Album: London Chamber Orchestra, Ravel/Fauré/Poulenc/Ibert (Signum Classics)


Sometimes, music requires more than merely combined star power to make it work, as Watch the Throne, the eagerly-awaited alliance between Jay-Z and Kanye West, seems to confirm.

The latest of the LCO Live series offers an engaging and varied programme of French Romanticism combining the well-known (Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante défunte" and Faure's "Pavane") with more abstruse pieces such as Ravel's giddily involving but graceful tribute to his predecessor, "Le Tombeau de Couperin", and Jacques Ibert's six-part suite "Divertissement", as gaudy and brashly-coloured as a cheap tablecloth in a seafront bistro. The centrepiece of the programme is Poulenc's "Piano Concerto", the opening section of which alone seems to incorporate more disparate styles than most composers cover in a career.

DOWNLOAD THIS: Le Tombeau de Couperin; Piano Concerto; Divertissement

Album: ALICE SARA OTT, Beethoven (Deutsche Grammophon)


Alice Sara Ott's follow-up to last year's remarkable studies of Chopin, Liszt and Tchaikovsky finds the gifted young pianist taking on Beethoven's two C-major sonatas, with a mature reading of the "Waldstein" preceded by an equally impressive take on the less frequently performed No 3 Sonata. It's this latter which provides the more gripping ride, from the dashing brilliance of the Allegro con brio first movement before negotiating the sudden thrust in a more melancholy direction in the Adagio. Finally, the rolling cadences of the concluding Allegro assai capture Ott's youthful spirit at its most attractively coltish.

DOWNLOAD THIS: Piano Sonata No 3 in C major; Piano Sonata No 21 in C major, "Waldstein"

Album: LUCA FRANCESCONI, Ballata (Stradivarius)


The subject matter of Ballata, an opera based on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, plays to Francesconi's strengths, notably the affinity for extremes of experience that he shares with the Romantic poets (he might just as readily have turned his hand to a setting of Wordsworth's "The Prelude", in which nature looms as implacably as it does over Coleridge's hapless Mariner). But it's the nihilistic resolve of the undertaking that most impresses: Francesconi is resolute in his large-scale realisation of the despairing Mariner's humiliation by the quixotic spirit of Life-in-Death, and of Death's utter disinterest in his victims. And, as might be expected of a pupil of Berio and Stockhausen, he wields a terrifying sonic palette. Not for the faint-hearted.


Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk