Arts and Entertainment

Kings Place, London

Album: Bach/Buson/Beethoven, Now Would all Freudians...(Signum)

The title of James Rhodes' second piano recital comes from Glenn Gould – a "total nut-job" in Rhodes' words and patron saint of this idiosyncratic, honest, sometimes startling performance.

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.

Till Fellner, Wigmore Hall, London

Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas span his whole composing career, and represent a fascinating creative diary.

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/ Fischer, Royal Festival Hall, London

It’s one small step for Beethoven and a giant leap for mankind from the First to his Eighth Symphony and to hear both works in tandem on instruments of the period only intensifies the revolution drawing us ever closer to the mighty Ninth.

Staatskapelle Berlin/ Barenboim, Royal Festival Hall, London

The defining moment in Daniel Barenboim’s unforgettable Beethoven/ Schoenberg experience came from hearing Schoenberg’s exquisitely epigrammatic Five Orchestral Pieces transcend period and style to form a bridge between Beethoven’s Second and Fourth Piano Concertos.

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Wigmore Hall, London<br/>Psappha, Kings Place, London <br/>Takacs Quartet, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Poetry by a painter, foxtrots on the harpsichord &ndash; music is turned topsy-turvy by a radical ensemble

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment / Jurowski, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Beethoven rules again at the South Bank. It’s been ten years since the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment embarked upon its first complete cycle of Beethoven Symphonies but it was long before that that we first began to understand what it meant to hear these audacious pieces played on instruments of the period.

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: Paavo J&#228;rvi, Beethoven: Symphony No 9 (RCA Red Seal)

In some interpretations of Beethoven's 9th, it can seem like three lengthy preambles to the Greatest Tune Ever Written, a sustained bout of deferred gratification; but not in this latest performance by Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie.

Borodin Quartet, Wigmore Hall

The Borodin Quartet brings a lot of history to the table – 60 years, to be precise. Personnel may come and go, the balance of personalities may shift, but the identity remains resolutely intact.

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: Olli Mustonen, Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos 4 & 5 (Ondine)

Though not quite reaching the sublime heights of Evgeny Kissin's interpretations in last year's issue of the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with Sir Colin Davis and the LSO, Finnish pianist Olli Mustonen displays consummate skill in these renderings of the 4th and 5th Concertos – especially impressive.

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

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.

Twice Over proves just champion for Cecil

On Champions' Day here yesterday the fixture's title proved more about the human part of any equation than the equine. One master trainer, Henry Cecil, took the day's senior centrepiece, the Champion Stakes, with Twice Over and another, Aidan O'Brien, made the juvenile feature, the Dewhurst Stakes, his own by saddling the winner Beethoven, the second and the fourth. But any horse present was always going to be in the shadow cast in absence by the season's giant, Sea The Stars.

Album: Beethoven, Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano, (Harmonia Mundi)

Scholarship and invention unite to extraordinary effect in this dazzling four-disc set.

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