Arts and Entertainment

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The Shins

From Broken Bells to mended Shins

After dallying with Danger Mouse, the US indie rockers are back with new members and a new album

Album: Ralph Vaughan Williams, Archive Recordings of Ralph Vaughan Williams (Albion)

As with many period recordings, there's a hurdle to be overcome with these Fifties recordings of Vaughan Williams works – most notably, the thinness of the sound and the unusual instrumental balance that initially distracts from Alexander Young's noble English tenor.

Album: Piers Hellawell, Airs, Waters (Delphian)

The impressive range of Piers Hellawell's work is displayed on this collection of six compositions, five of which are premiere recordings.

Telling Stories, By Tim Burgess

There are several eye-watering anecdotes in this memoir by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, though one in particular stands out. It involves a straw, a paper cone, a Rizla paper and two willing participants, and offers the seasoned cocaine user a novel method of ingesting their drug of choice. Suffice to say that this chapter is called "Cocainus".

Here Comes Everybody: The Story of The Pogues, By James Fearnley

The beat of the Irish diaspora, via King's Cross

Album: Inon Barnatan, Darknesse (Visible Avie)

On Darknesse Visible, the Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan offers a compelling programme of pieces inspired by poems, their interpretations occupying the netherworld between light and dark.

Kathleen Ferrier

The legendary, and tragic, voice of a generation at war

Contralto Kathleen Ferrier was born 100 years ago. Jessica Duchen celebrates a very British love affair

Album: Peter Gabriel, Live Blood (Realworld/Eagle)

After the Scratch My Back and New Blood albums of orchestrated re-imaginings of his and others' songs, and last year's New Blood Live in London DVD, another two-hour, two-CD live set based on the same material may be a case of Peter Gabriel returning to this well once too often.

Garrett says: 'Opera is the greatest artistic collaboration known to mankind'

Lesley Garrett: 'I lost my voice in the middle of an opera; I thought my career was over'

I was shunned by the opera world when I began appearing in musicals There is still a powerful snobbery in the opera hierarchy and because I decided to do a musical or two, such as Carousel and The Sound of Music, all the doors suddenly closed to the opera houses, which surprised me. I believe their thinking is that once a singer departed from the prescribed operatic route, they become contaminated.

Andrew WK is currently touring the UK

Andrew W.K. gets the party started in the UK

A couple of years ago, on an evening from which I was regrettably absent, a few friends of mine ended up partying with Andrew W.K.. If you're familiar with the 32-year-old American rock star/celebrated hedonist/motivational speaker, you'll know that this is a big deal. The man has made it his mission to party; it's his religion.

Tokyo Quartet, Wigmore Hall ****/*****

Two groups of Japanese musicians have opened their Western counterparts’ eyes to new things about Western classical music: one is Masaaki Suzuki with his Bach Collegium Japan, the other is the Tokyo String Quartet, whose recordings of the classical canon are surpassingly fine. And when you’re told before the first of the Tokyo’s two Wigmore concerts that two players are about to retire, you listen intently, because a 42-year run is coming to a close.

Andrew WK

Andrew WK: 'We can unite the human race through partying and music'

A couple of years ago, on an evening that I was regrettably absent from, a few friends of mine ended up partying with Andrew W.K. If you’re familiar with the 32-year-old rock star/celebrated hedonist/motivational speaker, you’ll know that this is a big deal. A very big deal. Because no-one parties quite like Andrew W.K. The man has made it his mission to party; it’s his religion. Why just live, when you can party?

Stile Antico, Wigmore Hall

If you want proof of the extent to which ‘early music’ is now enshrined in our culture, look no further than the packed Wigmore Hall on Easter Sunday, where the a cappella group Stile Antico were singing Renaissance motets which not so long ago would have drawn a small cohort of sandalled beardies and flower-maidens.

Album: Massanet – Werther, Villazón/Koch/Pappano/Royal Opera House (Deutsche Grammophon)

There is a moment in Act 1 where it seems as though Werther and Charlotte will be in love for ever.

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?

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