Arts and Entertainment One Direction's third album sold 685,000 copies in 2013

The boy band may have achieved chart success, but 2013 marked the first year in a decade that no album sold more than 1 million copies in the UK

Frank Turner and Billy Bragg, The Roundhouse, London

"I won’t sit down and I won’t shut up/ And most of all I will not grow up", belts out the lean 30-year-old Frank Turner on his rousing anthem "Photosynthesis", and the bolshie folkie from Winchester is the highlight of this inaugural Able2UK concert for disabled awareness.

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Album: Dylan LeBlanc, cast the Same Old Shadow (Rough Trade)

A suite of songs (ie, the mood is consistent throughout) of love and loss that aims for the austere mood of Gene Clark's No Other and falls short only because it reaches so high.

Album: Simone Kermes, Dramma (Sony Classical)

Named after the inscription “dramma per musica” to be found on 18th-century opera librettos, Dramma offers a remarkable collection of arias mostly drawn from longforgotten works by (now) unperformed composers.

Album: Benjamin Grosvenor, Rhapsody in Blue (Decca)

On his second Decca set, piano wunderkind Benjamin Grosvenor programmes Gershwin alongside roughly contemporary pieces by Ravel and Saint-Saëns, but it's the connection between Rhapsody in Blue and Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major that gives the album its point.

Amol Rajan: How about a reggae anthem to inspire the nation?

FreeView from the editors at i

The BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall

Prom 35: Williams, Osborne, BBC Phil, Storgards; Prom 36: Bevan, Spence, Callow, Hallé, Elder

Steven Osborne is one of the unsung heroes of British pianism. This 40-year-old Scot tends to be typecast as a Beethoven and Schubert man, but he can create subtle spells with Ravel and Debussy: how would he handle Grieg’s ‘Piano Concerto in A minor’?

Album: Richard Rijnvos, Uptown/Downtown (Challenge Classics)

Dutch composer Richard Rijnvos believes that New York epitomises "the precarious equilibrium between chaos and order", a principle borne out in the two triptychs that comprise Uptown/Downtown.

Prom 21: Aldeburgh WO/Elder, ***; Prom 22: Keith/BBC Phil/Noseda, ****

Formed in Aldeburgh only a few weeks ago, and drawing in musicians from four continents, the Aldeburgh World Orchestra is the newest youth band to grace the Proms, and under Mark Elder’s direction it gave a noble account of Britten’s "Sinfonia da Requiem".

Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

Barenbolm/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, London
Falstaff, Opera Holland Park, London

Daniel Barenboim displays persuasive subtlety and style with his complete cycle of Beethoven's symphonies at the Proms

The Killers' new album cover

A Killer game of chicken between a horse and a car. Thanks for that, Brandon

Brandon Flowers & Co's previous album brought forth the famous (infamous) lyric: "Are we human, or are we dancer?" But the artwork for the Nevadans' new LP Battle Born ups the ante. It features not only a lovely cod-metal lightning strike but a horse and a car (a mustang and a Mustang!) playing a game of chicken.

The Fairy Queen, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

When Glyndebourne invited Jonathan Kent and Paul Brown to realise Purcell’s ‘semi-opera’ The Fairy Queen, it was with slight trepidation, as they had no idea how this amalgam of Purcell’s music and filletings from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream would go down.

Album: Chris Smither, Hundred Dollar Valentine (CRS/ Signature Sounds)

A first wholly self-composed album by the white-country-bluesman and his furred-over smear of a voice. How big was that bushel?

Prom 9: Barenboim/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, London

Audacious, perhaps, to lure an audience of thousands with promises of Beethoven, then let Pierre Boulez steal the show. Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra placed Boulez’s Dérive 2, a work for 11 musicians that lasts for 50 unbroken minutes, at the core of the first evening of its complete Beethoven symphonies cycle. The result: a revelation.

Nas
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