the season spring, rather than the originally intended spring of water. Regardless, the ballet was a hit and Copland expanded his score to be played by a full orchestra.

We'll also be hearing music by the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana – who made his concert debut on this day in 1830, aged just six years old – as well as Gershwin's An American in Paris, to mark the release of the film of the same name on this day in 1951. 

Looking further ahead over the week to come, there'll be birthday celebrations for cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and a selection of recordings from the brilliant Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire, who turns 70 on 8th October.