Racing: Dushyantor is Leger favourite

The home straight in the 1996 Flat season came into view yesterday with entries announced for many of the biggest races of the autumn months. Chief among those tests is the St Leger, the prize-money for which could decide the destination of the trainers' championship.

Racing: Baroque heads for Chantilly

High Baroque, Peter Chapple-Hyam's unbeaten Chester Vase winner, was supplemented yesterday for Sunday's Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) at a cost of 250,000 francs (pounds 32,938).

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While Chester's going was praised by Robert Sangster, the part owner of High Baroque was scathing about ground conditions at Newmarket.

Classical Music: St John Passion St John's Smith Square, London

Bach's St John Passion is both the earlier and the more enigmatic of his two surviving works in this form. Whereas the St Matthew Passion is both musically and texturally more balanced and heterogeneous, the St John is more of a mongrel - choruses and arias bunched rather than distributed evenly - the fault lies with St John's telling of the tale rather than with Bach. At St John's Smith Square on Good Friday, Stephen Layton conducted as spare and austere a performance as I've heard for some time. Here was a "period" performance with all the attendant advantages and disadvantages of this approach: a small band, the Brandenburg Consort, bristling with wonderfully coloured instruments - baroque flutes, baroque oboes, oboe da caccia, violas d'amore, viol da gamba - an expert chorus, Polyphony, and a clutch of soloists contributing to a small-scale reading. But where was the passion? Somehow an air of "correctness" seemed to hover, passion very definitely taking second place to scholarship. True, at the end of the performance there was as long a silence as I've ever witnessed in a concert hall. But for me, the invariably light and airy textures, the fast speeds, and the springy articulation failed to bring any sense of real sorrow.

Dance: Unspoken; The Place Theatre, London

In recent years, inspired collaborations between British choreographers and lighting designers have spawned some exceptional dance works, such as the Jonathan Burrows/ Tina MacHugh production Our. Of the senior generation of lighting specialists, Peter Mumford - Britain's answer to America's Jennifer Tipton - is arguably the most esteemed. Younger talents in the field include Anthony Bowne and Michael Hulls.

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Stunning Bach

Record Reviews: Bach Goldberg Variations (transcribed Sitkovetsky) NES Chamber Orchestra

Baroque 'n' roll, man

Alan Clayson, the musician, author and pop historian, and one of the more extraordinary figures to emerge from rock 'n' roll, gives a rare solo recital at the George Robey in Finsbury Park on Easter Sunday. It is difficult to explain to the uninitiated quite what to expect: there'll be Clayson on vocals, guitars and keyboards, plus a selection of tapes, gadgets and audio-visual effects - and plenty of dialogue with the audience. Clayson himself calls it baroque 'n' roll, a collision between the avant- garde and the most hackneyed clichs of cabaret. Despite being a multi- instrumentalist, whose musical career stretches back beyond the formation of Clayson and the Argonauts in the mid-1970s, Clayson boasts a certain "instrumental vulnerability - some people get a vicarious thrill from me messing up solos, riffs et al..." Perhaps this is why latterly he has concentrated on his writing career, producing nine books on the music and musicians of the Sixties which have earned him the title "the AJP Taylor of the pop world". There is even an Alan Clayson Fan Club, which dates from his appearance at a Beatles convention in Chicago three years ago: booked to give a lecture, Clayson left his notes in his hotel room, and found himself delivering an "impromptu stream of consciousness on my life, my soul, my aspirations", backed by an electric piano. It went down a storm.

why not

Travel back through time to the court of Louis XIV? If today's parties are too loud and crude for you, you can enjoy a sumptuous recreation of one of Louis's famous Versailles raves at St John the Divine Community Centre, Frederick Crescent SW9 ( 071-7357630), 8pm tomorrow. Authentically-dressed dancers from Consort de Danse Baroque will provide the movement, and renowned baroque guitarist Isidora Roitmann will be plucking the strings on her valuable period instrument. Watch the dancers doing st ately minuets, gigues and sarabandes - you could even learn the steps and impress your friends no end next time you're boogeying on down at the Ministry.

Going out in the grand style

Music Ex Cathedra Birmingham Oratory By any criteria there can be no doubt about Purcell's greatness and versatility, but he always looks best in the company of fellow Brits. Expanding the context to include some of his French contemporaries, notably Lalande and Charpentier, can alter the perspective markedly - here are two composers whose expressive range and harmonic inventiveness are often on a par with England's Orpheus. Last Saturday in Birmingham Oratory, the Ex Cathedra Choir and Baroque Orchestra gave us a chance for direct comparison by placing Purcell's St Cecilia's Day Te Deum beside settings of the same text by Lalande and Caldara.

Rembrandt theft

Amsterdam - A painting attributed to the 17th-century Dutch master Rembrandt was stolen from the artist's former home in Amsterdam early yesterday. The stolen work is a small oil painting on a wooden panel entitled 'Bearded Man', thought to have been painted in 1647. Reuter

MUSIC / Economy of means, plenty of expression: Adrian Jack on the Bach Ensemble and the St James's Baroque Players under Joshua Rifkin at the Proms

The American musicologist Joshua Rifkin (he of Scott Joplin fame) has been stripping away the accretions of tradition in performing Bach's choral music more thoroughly than anyone, notably in the B minor Mass, in which he gives each choral part to a single singer. At the Proms on Sunday, Rifkin gave a similar face-lift to the St Matthew Passion. His view doesn't suggest, perhaps, 'the romantic dramatic masterpiece before Wagner's Ring', as the British Bach scholar Malcolm Boyd puts it. But then 'monumental' needn't mean heavy, which is what most performances of the work sound compared with Rifkin's.

Chess: Lindgren ensures the answer is 42

LOVERS of conventional chess may stop reading here, for today's problem is the strangest yet to grace this space. Composed by Bo Lindgren in 1987, it is a series self- mate in 42, which means that White must make 42 consecutive moves to reach a position in which Black is forced to deliver mate in one. Only the last of White's moves may be a check.
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