Arts and Entertainment

Kings Place, London

Beach House, Heaven, London

Though they are leaders of a loose confederation of new dream pop bands, Beach House make for strange scene figureheads as they shamble on stage, hidden behind ragged fringes and awkward banter. Such simple failings in stage presence are forgotten, however, within about 30 seconds of the first song of a majestic set.

Album: London Chamber Orchestra, Rossini/Mozart/Beethoven (Signum Classics)

This third volume in the "LCO Live" series is a programme loosely connected by the theme of betrayed women, opening with the overture to Rossini's La Scala Di Seta and concluding with Beethoven's concert aria "Ah! Perfido", with three pieces by Mozart sandwiched between, including two arias from Le Nozze Di Figaro. Susan Gritton's delivery of the three arias has an exquisite balance of grace and intensity befitting their spurned heroines, while the LCO's presentation of Mozart's Symphony No 1 and the later Adagio and Fugue in C minor vividly illustrates the composer's growth, from the shallow enthusiasm of the symphony to the darker, troubled terrain of the fugue.

Kerry Camden: Outstanding bassoonist of his generation celebrated for his colourful and virtuoso style

The bassoonist Kerry Camden was one of the most distinguished musicians of his generation.

Album: Mercury Rev, The Complete Peel Sessions, (Universal)

Mercury Rev are the kind of group for whom Peel Sessions were originally conceived: an all-channels-open, questing outfit who took the opportunity to reassess old favourites and break virgin territory.

Album: Stravinsky, Apollon Musagète/ Pulcinella Suite, (Linn)

Warm, silky, flexible and lithe, the core sound of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe's strings under director/violinist Alexander Janiczek bends easily to the capricious moods and textures of "Apollon musagète".

Album: Patrick Wolf, The Bachelor (Bloody Chamber Music)

Wolf is the outrageously talented, outlandishly dressed polysexual polymath who specialises in fusing the classical and the hi-tech. The fact that this, his fourth album, features both Tilda Swinton and Alec Empire speaks volumes. Tracks such as the soaring, sweeping "Oblivion" meld scratched-CD glitches with musketeer flourishes, as a backdrop for Wolf's mannered yet emotional voice. Exceptions are the straightforwardly dancefloor-friendly single "Vulture" and the rave-metal of "Battle".

Mackerras wins BBC Music Magazine award

Veteran conductor Sir Charles Mackerras picked up two awards at the prestigious BBC Music Magazine Awards 2009 for classical recording excellence today.

Lives Remembered: Pamela Spofforth

Pamela Spofforth was an extraordinary and inspiring teacher of the violin and, with the cellist, Elizabeth Hewlins, brought about nothing less than a transformation of the playing of chamber music in this country. Pro Corda (the National School for Young Chamber Music Players), which they founded in 1969 and which continues to flourish, has inspired two generations of young musicians with the joys and challenges of playing string quartets and "Spoff", as she was known by many pupils and friends, gave unselfishly of her time, energy and money to that end throughout her working life.

Album: Brahms, Piano Quartets 1 & 3 – Nash Ensemble, (Onyx)

At some point during the recording sessions for this disc, the Nash Ensemble must have decided to play as though live, and not to the microphone.

Madeleine Lovell: Noises Off

Conducting is the last bastion of musical male dominance, but the women are breaking in

Album: Purcell, Complete Chamber Music – Musica Amphion (Brilliant Classics)

Directed by harpsichordist Pieter-Jan Belder, Musica Amphion's recording of Purcell's chamber music on Brilliant Classics should tempt the most impecunious of you.

Album: Purcell, Cease, Anxious World – La Rêveuse (Mirare)

The faintest of French inflections on soprano Julie Hassler's Ts and Ds are tiny blemishes on this otherwise flawless recital of Purcell's songs and chamber music.

Album: Mozart, Symphonies 38-41 – Mackerras/Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Linn)

Mozart's last symphonies are among the most-recorded works in the canon, with enough performances to satisfy the most dedicated collector. Yet few recordings have the authority and warmth of this release from the SCO and Sir Charles Mackerras. Recorded in the conductor's 80th year, the performances have vigour and wisdom, bloom and attack, sensuality and rigour, and a notably dynamic cello and bass section. Tart natural trumpets and secco kettle-drums add a tang of authenticity, while the mellow woodwind sweeten the mix. Hackneyed to say that such familiar music sounds fresh, but it does.

Album: Punch Brothers, Punch (Nonesuch)

The Punch Brothers are the new band formed by Nickel Creek mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, an association of expert country musicians whose debut does for bluegrass what The Gospel at Colonus did for gospel – develops a folk art into high art.

Rufus Wainwright

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