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.

Teresa Carreno YO/Vasquez, Royal Festival Hall

‘When a child can play an instrument, he or she is no longer poor.’ These words by the visionary Jose Antonio Abreu perfectly encapsulate the philosophy underlying the musical crusade he founded 35 years ago, which now embraces 330,000 children in his native Venezuela, plus deprived teenagers in assorted regions of Scotland, Germany, and South Africa.

Duane Eddy, Royal Festival Hall, London

His 1959 debut might have been called Have 'Twangy' Guitar Will Travel, but the legendary Duane Eddy hadn't graced a British stage since a tour with the Everly Brothers in 1991. All dressed in black, including an immovable Stetson, and playing his beautiful Gretsch signature guitar, Eddy rolled back the years from the off with "Detour" and his debut hit, "Moovin'N'Groovin". Backed by Richard Hawley's excellent band and a very adept saxophone player, he re-created his run of instrumental hits that are so evocative of the late Fifties and early Sixties. Eddy and his co-writer and producer, the late Lee Hazlewood, had a way with a title – cue "Cannonball" and the even snappier "Yep!" and "Shazam!" – and moved the guitar on from Les Paul's clean sound to a meaner, leaner rock'n'roll style.

Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall

When the 27-year-old Robert Schumann couldn’t find a publisher for his ‘Davidsbundlertanze’, he paid for the work’s publication himself, but even his betrothed Clara – for whom it was written – couldn’t see the point of it, and many people still don’t today

Abduraimov/LPO/Tortelier, Royal Festival Hall

Piano competitions don’t always throw up outright stars, but in 19-year-old Bezhod Abduraimov the London International Piano Competition most certainly has.

Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, London<br/>Fidelio, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff<br/>Tristan und Isolde, Royal Festival Hall, London

Lust, ambition, and a good dose of grief...they knew how to tickle an audience in 1688

LPO/Hilliard Ensemble/Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

The works of Matteo D’Amico – professor of composition at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia – are rarely performed in Britain, hence the handsome book extolling his prolific output which was thrust into the hands of critics at the world premiere of his ‘Flight from Byzantium’.

Faust, Coliseum, London<br/>London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, London

A splendidly sung and updated reading of a morality tale loses the Faustian themes of shame and the supernatural

Foyles turns over new leaf as sales at rivals decline

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London Philharmonic Orchestra / Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall

As if it wasn’t enough to open a new London Philharmonic season with a simply tremendous performance of Mahler's 3rd Symphony, Vladimir Jurowski could not resist adding a preface. And the music he chose not only reminded us of the intriguing connection with Mahler's younger contemporary, Alexander Zemlinsky, in that both men loved the same woman, Alma Schindler, it also looked at life, love, and destiny from an obliquely different perspective.

Wilco, Royal Festival Hall, London

A band in a pure state of grace

Album: Brahms, Symophony No 4 &ndash; Gardiner (Soli deo Gloria)

Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, John Eliot Gardiner's interpretation of Brahms' Fourth Symphony seemed deeply perverse at the time.

Gilberto Gil, Royal Festival Hall, London

A veteran artist has a history. And, it could be argued, a responsibility.

Maria Bethania, Royal Festival Hall, London

Reviewed by Sue Steward

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