Cultural life: Nicola Benedetti, violinist

'Barbra Streisand is always a joy to watch'

Live Music

Most recent was Ravel's arrangement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, a suite in ten movements originally written for piano solo, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Although Ravel's arrangement perhaps loses some subtleties of the original, it is a fascinating combination of Russian material and French orchestration. Another recent performance I attended was Blood on the Fields, written by Wynton Marsalis, and performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in New York in their Rose Theatre. This piece is an epic jazz oratorio on slavery and freedom.

Films

Trance, a truly fascinating film, with a beautiful performance by Rosario Dawson. And The Guilt Trip with Barbra Streisand. She is always a joy to watch.

Television

I was particularly stirred by Good Italy, Bad Italy on BBC4 and its artistic and varied presentation of Italy's economic and moral decline within the last two decades.

Books

Zadie Smith's NW is a great novel. Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett's The Spirit Level: Why Equality Is Better for All of Us, presents solid evidence that societies fare better when they are equal.

Nicola Benedetti performs a one-off concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London W8 (www.royalalberthall.com) on 25 September

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