Arts and Entertainment

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Bleak and blue - and that's just the reader: Book of the Week

Bleak and Blue: 22 Years at the Manchester Academy of Football Farce

Classical: The century, by numbers


Classical: Austerity to raise the hairs on the back of your neck


First Night: Mr Angry trades in his wild image

John Zorn Ensemble

Classical: Confessions of a soul close to suicide


Pop: American pioneers

The Barbican's "American Pioneers" season features two avant-garde treats this week which break down the divide between classical music and rock'n'roll. Today's tribute to John Cage sees various free workshops and musical performances in the afternoon, with an evening concert of some of Cage's best-known works played by an ensemble featuring John Tilbury, Gavin Bryars, Bruce Gilbert of Wire and Budgie of the Creatures.

Classical: CD Choice


CLASSICAL: FIRST NIGHT: Spirit Gardens: The Music of Takemitsu

The Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu died in February 1996, and London's South Bank mounts a lavish retrospective festival this week. The composer formed many vital friendships in Britain, so much so that his premature death provoked a heartfelt outpouring of grief. Among the musicians Takemitsu knew, a number feature in "Spirit Gardens" - Oliver Knussen, Paul Crossley, Christian Lindberg and Andrew Davis, to name but a few. To all of them, Takemitsu was a unique friend. He was also a unique voice: a Western Japanese composer, straddling three continents - Asia, Europe and America - and selecting from all of them the ingredients which make up his individual soundworld. "Although I am basically self taught, I consider Debussy my teacher - the most important elements are colour, light and shadow," he once wrote.

Acoustical Notes: A perfect venue for chamber music

ALMOST CERTAINLY the most beautiful concert hall in the world is the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. It is an elegant, gracefully contoured, but essentially "classical" hall, with a tiered stage for the orchestra and singers, and a U-shaped balcony embracing the auditorium, on which are reverently displayed the names of some of the illustrious classical composers such as Beethoven and Mahler whose music has often been heard there.

Obituary: Gerald Littlewood

ANY FINAL assessment of how Humphrey Chetham's Bluecoat foundation of 1653 grew by 1969 to be Britain's foremost specialist school of music, Chetham's, will surely acknowledge Gerald Littlewood's role as having been seminal. His appointment as resident arts and crafts master in 1949, fresh from Loughborough Training College, will be seen as a decisive step in a remarkable evolution.

Letter: Operatic score

Letter: Operatic score

Letter: Music before image

YOUR article "String something simple" (12 March) prompts me, as one of the "grey-haired men in tail coats" (but definitely not constipated) to defend the "dusty quartet image".

Arts: String something simple

Say goodbye to the stuffy string quartet. Now they're the preserve of trendy twentysomethings.

Review: Vaughan Williams celebrated in style

Music: Vaughan Williams and Company St John's, Smith Square, London

Review: The song remains the same

Classical Music: Brunel Ensemble Victoria Rooms, Bristol
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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