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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