Arts and Entertainment

Josie Long is an award-winning comedian and writer. She will perform with Robin Ince in Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre (10-22 Dec) and also on tour in Robin and Josie’s Shambles.

London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

The Austro-Hungarian connection loomed large but it was the Hungarian bloodline which bound this typically shrewd Vladimir Jurowski programme – and out of the Trannsylvanian twilight came Peter Eötvös like a latterday Bartok.

Juan Diego Florez/ Vincenzo Scalera, Royal Festival Hall

Ten years is a lifetime in singing and since his London recital debut, courtesy of Ian Rosenblatt, Juan Diego Florez has achieved superstar status in that highly specialised corner of the bel canto repertoire demanding suppleness and speed of delivery. Things don’t always go his way – even Florez is fallible -and this his fourth Rosenblatt recital was, as the football pundits love to say, very much a game of two halves.

Juan Diego Florez/Vincenzo Scalera, Royal Festival Hall, London

Ten years is a lifetime in singing and since his London recital debut, courtesy of Ian Rosenblatt, Juan Diego Florez has achieved superstar status in that highly specialised corner of the bel canto repertoire demanding suppleness and speed of delivery. Things don’t always go his way – even Florez is fallible -and this his fourth Rosenblatt recital was, as the football pundits love to say, very much a game of two halves.

Richard Thompson, Royal Festival Hall, London

Striding onstage in his trademark Wolfie Smith black beret, jeans and shirt, Richard Thompson grins sheepishly at the applause, hefts his powder-blue Stratocaster and makes a few self-deprecating noises about being here at the Festival Hall yet again. It's now almost a second home for Tommo, who curated last year's Meltdown Festival here – and if the place ever needed a house band, they could do far worse than Thompson's current unit, whose members seem able to turn their hands to just about any style, in any metre required.

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Kavakos / Wildner, Royal Festival Hall, London

There are a handful of examples that I can think of where an unknown conductor has stepped in at the eleventh-hour and created an overnight sensation. This was not one of them.

Flawless, Royal Festival Hall, London

Bling on the dancers, but add an old hand

London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Saraste, Royal Festival Hall

In a programme note for the premiere of his 2nd Violin Concerto in 1943 Bohuslav Martinu wrote of the eternal tension between “absolute music” and music with an expressive purpose.

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.

Album: Mahler, Symphony No 4 / PO / Mackerras (Signum)

When the Royal Festival Hall was being refurbished, the Philharmonia moved next door.

London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Petrenko, Royal Festival Hall

What a journey we took here from the muted half-lights of Stravinsky’s Scherzo Fantastique to the tumultuous bell-laden prophecy at the close of Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony.

Helene Grimaud, Royal Festival Hall

Put temporarily out of the game last year by illness, Helene Grimaud is one of the most exciting young pianists around, and one of a kind.

Cocker to narrate 'Peter and the Wolf'

Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker is turning to classical music, as the narrator of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.

Philharmonia Orchestra/ Sokhiev, Royal Festival Hall

The trick with Debussy’s Prélude à l’aprés midi d’un faune is to make the whole piece sound as free as the celebrated flute solo which awakens it.

Nacio Herb Brown/ Freed Singin’ in the Rain, Royal Festival Hall

You couldn’t make it up: the water supply fails at the South Bank on the day they’re performing Singin’ in the Rain. I guess you call that a dry-run.

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Barbican Hall, London<br/>Markus Werba, Wigmore Hall, London<br/>London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London

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