Classical review: Christian Blackshaw, Wigmore Hall / Uchida,

Christian Blackshaw occupies a unique niche on the piano circuit. His brilliant early career was powered by the ability, which he had absorbed from his great mentor Clifford Curzon, to make every note sing. His wife’s illness then took him out of the game, which he has now re-entered.

Classical Review: Gloriana -Never enter the Virgin Queen’s

Commissioned to celebrate the coronation of the present Queen, Gloriana was a rare flop for Benjamin Britten. Its story of silly, handsome Robert Devereux’s ascent and descent in the affections of  the ageing Elizabeth I is doubly hampered by the Tudorbethan argot of William Plomer’s libretto and the composer’s garish orchestration of John Dowland’s lute songs. For every moment of beauty and brilliance, there is another of thumb-twiddling banality.

Cultural Life: Miranda Hart, Comedian

Comedy: I have been watching the HBO series Girls. It's my latest box set. It's extraordinary. Lena Dunham not only writes and stars in it but also directs it. Which is incredibly brave of her, but makes complete sense as it's totally her vision. And it's fantastic that a network has let her creativity flourish without interference. We need more of that in TV.

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