Dance: How do they do that?

In the shadows prowls a man in a dark suit. He circles his prey and moves in on her with evil intent. But the girl's no victim. She goes nuclear. Fists fly, limbs flail, heads shake with such force as to empty the skull of teeth. What begins as an assault becomes a macabre jitterbug in which neither party will let the other go. He flings her to the floor and she's up and at him: now a homunculus clinging furiously to his chest; now a lethal blade, her Magimix legs threatening to slice him like a puree. If there is a message, it must be this: muggers beware. Hell hath no fury like a Montreal body-hurtler.

Win a trip to see Simon Rattle perform in Vienna

The critics

Letter: America rates Britten highly

Sir: While vacationing in the UK, I was extremely surprised and annoyed to read your article denigrating the accomplishments of the late Benjamin Britten ("Queen's musician in attack on Britten", 26 July). It contained an endless number of absurd statements by none other than the Master of the Queen's Music, Malcolm Williamson.

pick of the week: CLASSICAL

The BBC Symphony Orchestra Jiri Belohlvek conducts a very Slavic set, with Dvorak, Martinu and Jancek, interspersed with Mozart. A blazing programme further enriched by quietly eminent pianist, Richard Goode. Royal Albert Hall, London SW7, Sat

Britten's town rejects statue

Councillors last night finally put paid to the idea of a statue in honour of the composer Benjamin Britten.

'Dirge-like' anthem hitting the wrong note

If the Fabian Society has its way, Britain will kiss goodbye to the "dirge-like tune" that is its national anthem and march into the next century singing a stirring song by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Letter: Britten's music will stand the test of time

Sir: Unlike Malcolm Williamson, I don't feel able to establish how future generations will receive Benjamin Britten's music. I nevertheless wish to point out that the tendency at present seems to contradict his rather assertive forecast.

We're backing Britten say artist's allies

Benjamin Britten's trustees yesterday issued an angry defence of the composer following an assessment by the Master of the Queen's Music, Malcolm Williamson, that his music was "ephemeral" and "will not last".

Queen's musician in attack on Britten

The debate over whether the composer Benjamin Britten should be honoured with a statue in his Suffolk home town was re-ignited yesterday, when Malcolm Williamson, Master of the Queen's Music, came out against the idea. "In my opinion, Britten's music is ephemeral. It will not last," he said.

Why we are so slow to honour local heroes

Benjamin Britten should take heart. Aldeburgh council may not want to see a statue to the great man in the Suffolk town but he is only the last in a long line of the great, good and gifted who are acknowledged by all except the communities in which they lived and worked.

Statue snub in the battle over Britten

Proposals to erect a statue of the composer Benjamin Britten in the graveyard where he is buried were turned down by the town council, in an apparent snub, it emerged yesterday.

Hancock 'concerto' lifts veil on talent

The new season of the Proms has confirmed its commitment to the best of contemporary British composition by fielding, alongside the venerable Sir Michael Tippett, new talent such as Dominic Muldowney, whose concerto based on the theme tune from Hancock's Half Hour was premiered last night.

Menotti: profit without honour

Gian Carlo Menotti is a composer who leads the double life of the successfully out-of-favour. On my desk is a press release telling me that "somewhere in the world, virtually every day of the year" someone stages a Menotti opera; and it's very likely true. There are 22 Menotti operas to choose from and they include the deathless Amahl and the Night Visitors, which is to the American Christmas what Dickens, Carols from King's and Morecambe & Wise are to ours.

Opera Albert Herring Garsington Manor

Benjamin Britten's satire on the petty pomposities of English village life has all the gleeful charm of the cast of Cluedo let loose in a rural Ealing comedy. Its success lies in the affection that its creators showered upon it and their eye for detail, which is at the heart of this delightful production.

A little bit somewhere else

Heckled at the Proms last year, Harrison Birtwistle is about to be celebrated at the South Bank. Dermot Clinch met him
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