Arts and Entertainment

Kings Place, London

Jurowski, Hayward, Ebrahim, LPO, Royal Festival Hall, London

Introducing the first of two concerts celebrating the indomitability of the human spirit, Vladimir Jurowski enjoined us to listen to its five works as five movements of a single one.

Andras Schiff, Wigmore Hall, ****/ Behzod Abduraimov, Queen Elizabeth Hall, *****

There’s no definitive way to play Beethoven’s piano sonatas: there’s an infinite number, as befits this New Testament of classical pianism. Daniel Barenboim’s way, in his Southbank cycle four years ago, may not have been flawless, but it was utterly beguiling.

Trpceski, LSO, Petrenko, Barbican, London/ Biss, de Guise-Langlois, Kashkashian, Padmore, Wigmore Hall

It’s a fair bet the Barbican was packed less because of the original promise of Sir Colin Davis at the helm - he was ill and Vasily Petrenko had to stand in - than because obaraf Simon Trpceski.

Am I the only fan of modern classical music?

People expect melody and emotion from their music; but just because modern classical doesn't conform to this doesn't make it worthless

Album: Mahler, Symphony No 1 - BFO/Fischer (Channel Classics)

Ivan Fischer's exhilarating recording of Mahler's First with the Budapest Festival Orchestra dispels the sick-room air that hung inevitably over last year's centenary commemorations.

A Clockwork Orange, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Alexandra Spencer-Jones’ adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ classic novel won rave reviews last year when it debuted at the Fringe. A year on, it seems even more relevant as a commentary on the “disaffected youth” of last summer’s riots.

Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Barenbolm/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, London
Falstaff, Opera Holland Park, London

Daniel Barenboim displays persuasive subtlety and style with his complete cycle of Beethoven's symphonies at the Proms

Prom 18: Barenboim/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall

A fitting crosstown curtain raiser to the Olympics opening night

Television Choices: Using music to help foster harmonious relations

Barenboim on Beethoven: Nine Symphonies That Changed the World

Michael Barenboim performs Anthemes 2

Prom 13: Daniel Barenboim/Michael Barenboim/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall

As their intensive Beethoven and Boulez series steams onward, you might expect the players of Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to be wilting a little. Not a bit of it. This fourth concert held the work that many consider Beethoven’s finest symphonic gem, the Seventh – and if anyone’s mojo needed a shot in the arm, that was the place to be.

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: Gustavo Dudamel, The Simon Bolivar Orchestra: Beethoven 3 "Eroica"; Overtures (Deutsche Grammophon)

The Simon Bolivar Orchestra may have dropped the "youth" from their name, but as Gustavo Dudamel claims, "the young soul remains".

Mezzo-soprano: Katherine Jenkins is a classical-popular crossover singer

Philip Hensher: Will nobody mourn the death of classical music?

A couple of years ago, I arranged to meet a friend at Vauxhall Tube station. I was there a few minutes early. In the ticket hall, there was a pleasant and familiar sound. Surprisingly, London Underground seemed to have decided to play Beethoven's Seventh Symphony over the tannoys.

Album: Jeremy DenkLigeti/Beethoven (Nonesuch)

Ligeti's Piano Études are famously quixotic in pushing the player beyond their usual limits.

Album: Beethoven et al, Diabelli Variations – Andreas Staier (Harmonia Mundi)

In 1819, Anton Diabelli invited 50 composers to contribute a variation to a composite volume that was to be a snapshot of Viennese musical life.

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