Arts and Entertainment

Kings Place, London

Classical: Orchestral manoeuvres

The showpiece of the 1889 World Exhibition in Paris was the newly built Eiffel Tower, but visitors who didn't like the controversial edifice might find other metal structures to entertain and instruct them. Claude Debussy, fresh from the Wagnerian pilgrimage to Bayrcuth, was bewitched by the Oriental pavilions, where he saw a Javanese gamelan orchestra. Recalling the experience later, he wrote that the players' "conservatoire is the sea's eternal rhythm, the wind among the leaves, the thousand sounds of nature which they understand without consulting an arbitrary treatise... Javanese music is based on a type of counterpoint, which makes Palestrina's seem child's play. If we listen without European prejudice to the charm of their percussion, we must admit that our percussion is like primitive noises at a country fair."

Music: A gigantic rabbit? Oh, please

SOMETIMES, productions try too hard: they don't interpret, they invade. And when a production of Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte features someone in a rabbit costume with a 35ft penis, the invasion is most likely terminal - as it is in Scottish Opera's zoomorphic new Cosi at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.

Adams family values

Classical: New World Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas

Stop the dictators of modern music

There's discord in the world of music, and it's emitting from an unexpected source. The normally placid Julian Lloyd Webber tells Anna Tims that new musicians are destroying the classical tradition, and he is determined to restore harmony in every sense.

Classical & Opera: Czech out Martinu

Bohuslav Martinu may be a well-known composer, but his work is often neglected. This state of affairs will be rectified with a weekend of music by the Czech exile at the Barbican

Classical Review: Ligeti and a poem of ecstasy

Ligeti: Clocks and Clouds, Part II

Classical Review: Three by three

BBC SO / Andrew Davis

Classical Music on Radio 3

Jane Austen did not like going to concerts. In a letter she described professional musicians as "hirelings". Yet she practised the piano daily and made her own collection of music, transcribing all kinds of pieces, including orchestral, so that she could enjoy them in private. Spirit of the Age on Sunday afternoon broadcast a selection, and Michelene Wandor (adapter of Persuasion for radio) milked two music-loving experts on Austen for all there was to know about music in her life and work. Wandor's touch of severity contrasted with the unselfconscious flamboyance of Jonathan Keates, irrepressible man-about-music-and-literature, who talked about the role of music in the novels. There it plays a significant part, bringing characters together, though only one composer's name is ever mentioned, Johann Baptist Cramer, in Emma. By today's standards, Austen's musical horizons seem near-sighted - she was indifferent to the great names that became indispensable to posterity. Yet Keates insisted that both Emma and Pride and Prejudice would be impoverished by removing music which encapsulates in those novels the conflict between private feeling and social display.

radio in review

Xenakis must be one of the hardest composers to write about. He had no formal training as a composer, though Messiaen took him under his wing and told him to find his own way, not try to conform. Last Saturday afternoon, the Proms Feature, "Voices of the Stranger", made a pretty good job of picturing what Xenakis is about, weaving words and music continuously, informally, together so that they elucidated each other. At 75, Xenakis sounds resigned - he says he doesn't seek inspiration and doesn't even know if he ought to go on composing at all. His biographer, Nouritza Matossian, said his earliest works were inspired by Bartok, but he has always seemed to me one of the very few composers - Messiaen is another - who sprang upon the world fully armed. Which would certainly square with Xenakis's avowed intention to "get rid of what I am and behave as if I come from another planet".

Proms: Gubaidulina Viola Concerto, European premiere Royal Albert Hall, London / Radio 3

While certain spots on BBC Radio 3 - those mornings and those late afternoons - continue to be relentlessly dumbed down (and more is yet to come), at the Proms there's not a hint of dumbing or patronising: it's simply the greatest festival of the world's greatest music. And, unabashedly, it's spiced with some of the world's greatest new music. No need for simple-minded playlists - Debussy, Gubaidulina and Shostakovich with a regional orchestra will bring them in. Lots of them! Of course, the judicious admixture of a glamorous soloist, an important European premiere and a fizzy American conductor does send out strong signals. And, indeed, the Royal Albert Hall was packed on Tuesday night for Kent Nagano and the Halle Orchestra.

Orient express

KOREAN MUSIC FESTIVAL Gateway to the Orient South Bank Centre, London

CLASSICAL MUSIC Martin Roscoe and Peter Donohoe Wigmore Hall, London

"Oh Lor'! Have we got to listen to all this first?" complained a woman in the bar before Martin Roscoe and Peter Donohoe's two-piano recital on Friday. Perhaps that's what comes of advertising it as a celebration of American Independence Day.

CLASSICAL Martin Roscoe / Igor Zhukov Wigmore Hall, London

Martin Roscoe called his three recitals featuring the music of Szymanowski "Szymanowski, the Polish Impressionist". That was convenient, because he put Szymanowski with Debussy. But then he also played Chopin, whom nobody has yet called a proto-Impressionist. None of the Szymanowski works that Roscoe played in his final recital on Friday 13th suggested the Impressionist label. The two-movement Second Sonata of 1911 exemplifies a post-Romantic crisis of overblown gestures in decadent harmonies approaching atonality. Szymanowski survived the crisis, constructing a personal style without any loss of richness but a tremendous gain in clarity and subtlety, as shown by the Mazurkas, Op 50, written in the mid-1920s, which began Roscoe's programme. Not only did he play these as to the manner born, he also gave a forthright account of Chopin's Barcarolle, sensitive performances of Chopin's Op 59 Mazurkas and a well-shaped one of the epic fourth Ballade. The series has been a noble undertaking and Roscoe is not only an exceedingly reliable and consistent pianist, he is also irrepressible. But some of his most enjoyable playing has been of Debussy and, on this final night, he evoked all the sensuousness and orchestral depth you could expect in four from the second book of Preludes.

PIANO RECITALS: Martin Roscoe Wigmore Hall, London Piotr Anderszewski Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

People can sing Szymanowski's heart-throbbing Etude in B flat minor without knowing another note of his music. It made a well-earned encore at the end of Martin Roscoe's Wigmore Hall recital last Thursday, after the rarefied atmosphere of the Polish composer's Masques. Stokowski arranged the Etude for orchestra, but the fabulous inventiveness and kaleidoscopic colours of Masques would offer a far more interesting challenge to someone with a flair for orchestral wizardry. The three pieces might be called the connoisseur's alternative to Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit or Miroirs. They are not merely hedonistic, but elevate eroticism into something sharply objective and sophisticated.
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness