Arts and Entertainment

Barbican, London

St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra / Temirkanov, Barbican Hall, London

When you are arguably the greatest violinist in the world a four-year “time out” from the public arena can seem like an eternity.

Album: John Cage, The Number Pieces 6 (Mode)

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

Album: Michael Kiwanuka, Home Again (Polydor)

Michael Kiwanuka continues the folk-soul tradition of Bill Withers and Terry Callier on this debut album. Sensitively produced by The Bees' Paul Butler, it's a pleasant enough handful of easy-going songs, in which the focus on warmth has left them lacking bite.

Album: Akademie Fur Alte Musik Berlin, Music for the Berlin Court (Harmonia Mundi)

When Frederick II assumed the Prussian throne, his Berlin court became one of Europe's main centres of musical endeavour.

Park Lane Group, Purcell Room, London
National Youth Orchestra, Barbican Hall, London

Emerging musicians get a welcome platform, but please change the record

PLG Young Artists, Purcell Room (4/5, 3/5)

Where would we be without the Park Lane Group’s annual platform for budding musical talent?

National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain / Daniel, Barbican Hall, London

You’d expect the teenagers of the National Youth Orchestra to have some good moves but the opening and closing items of their winter concert took us all the way to the club floor and back again.

Album: Various Artists, Earle Brown Contemporary Sound Series Vol. 4 (Wergo)

This fourth 3CD volume of re-issues from the Earle Brown-curated series of '60s avant-garde milestones focuses on chamber orchestral performances.

Album: Ensemble Recherche, Hiromi Kikuchi, Milano Musica Festival Vol. 4: Kurtág, Sciarrino (Stradivarius)

Another intriguing selection from Milan's Music Festivals, this programme pairs a solo violin work by György Kurtág with a dramatic song-cycle by Salvatore Sciarrino.

Album: Nuria Rial, Telemann: Opera Arias (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)

Catalan soprano Nuria Rial here explores the largely uncharted terrain of Georg Philipp Telemann's operatic arias, rarely performed today, despite his having composed an estimated 50 operas during a most prolific career.

Album: Emmanuel Pahud, The Flute King (EMI Classics)

As enlightened monarchs go, King Frederick The Great of Prussia takes some beating. A successful warrior, he also championed early Enlightenment ideas, corresponding with Voltaire and writing political tracts of his own.

Album: Avalon Trio, Forlana (Marquetry)

Great idea: an improvising trio takes off from the English pastoral tradition on tunes by Delius, Finzi and Vaughan Williams plus two originals.

Album: Stephen Goss, Northern Lights (FMR)

Rendered here in woodwind tones and acoustic guitar, the ambient landscape compositions of Stephen Goss exist in the grey area where ECM chamber-jazz and Hathut minimalism shades into Windham Hill new-ageism.

Leading article: Give and take

The wedding list is on the way out. Thank goodness, some will say. There has always been something rather dull about the litany of dinner plates (12), soup bowls (12), and champagne flutes (6), that department stores produce for marrying couples.

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