They have publicly humiliated former business titans from Rupert Murdoch to Bob Diamond, forced Starbucks to cough up £10m in tax and made villains of some of the world’s best-known brands. But corporate Britain is fighting back against Parliament’s newly invigorated inquisitorial committees by hiring highly paid specialist consultants to prepare executives for grillings by MPs.
Kit Downes and Stan Tracey riff on the state of their art ahead of the London Jazz Festival
Where are you now and what can you see?
The pianist, composer Cedar Walton has been known to jazz audiences for over five decades, and is likely to be remembered as an exemplar for fellow musicians, rather than a populist hero. But his association with the group of Art Blakey, and a briefer one with John Coltrane, gave him the necessary background for a successful career as a bandleader in his own right.
I wonder who first applied the adjective “great” to the term “train robbery”? A sub-editor on the Mirror or Express, I imagine. He or she might well have intended it to describe size rather than worth, but it’s a sign of how we remain titillated by the events of half a century ago.
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The soothing sound of a grand piano drifted across Taksim Square last night, bringing a welcome calm a day after violence rocked the area.
The songs that are hot on our playlist this week
Widely tipped for success, Anglo-American duo MS MR deal in a similar kind of blandly alienated, metrosexual pop to Hurts, with Lizzy Plapinger's sultry-soulful vocals allied to Max Hershenow's electronic pop arrangements.
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.
Few contemporary composers have tapped into the public consciousness quite as effectively as Ludovico Einaudi, his repetitive, wave-like compositions utilising the comforting reliability of minimalism while his melodies unerringly trigger warm emotional responses.
Album of the Week: Grown-up grooves make Blake a key mover again
Born in Russia, but rigorously trained in Germany from early childhood: a surprisingly large number of piano stars have emerged via this route, with 26-year-old Igor Levit prominent among them.
Gordon Stoker was the leader of the Jordanaires vocal group, who were billed alongside Elvis Presley on many of his hit records including "All Shook Up", "It's Now Or Never" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight". Elvis went as far as telling them, "Let's face it, if it hadn't been for you guys, there might not have been a me."
Extraordinarily, in a career 22 albums long, this is the first live recording that Sparks have released – and it's typical of their quixotic charm that, despite being famous for the ambitious complexity of their arrangements, it should feature pared-down settings of one voice accompanied by just one keyboard.