Ludwig Van Beethoven

Classical review: Budapest Festival Orchestra - Bohemian rhapsody

In 2011, Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra played two BBC Proms in one night. The first was a meticulously disciplined programme of Liszt and Mahler, the second a jamboree of party pieces and encores, selected by raffle from a list of some 200 works. Encores are the great disinhibitors of classical music and they have served Fischer and his orchestra well. Now 30 years old, the BFO can melt the cognoscenti with musical kitsch, compete with the finest in core symphonic repertoire, and deliver Beethoven with the transparency of period instruments. Whether this should all be attempted in one performance is another matter.

Bloody Poetry, Jermyn Street Theatre, London

The hotel on the other side of Lake Geneva cashed in on the delicious shamelessness of it. They hired out binoculars so that tourists could gawp pruriently at the Villa Diodati and its scandalous summer menage of the Shelleys; the "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Byron, and Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley's half-sister, who had slept with both poets and was carrying Byron's baby. 

My Secret Life: Martin Creed, artist, 42

My parents were ... smilers and Quakers. My mum was a physiotherapist, and my dad's a silversmith and blacksmith; they met at a peace camp in Germany after the war. My mum's German and moved to the UK to be with my dad.

Paul Lewis to perform all five Beethoven piano concertos at the Proms

To play one Beethoven piano concerto at the Proms looks like good fortune (as Oscar Wilde could have said, had he known), but to perform all five is – well, another matter altogether, especially with four different orchestras and conductors. Such is the task facing Paul Lewis, 38, who's almost certainly the best-loved British pianist of his vintage.

Album: Beethoven, Symphony No 9 (Naive)

Recorded in Grenoble, Vichy and Paris, Emanuel Krivine's Beethoven dazzles with closely mic-ed details. La Chambre Philharmonique's bassoons are the unlikely stars, jostled out of the way by heaven-sent strings in the Adagio, and an almost comically hyperactive contrabassoon in the finale. Les Eléments deliver a lithe, moving account of Goethe's Ode, with a suave introduction from bass soloist Konstantin Wolff.Too much technical trickery to be properly "live", perhaps. But what a refreshing, bold reading.

Don't roll over Beethoven

The Roundhouse is more famous for rock than symphonies, but it could be just the venue to build up a young classical fanbase, says Jessica Duchen

Album: Beethoven, Symphonies 1 & 3 (Avie Records)

The weighty refinement ofmodern instruments andthe incisive articulation ofhistorical performancepractice combine tothrilling effect in DouglasBoyd's live recording ofBeethoven's 1st and 3rdsymphonies withManchester Camerata.Perceptively detailed, No 1has a suspenseful, playfulmenuetto and a searingfinale. After the ecstaticbirth pangs of the 3rd'smarcia funebre, you canhear Mozart leaving thestage as a new music isborn: bold, lithe and noble.An exhilarating addition tothe catalogue of Beethovencycles.

Album: Sparks, The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman, (Lil Beethoven

The 22nd album by Sparks – never ones to do things the easy way – is a biopic in opera form of a legendary Swedish art-house director, with a cast of actor-singers augmenting Russell Mael’s vocals, and a complete orchestra backing Ron’s luxurious pianos. It’s a genre and format to which the brothers, whose work is so often described as “operatic”, are immaculately suited.

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Robert Levin, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

The Haydn season kicked off with the obligatory splurge on Radio 3, and a massed charge led by Andras Schiff at the Wigmore Hall, but the really interesting thing was what the musicologist and fortepianist Robert Levin was doing at the Southbank. We quite often hear the fortepiano in these period-conscious days, but, sandwiched between performances on modern instruments, it always ends up sounding thin and a little bit impotent – so attuned are our ears to the luxurious richness of the Steinway.

Sir Roger Norrington 75th-birthday concert, Royal Festival Hall,

One might have expected a better turn-out for Sir Roger's 75th-birthday bash, especially since the highly eclectic programme – spanning some three centuries of music – contained a little bit of something for everyone. But maybe the Classic FM approach was unwise for an event of this kind, and maybe Norrington himself is still too much of a connoisseur's delight, too much of a maverick, ever to pull in the big crowds. And that's quite an irony, given that there are few more erudite, entertaining, communicative, or influential musicians on the planet. He is, in every sense, a one-off.