Arts and Entertainment

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Album review: KT Tunstall, Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon (Virgin)

KT Tunstall's fourth album is by some distance her best, offering a series of deeply-felt musings on mortality, mercy and memory. Recorded at Howe Gelb's Wavelab Studio in Arizona in two sessions separated by a season – hence the different titles for the separate “sides” – it reflects her response to the death of her father, the first side's sensitive, reactions gradually supplanted by a new emotional light as her branches become strong enough to “play with the wind” and “carry the snow” again.

Classical review: Steven Osborne, Queen Elizabeth Hall/ Richard Goode, Wigmore hall, London

For Olivier Messiaen, birds were ‘the most outstanding musicians on our planet’, and it was typical of his serene imperviousness to brute reality that, while Paris burned around him in 1944, he should garland the themes of his supreme piano work with birdsong.

Album: Gwyneth Herbert, The Sea Cabinet (Monkeywood)

Recorded by the sea in Aldeburgh, Herbert's sort-of concept album is changeable as the ocean.

Album: Schubert, Winterreise - Alice Coote/Julius Drake (Wigmore Hall Live)

Female artists have sung Winterreise before, but not with the intensity of mezzo-soprano Alice Coote.

Album review: Little Boots, Nocturnes (On Repeat)

Following the burden of hype placed upon the electro-pop singer’s debut, she’s gone low-key for this follow-up, self-releasing and adopting a clubbier, more crepuscular sound.

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.

Phoenix, Bankrupt! (Glassnote)

Album review: Phoenix, Bankrupt! (Glassnote)

French quartet Phoenix's follow-up to their 2009 breakthrough, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, continues in a similar vein of throwback pop whose retro leanings are neatly signalled by the nostalgic jet-set imagery of “Drakkar Noir”.

Album: Françoise Hardy, L'Amour Fou (EMI)

Hardy, the 69-year-old Parisienne pop icon, returns with, this time, no generation-hopping collaborations with Anglo-American indie stars.

Steve Earle & the Dukes (and Duchesses), The Low Highway (New West)

Album review: Steve Earle & the Dukes (and Duchesses), The Low Highway (New West)

Steve Earle's latest album pulls no punches in its survey of the American social landscape. The “low highway” of the title track is a sort of hardship highway travelled by the underclass. It's Springsteen territory, occupied with pride in songs like “21st Century Blues” and the elegiac closer “Remember Me”.

The Boy Least Likely To: another indie-pop duo making a comeback

Album: Tyler, the Creator, Wolf (Columbia/Odd Future)

Any idea that the furore about his homophobic and misogynist lyrics might have chastened him evaporates within the first few seconds of his third album.

Album: Brahms/Schumann/Schumann, Sonatas and Romances – Jennifer Pike/Tom Poster (Chandos)

The violinist's interpretation of Brahms's Sonata in G presents the young composer as a hungry outsider in the marriage of Robert and Clara Schumann.

Fred C Dobbs
Harrods has closed down its piano department

Off-key? Pianos fall off the scale as far as Harrods are concerned

It’s not quite the day the music died, but it is the week that Harrods killed off its piano department after 118 years. And while the Knightsbridge emporium wouldn’t be the first port of call for every would-be pianist in the market for a new instrument (“would madam care for an elephant with that Bechstein?”), the fact that it is closing its piano store’s doors is indicative of a wider trend.

Album review: Molly Drake, Molly Drake *Bryter Music)

When a recording of Molly Drake singing her composition "Poor Mum" was made public a few years ago, it was immediately evident from where much of her son Nick's talent, not to mention his intonation and fragile worldview, had derived.

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

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Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

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KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

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