"The 1808 concert included two symphonies, No. 5 and No. 6 ("Pastoral"), the Fourth Piano Concerto, two movements from the Mass in C, a concert aria for soprano and orchestra, an improvisation on the piano and, as a rousing finale, a hurriedly composed work that involved all the performers (pianist, singers, chorus and orchestra), the Choral Fantasy.
In effect it was two demanding concerts rolled into one hopelessly lengthy one. The obvious question is why did Beethoven set it up in this manner? Why not have two concerts a few weeks apart? Romantic biographers will suggest that it was the product of an idealistic creative figure with little or no sense of practicalities.
"There may have an element of that, but the unhelpful practices of public concert life in Vienna at the time – familiar enough to Beethoven – certainly did not help. Compared with London, Paris, and several cities in Germany, such as Leipzig and Munich, public concerts (as opposed to private concerts) were a patchy affair in Vienna: there was no regular concert series from year to year and composers and solo performers had instead to seek out spare dates in the calendars of the main theatres...
He retained this determination when he discovered that the date coincided with a charity concert for widows and orphans of musicians, held in another theatre. Performers in the city naturally gave that concert priority, making it difficult for Beethoven to assemble the best players and singers."
"Some of the world's top business people and politicians - plus a smattering of celebrities - will gather in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week. US President Donald Trump, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi are among the guests.
But what is the jet-set event for and is it elitist?"
"WEF typically attracts around 3,000 people, about a third of them from business. To go you have to be invited - in which case the event is free - or a member of WEF, which can cost £480,000.
World leaders, key figures from the UN and EU and the heads of major firms like Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs and IBM attend.
Regular guests include billionaire financier George Soros, former UK prime minister Tony Blair, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and U2 singer Bono.
However, new data from the World Economic Forum indicates that only 239 people from the UK will be attending this year - the lowest UK attendance since 2010 - after Boris Johnson banned ministers from attending the event."
"Talk of “levelling up” the north, the rhetorical trope that has become highly fashionable among ministers since the election, is no more than blather until we see the colour of the money. It is not a bad idea to recast the Treasury’s rules to help regional projects to secure more approvals, but it will only be a winning formula if productive ideas result. Beaten-up high streets will not be reinvigorated easily or overnight. Higher skills and better employment opportunities cannot be magicked up with a wave of Whitehall’s wand."
"If … you’re drinking Bacardi...
What can you say? Other than: why are you still here? Did someone order some more wrong, with a side order of obnoxiously erroneous"
"In an age of cynicism and spin, Jess Phillips was authentic and frank in a way which illustrated perfectly why she seems to have little or no chance of becoming Labour's next leader...
"Should a party leader tell members what they don't want to hear?", with a rapid and sincere "absolutely"...
A moment later, she was in full flow. The promise of free broadband was "rubbish," mass renationalisation of utilities, including water, should not be a priority "while there are still homeless people on the street and still, you know, young lads getting murdered on most streets in most cities."
In other words, she was saying, forget about these totemic ideologically driven pledges. There are many, much more important things to do."