Arts and Entertainment

Avi Avital "Between Worlds" (Deutsche Grammophon)

Album review: Chris Thile, Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1 (Nonesuch)

Once again, the protean malleability of J.S. Bach's genius is demonstrated by the unusual transcription of his work - in this case, the Violin Sonatas and Partitas - to another instrument, the mandolin. The Punch Brothers' mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile was first drawn to Bach by the rhythmic “groove” of Glenn Gould's 1981 re-recording of The Goldberg Variations. Thile's country and improv roots lend more rubato accents than some might prefer, but he liberates the pieces from their conservatoire corsets. The dazzling deftness of his fingering in the Presto and Double Presto sections evokes a kind of giddy delirium and his feathery technique wrests the tenderest of emotions from the second Sonata's Andante.

Album: Luke Haines, Rock and Roll Animals (Cherry Red)

After alternate English histories and wrestlers' inner monologues, the insanely prolific and prolifically insane Auteur turns to children's fables.

Video: The National

Watch the videos below to take in tracks from The National's latest album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’.

No journeyman: Yes keyboardist Wakeman, in his 1970s pomp

Yes, prog-rock of the Seventies is back, says Rick Wakeman

Clubbers who have made "Get Lucky" this summer's dance-floor anthem will be shocked to hear that Daft Punk aren't the robot-friendly sound of the future – but revivalists of Seventies progressive rock, once the most derided of genres.

Video: Tracks from the Playlist

Watch the videos below to take in tracks from this week's Playlist.

Album: Souad Massi, The Definitive Collection, Wrasse

From tango to soukous, from flamenco to fado, this spirited Algerian singer-songwriter embraces it all.

Album review: Nino Machaidze, Arias & Scenes (Sony Classical)

It's not hard to understand why Nino Machaidze has become something of an overnight sensation since her 2008 breakthrough in Roméo et Juliette at Salzburg. In this selection, the Georgian coloratura soprano combines phrasing of nuanced subtlety with top notes of stunning power, ranging from the lilting, seductive “Quando men vo” from La Bohème to the impassioned gusto of her dramatic Violetta in an extended scene from La Traviata climaxing with a joyous “Sempre libera”.

Miles Kane, Don't Forget Who You Are (Columbia)

Album review: Miles Kane, Don't Forget Who You Are (Columbia)

Album of the Week: Singalong anthems with a Sixties beat and lots of swagger

Jamie Cullum, Momentum (Island)

Album review: Jamie Cullum, Momentum (Island)

Jamie Cullum's first album for Island may be his best. It certainly goes beyond his retro-jazz comfort zone, with piercing electric organ and electric piano lending a vibrant, visceral edge to several songs.

Frank Almond, A Violin's Life (Avie)

Album review: Frank Almond, A Violin's Life (Avie)

A Violin's Life tracks the specific instrument employed on the album, a famous Stradivari known as the “Lipinski”, through pieces written by, or for, its successive owners, beginning with the baroque formality of Giuseppe Tartini's “Sonata in G minor”, notable for its technically demanding double-stopped “Devil's Trills”, and proceeding to the Romanticism of Julius Röntgen's “Violin Sonata No 2 in F sharp”, from the late 19th century.

Floraleda Sacchi, Philip Glass: Metamorphosis (Amadeus Arte)

Album review: Floraleda Sacchi, Philip Glass: Metamorphosis (Amadeus Arte)

Floraleda Sacchi's harp lends itself particularly well to the minimalist logic of Philip Glass's progressions on this anthology of transpositions, never better than on the “Opening” from Glassworks, where the bass pulse beds beautifully among the mirroring figures of the theme.

The Phoenix Foundation, Fandango (Memphis Industries)

Album review: The Phoenix Foundation, Fandango (Memphis Industries)

For their follow-up to 2011’s acclaimed Buffalo, New Zealand psych-poppers The Phoenix Foundation chose to ignore the “short-form game” of contemporary pop and make “Test Match music” – an indication of the double-album length of Fandango which, alas, also  hints at its yawning longueurs.

Video: American teenager speaks 23 languages

Whilst most people struggle to learn one new language, a 16-year-old from New York has managed to master 23 different tongues.

Milos, Valentina Lisitsa, Fabric, London

Getting into Buckingham Palace might have been easier than getting through the well-guarded door of this former Smithfield slaughter-house now converted into a nightclub: Universal and Bang&Olufsen had temporarily taken it over for some gentle reciprocal promotion.

Rokia Traoré, Beautiful Africa (Nonesuch)

Album review: Rokia Traoré, Beautiful Africa (Nonesuch)

The daughter of a Malian diplomat, Rokia Traoré is perhaps the most naturally cross-cultural of her country's abundant musical offspring, effortlessly blending styles and sounds as easily as she switches between languages.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on