Arts and Entertainment

Avi Avital "Between Worlds" (Deutsche Grammophon)

Classical review: Bach: Violin Concertos, Mullova/Dantone/Acc. Bizantina (Onyx)

Viktoria Mullova continues her collaboration with harpsichordist Ottavio Dantone in this elegantly articulated recording with Accademia Bizantina.

Album review: Ksenija Sidorova, Fairy Tales (Champs Hill)

One of my favourite albums of recent years has been Teodoro Anzellotti's accordion version of the Goldberg Variations, and elsewhere, Scandinavian and Baltic practitioners seem able to wrest more interesting effects from the instrument.

Classical review: James Ehnes, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Kirill Karabits; Britten & Shostakovich (Onyx)

The haunting Spanish lilt of its first movement betrays the composer's anti-war sympathies in Britten's Violin Concerto Op 15, written in the late 1930s; the looming shadow of a larger war is then discernible in the tuba lurking behind the gay violin and piccolo of the second movement. But it's the way that James Ehnes closes the opening movement that most impresses, essaying a gossamer thread of such subtlety it becomes almost transparent.

Viktoria Mullova, Ottavio Dantone, Accademia Bizantina, Bach: Concertos (Onyx)

Album review: Viktoria Mullova, Ottavio Dantone, Accademia Bizantina, Bach: Concertos (Onyx)

Viktoria Mullova and Ottavio Dantone offer a further Bach programme, pairing the well-known violin concertos in E and A minor with two others transcribed by Dantone from harpsichord concertos.

Classical review: Barbara Hannigan, LPO, Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall, London

Hannigan dazzles in Berg's Lulu Suite

Imogen Cooper’s coolly reflective reading of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto was at odds with the more extrovert approach of the Budapest Festival Orchestra under its conductor Ivan Fischer

Classical review: Budapest Festival Orchestra - Bohemian rhapsody marred by clash of styles

In 2011, Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra played two BBC Proms in one night. The first was a meticulously disciplined programme of Liszt and Mahler, the second a jamboree of party pieces and encores, selected by raffle from a list of some 200 works. Encores are the great disinhibitors of classical music and they have served Fischer and his orchestra well. Now 30 years old, the BFO can melt the cognoscenti with musical kitsch, compete with the finest in core symphonic repertoire, and deliver Beethoven with the transparency of period instruments. Whether this should all be attempted in one performance is another matter.

Imogen Cooper

Classical review: Imogen Cooper, Ivan Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London

The cadenza in a classical concerto is a curious thing. Originally devised as a way of letting the soloist show off, it became a commentary on the work it adorned, as well as a holiday from it: the soloist could take you on a switchback journey before bringing you safely home. These days, with so many other opportunities for display, its bravura function has faded, so soloists often use it instead as a slot to puff their own wares – as Kennedy does when he injects jazz and Gypsy music into his Brahms.

How We Met: Dora Holzhandler and Nigel Kennedy

'She's been to our rehearsals. It doesn’t flummox her that it can get out of hand'

Album: Schulhoff/Ullmann/Tausky, Lost Generation – ECO/Parry/Anton/Ryan (Gramola)

Of the generation of Czech composers who perished in the death camps, Erwin Schulhoff is the most enigmatic.

Ulrike Anton, Russell Ryan, David Parry, Lost Generation: Schulhoff, Ullmann, Tauský (exil.arte)

Album review: Ulrike Anton, Russell Ryan, David Parry, Lost Generation: Schulhoff, Ullmann, Tauský (exil.arte)

The Austrian label exil.arte is dedicated to unearthing lost works by forgotten composers deemed “degenerate” by the Nazis – in most cases, simply a synonym for “Jewish”.

China girl: Mary Bevan (Lila) in Hull Truck’s The Firework Maker’s Daughter

Classical review: The Firework Maker's Daughter - Brace yourself for an explosive yarn

Add magnesium to strontium, and prepare yourself for fireworks

Valentina Lisitsa, Rachmaninov (Decca Classics)

Album review: Valentina Lisitsa, Rachmaninov (Decca Classics)

Having begun to establish herself via YouTube, Valentina Lisitsa ambitiously chose to make the four Rachmaninov Piano Concertos her musical “calling card”, to which end she and her husband remortgaged their home, hired the LSO and Abbey Road, and recorded them at their own expense.

Storgards, Hardenberger, BBC Philharmonic, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The most powerful weapon in the opera designer’s armoury is lighting, which allows musical atmosphere to be changed by the flick of a switch: Ravel’s ‘L’enfant et les sortileges’ was never more resonant than when lit by David Hockney’s glowing reds, greens, and mauves.

Perfect pace: Esa-Pekka Salonen in rehearsal for Woven Words, which marks the centenary of Witold Lutoslawski

Album review: Alisa Weilerstein, Daniel Barenboim, Elgar, Carter: Cello Concertos (Decca)

Virtuosi seem to know what they must do from an early age: in Alisa Weilerstein's case, her first “cello” was made from a cereal box and a toothbrush, when she was just two. Since then, she's played with conductors such as Mehta, Dudamel and, here, Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin.

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