Voices

The Labour leader has been rightly scorned for music that merely ticked boxes. He could so easily have been a lot less boring…

Padmore / Vignoles / Navarra Quartet, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

After 20 years of knocking about with the best in the business, the tenor Mark Padmore has some distinguished people to call on for a concert billed as "Mark Padmore and Friends".

Claudia Pritchard: All summer long, they'll be playing our song

You may not have seen any posters, but an impromptu festival of British music has just begun. It will close on Saturday 10 September at the Last Night of the Proms with pieces by the Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the elder statesman of British music, Benjamin Britten, and the sing-a-long-a-lollipops Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia and Jerusalem.

The Week In Radio: A round-the-world trip from Ambridge to Ystad

If you don't like England, you're probably sitting next to Martin Amis on a plane right now, seeking some civilisation more worthy or cerebral than our own. Well, I don't know about that, but I've just spent a week in New York and I can't tell you what joy it is to come back to British radio. Granted, this week has been a little more introspective than usual. Vaughan Williams came in both second and third in Classic FM's Britain's best loved piece of classical music, The Archers and Gardeners' Question Time, those bastions of Middle England, engaged in radio incest, and everyone braced themselves for tomorrow's big one. But as a place to look out at the world, British radio takes some beating.

Divine duet: when Lark Ascending met Bolero

When Ralph Vaughan Williams went to Paris to learn from the younger Maurice Ravel, it set British music on a new and exciting path. Jessica Duchen explains

Malcolm Smith: Boosey & Hawkes manager whose expertise made him a mainstay of the classical music scene

Malcolm Smith was one of those unsung heroes whose efforts glue the fabric of musical life together. Joining the music publisher Boosey & Hawkes as manager of the Hire Library in 1969, he got to know thousands of musicians, whose decisions often depended on his efficiency. If you were a conductor or orchestral manager planning to perform, say, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring or an opera-house intendant putting on Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, it was Smith and his team who made sure the performing material – the parts the musicians put on their music-stands – was up to date and delivered on time.

Philharmonia Orchestra/ Norrington, Royal Festival Hall

These days Sir Roger Norrington tends to stop, look, and listen rather than get stuck in; it’s almost as if it is someone else’s performance and not his own that he is enjoying.

The Sixteen, Royal Festival Hall, London

Sometimes it behoves even card-carrying atheists to accept a little harmless mumbo-jumbo.

From ballads to Rule, Britannia!

Sunday's Prom will replay the Last Night from 1910. Jessica Duchen looks at how the institution has changed

Eugene Onegin, Royal Opera House, London<br/>The Man and Men, Hill Street Theatre, Edinburgh<br/>The Prodigal Son / The Homecoming, Arcola, London

The Bolshoi's radical and searing production of Tchaikovsky's opera of young love spurned is thrillingly staged and sung

Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer, By Wesley Stace

Simply put, but devilishly hard to achieve, a successful novel is one that lingers in the mind as fact. Put through their hoops, its characters acquire that plausibility which can have readers continuing the childhood habit of creating new adventures for them. With his third novel, Wesley Stace again turns a variant on all this - so much so that, for a moment, at the first performance of Britten's opera Peter Grimes, one finds oneself wondering whether the composer had copped some of that landmark music from Charles Jessold, whose work had been eclipsed by a fatal 1920s love triangle.

Prom 23: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/ Runnicles, Royal Albert Hall

Questions may be raised in the Scottish parliament about the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra bringing an all-English programme to the Proms (one dear soul even felt compelled to wave the Scottish flag) but no one is likely to be arguing about the quality of the music making. Predictably Vaughan Williams’ Lark Ascending pulled in a massive crowd but it was the concert opener by John Foulds (a Proms first) that really raised curiosity levels.

David Fanshawe: Composer and explorer best known for 'African Sanctus'

On accepting an honorary degree as a Doctor of Music at the University of Bristol last November, the composer and explorer David Fanshawe described his "life's missions": "to celebrate the universal language of music; to record for posterity endangered World Music, threatened with extinction; to seek inspiration for my own compositions – thus uniting musical worlds apart."

Proms makes history with two last nights

If you were to travel back to the Last Night of the Proms in 1910, you would see 3,000 people paying their threepence to listen to Edward German's comic operettas and Dorothy Forster's fashionable songs.

Minor British Institutions: Classic FM

Classic FM is the popular classical-music station that has been trained like an Exocet missile at the engine room of middle-class musical tastes for the best part of two decades. But is its thriving existence as a commercial entity with an apparently loyal audience of four million listeners reassuring proof that civilisation is not yet dead? Or is it just unchallenging pop music for oldies, chocolate-box sounds?

The feral beast: Editor's immoderate offspring

Red faces at The Guardian, where a moderator of the Comment is Free website has been reprimanded for likening Melanie Phillips to a character from Little Britain.

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