One of the major topics of the London Book Fair this year, as indeed in many previous years, concerns the digitisation of books and how that growing trends is having an impact on the industry as a whole. This lunchtime, on the World at One on BBC Radio Four, Martha Kearney has been discussing those issues with a number of studio guests. One of the other commentators savvily pointed out that in the future there will be two types of books: e-books and beautiful books. I wondered whether there was something in this that we might take over into the classical music industry and particularly its dwindling recording arm.

Richard Strauss's 150th birthday has spurred a great slew of recordings, some new, some re-released. The trend reaches a particularly profligate level this month, with discs featuring old established interpreters such as Wilhelm Furtwängler and Karl Böhm sitting proudly side by side with a new guard of Daniel Harding and Andris Nelsons.

Wes Anderson is well-known for whacky. And his ostensible Stefan Zweig tribute, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is no different. Gaudy in colour and no less variegated in its humour, the film is a romp from start to finish. But in a world where style certainly seeks to impress above substance, it's a considerable feat that Anderson's film also has great heart. Whether or not it ultimately has anything to do with Zweig is another matter.

The world of Lieder is, to quote A.E. Housman, a 'land of lost content', full of 'happy highways' and not quite so happy highways where we 'cannot come again'. That is unless you're Thomas Larcher, the Austrian-born composer, whose new disc is out on Harmonia Mundi. I first heard Larcher's work at Wigmore Hall in 2011, including a song cycle he had written for one of my favourite singers, Mark Padmore.

The Royal Opera House announced its plans for the the 2014/15 season this morning. On the dance side, there are enticing propositions from Wayne McGregor, who's creating a full-length work for The Royal Ballet based on Virginia Woolf's output, with a new score by Max Richter. There are also new one-act works from Hofesh Shechter, who's this year's Brighton Festival Guest Director, and in-house favourite Liam Scarlett.
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Roger Wright, currently controller of BBC Radio 3 and director of the BBC Proms, is going to become Chief Executive of Aldeburgh Music. Few can have envied Wright's task of steering BBC Radio 3 through the ongoing cuts and adjustments to the way the Corporation is run.
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And so David Pountney continues his austerity-bucking plans for WNO. Announcing his 2014/15 season for the Cardiff-based company, Pountney has lined-up a punchy Rossini season, with Mosè in Egitto and Guillaume Tell, before a spring season of 'magic, with Die Zauberflöte and Hänsel und Gretel side by side and, finally, the UK premiere of Richard Ayres's Peter Pan and a new Pelléas et Mélisande for Wales in the summer.

A few years ago I was lucky to be invited by White Label for EMI (as was) to write the liner notes for a re-release of Willi Boskovsky's survey of the waltzes, polkas and gallops of the Golden Age of Johann Strauss II and his coterie. The recordings have formed the backbone to my current History of the Waltz course at City Lit, which sadly finishes next week. Boskovsky's not trendy.

I have always loved Die Frau ohne Schatten, since the moment I first heard the Act II finale, 'Barak, ich hab' es nicht getan!', on an EMI CD of highlights for The Royal Opera's 1992/93 season. Back then Bernard Haitink was at the helm – the disc featured Sawallisch's Bavarian recording – though last night it was Semyon Bychkov who voyaged through Strauss's vast score.
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I'm currently teaching the History of the Waltz at City Lit. It's a speedy five-week course that began by looking at the waltz's predecessors – the minuet and the Ländler – the dance's status as a rather louche, amorous pastime and, of course, some of its greatest exponents. Last week, when preparing for a lesson on the first Johann Strauss, I read that during Fasching (the Viennese carnival season) of 1848, Strauss conducted at 125 balls and composed eight new pieces for the season.
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