Arts and Entertainment

Last autumn Helene Grimaud released a fine recording of Brahms’ piano concertos under the baton of Andris Nelsons: to hear them perform the second concerto live with the Philharmonia Orchestra was to realise anew what a superb symbiosis they can achieve.

Album: Murray Perahia, Brahms: Handel Variations, Rhapsodies, Piano Pieces (Sony Classical)

His latest release finds this premier pianist returning to Brahms for the first time in 20 years – not that great a distance from his long-standing fascination with Bach, as Brahms' "Handel Variations" effects an ingenious bridge between the Baroque and Romantic eras and there are clear formal echoes of Bach's "Goldberg Variations" in its employment of paired groupings.

Stephen Kovacevich 70th Birthday Concert, Wigmore Hall

It was Stephen Kovacevich’s 70th birthday party and his highly individual guests represented past, present, and future.

Album: Gardiner, Santiago A Cappella (Soli Deo Gloria)

John Eliot Gardiner's prodigious output continues apace, with the recent Brahms 4th Symphony and an imminent further pair of his exhaustive pilgrimage series of Bach cantatas - surely the biggest current undertaking in any area of music - joined here by the reissue on his own label of another pilgrimage programme.

Monkemeyer/Rimmer, Wigmore Hall

Orchestral musicians are very like squaddies and schoolchildren, most notably in their penchant for ya-boo jokes: witness their puerile digs about the poor sods who play that instrumental Cinderella, the viola.

Album: Brahms, Symophony No 4 – Gardiner (Soli deo Gloria)

Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, John Eliot Gardiner's interpretation of Brahms' Fourth Symphony seemed deeply perverse at the time.

Album: Brahms, Piano Quintet etc/ William Howard, Champs Hill

Brahms's Piano Quintet in F minor had a traumatic birth. Its first incarnation was as a string quartet, its second as a sonata for two pianos.

Album: Yuja Wang, Transformation (Deutsche Grammophon)

Not for Yuja Wang the mandatory selection of Chopin preludes and ballades; instead, she's chosen a theme, Transformation, here realised in various forms: most obviously, Brahms' famously tortuous Variations on a Theme by Paganini, but also Ravel's deconstruction of the waltz in La Valse, and most impressively, the gradual humanisation of the puppet in Stravinsky's Petrushka (and its subsequent reversion to wood). Wang's command and artistry is never in doubt right from the opening Allegro Giusto section, described in delicate little left-hand runs against a pointilliste upper-register, the combination lifting the piece in a weightless, dizzying dance.

Angela Hewitt, Wigmore Hall, London

The bright-sounding Fazioli marque does not suit the opaque moods of the Romantic repertoire

London Symphony Orchestra/Bychkov, Barbican Hall, London

Not all this year’s bicentennial tributes to Chopin will necessarily be by Chopin.

Paul Lewis / Steven Osborne, Wigmore Hall, London

There’s something symbolic of friendship in the interplay of two pairs of hands on one instrument, and never more than in Schubert’s four-hand music.

Album: Brahms, Symphonies 1 and 2 – LPO/Jurowski (LPO)

Performance style in Brahms has lately become as hotly contested an issue as it once was in Bach, with Mackerras arguing for impetuous speed changes and Gardiner so busy identifying thematic strata that the topography is blurred.

Simon Keenlyside/ Malcolm Martineau, Wigmore Hall, London

It was during the Hugo Wolf setting of Mörike’s “An eine Äolsharfe” (“To an Aeolian Harp”) in this marvellous Simon Keenlyside/ Malcolm Martineau recital that it became clear that the ever-delicate art of lieder singing had hit some kind of high, not just for this evening but for the craft in general.

Simon Keenlyside / Malcolm Martineau, Wigmore Hall

It was during the Hugo Wolf setting of Mörike’s “An eine Äolsharfe” (“To an Aeolian Harp”) in this marvellous Simon Keenlyside/ Malcolm Martineau recital that it became clear that the ever-delicate art of lieder singing had hit some kind of high, not just for this evening but for the craft in general. It really doesn’t get a whole lot better.

Scottish Chamber Orchestar/Ticciati, City Halls, Glasgow

Robin Ticciati is already a hot ticket. At just 26, the music director of Glyndebourne's touring arm and principal guest conductor-elect of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra has added another string to his bow, taking up his position as principal conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

La Boh&egrave;me, Cock Tavern Theatre, Kilburn, London<br/>Jansons / Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Barbican, London

A tiny and youthful production of 'La Boh&egrave;me' has authenticity, and Mahler makes the singers cry
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
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
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