Arts and Entertainment

Avi Avital "Between Worlds" (Deutsche Grammophon)

Album: Thierry Pécou, Tremendum (Harmonia Mundi)

As in his Symphonie Du Jaguar, French-Caribbean composer Thierry Pécou draws on both the musical stylings and the myths of South American culture in these works, his percussion interplay driving along pieces like "Paseo de la Reforma" and "L'Arbre aux Fleurs" with an insistence that recalls not just Reich and Glass, but also the batucada percussion ensembles of Brazilian carnivals.

Album: Al Ayre Español Handel's Memories: A Selection from Grand Concertos Op 6 (Challenge Classics)

Handel composed his Grand Concertos Op 6 in affectionate emulation of Corelli's Concerti Grossi Op 6 from a quarter-century earlier; and, astonishingly, completed all 12 within a single month, thanks to liberal quoting from his previous work.

Album: Lang Lang, The Very Best of Lang Lang (Deutsche Grammophon)

Lang Lang's Diamond Jubilee Concert performance confirmed him as the new Liberace of classical piano, unafraid of the grand gestures to match his striking outfits.

Album: Vilde Frang, Nielsen, Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos (EMI Classics)

Following her previous CD of concertos by Sibelius and Prokofiev, Frang again pairs Nordic and Russian composers on this latest release, with contrasting results.

Album: Heiner Goebbels, Stifters Dinge )ECM New Series)

This soundtrack to Heiner Goebbels' installation piece Stifters Dinge is one of the most gripping musical experiences I've had in ages.

Album: James Rhodes, Jimmy: Live in Brighton (Signum Classics)

With his wild hair and stubble, James Rhodes is the Russell Brand of the piano, though he could cut back on the swearing in his laddish but informative introductions highlighting Beethoven's “interiority”, Chopin's adolescent crushes etc.

Wallace will unveil My Concerto in Ee, Lad at the Proms

Proms go cheesy as Wallace unveils his silly symphony

He invented a pair of Techno Trousers, the Knit-O-Matic and the Snoozatron. Now the multi-talented Wallace is turning his hand to music, with a new commission for the Proms.

Wallace will unveil My Concerto in Ee, Lad at the Proms

An inventive addition to the Proms: Wallace promises a grand day out

He invented a pair of Techno Trousers, the Knit-o-Matic and the Snoozatron. Now the multi-talented Wallace is turning his hand to composing, with a new commission for this year's Proms.

Joshua Bell is the new director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields

Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Joshua Bell, Cadogan Hall, London
Carole Cerasi, Foundling Museum, London

Former teen virtuoso Joshua Bell has an orchestra all of his own to play with, but are two hands really enough?

Feinstein Ensemble/London Bach Singers, Purcell Room, London

‘Some people say Vivaldi wrote the same concerto five hundred times,’ said Steven Devine before starting his harpsichord recital in the Purcell Room. ‘And if that’s the case, you’re in for a pretty boring morning.’

Album: Xaivier De Maistre, Notte Veneziana (Sony Classical)

In a week replete with intriguing cross-pollinations of style and sound, this may be both the most deliberate, yet the loosest-sounding.

Lang Lang/Philharmonia/Salonen, Royal Albert Hall

Is the Royal Albert Hall big enough to contain Lang Lang’s gigantic ego?

Muhly/De Ridder/Britten Sinfonia, Barbican, London

Nico Muhly’s first work for English National Opera was an iffy affair, but he talks a blue streak, and since his collaborators include Bjork, Philip Glass, and sundry indie-rock outfits, nobody could accuse him of not putting himself about. He’s now the go-to classical composer for anyone wanting to associate themselves with cutting-edge New York cool.

Album: Bononcini/Castello etc, 1600: Concerto Italiano/Alessandrini (Naïve)

If Florence gave birth to the baroque, Venice was its wet-nurse. Rinaldo Alessandrini's exploration of changing styles in 17th-century Venetian instrumental music reveals a taste for the programmatic and the descriptive.

Album: Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini, 1600 (Naïve)

The cusp of the 17th century was a pivotal moment in music history.

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