Arts and Entertainment

Fires Of Love, "Remember Me My Deir" (Delphian)

Album: Schubert, Fibonacci Sequence (Deux-Elles)

Composed in 1824 between Death and the Maiden and the Ninth Symphony, the Octet, scored for string quartet plus clarinet, bassoon, horn and double bass, is a leisurely and sunny respite between demanding monoliths.

London Symphony Orchestra/ Rattle, Barbican Hall

Another ingeniously apposite piece of programming from Simon Rattle – but this time the Berlin Philharmonic had stayed in Berlin and a long awaited re-match with the London Symphony Orchestra presented two mighty instrumental canvasses as startling in sonic contrast as they were bonded in spirit.

Berlin Philharmonic / Rattle, Barbican / Southbank, London<br/>Troy Boy, Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London

A much-hyped musical visit lives up to expectations, and an operatic star is born

Album: Mahler, Symphony No 4 &ndash; Orchestre des Champs-Elys&#233;es (Outhear)

The 19th-century woodwind instruments infuse Philippe Herreweghe's account of Mahler's Fourth with the thick green smell of buds and leaves.

Album: Phillippe Herreweghe, Mahler: Symphony No 4 (PHI)

Belgian conductor Philippe Herreweghe has chosen Mahler's Symphony No 4 as the debut release on his PHI label.

London Symphony Orchestra/Alsop, Barbican Hall

It was extraordinary but not especially surprising how Gustav Mahler’s presence could loom so large in a concert containing not one single note of his music.

Album: Tchaikovsky, Romeo and Juliet/Symphony 6 (Orfeo)

Andris Nelsons' remarkable ear for orchestral colour is put to the test in this bold pairing of Tchaikovsky's Sixth with Romeo and Juliet. The fantasy overture is the more natural fit for the 32-year-old conductor.

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

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

Rebecca Front: 'To my husband&rsquo;s horror, I&rsquo;ve never read Ezra Pound or heard Schoenberg&rsquo;s Verklarte Nacht'

My husband, a peerless man in almost all respects, has one very irritating habit. He'll start talking about a book, play, symphony or whatever, having made the generous assumption that I know the book, play, symphony in question. But when the conversation reaches the point of unavoidable return, where I am simply duty-bound to admit that I have not in fact read, seen or heard whatever it is he's enthusing about, he does the following: he raises his eyebrows, widens his eyes, opens his mouth and emits a near-silent glottal stop, as if he's too shocked even to scream. He then rocks forward and clutches his chest – I'm not making this up – before saying in a strained voice: "You haven't read any Ezra Pound/ heard Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht...". He doesn't do it to belittle me, I promise you, he's not that kind of person. He does it because he's saddened at these shortfalls in my cultural education.

Henryk Gorecki: Modernist composer who enjoyed crossover success with the million-selling 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs'

In Britain, Henryk Gorecki was best-known – to some, only known – as the composer of his meteorically successful Third Symphony (the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs").

Gorecki, famed composer of symphony of sorrow, dies

The Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, famous for his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, including one about a woman held prisoner by the Gestapo, has died following a serious illness. He was 76.

Album: Beethoven, Symphonies 4 &amp; 6 &ndash; BF0 / Fischer (Channel Classics)

The strings are plumper than we've come to expect from recent Beethoven cycles but the Budapest Festival Orchestra can still deliver at the composer's original metronome markings.

Album: Foxy Shazam, Foxy Shazam (Sire/Warners)

Cincinnati sextet Foxy Shazam are the deranged, inspired rock'n'soul monster led by Eric Nally, a man with the face of D'Artagnan and the bravado of a backyard wrestler.

Album: Bizet, Symphony in C etc / J&#228;rvi (Virgin Classics)

Paavo Jarvi and the Orchestre de Paris's delicately shaded recording attempts a silk-purse makeover on the piglet's ear of Bizet's juvenile Symphony in C, lending lustre to the adagio, grit to the bagpipe drone of the scherzo, and Mendelssohnian fizz to the allegro vivace.

Hall&#233;/Elder/Kirchschlager, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

After its exceptional contribution to Manchester's celebration of Mahler last season, the Hallé – opening the season with more music by the same composer – appeared to have some unfinished business. But when the pieces in question were so fascinating and their interpretation so compelling, by players who now clearly have the rhythms and subtleties of Mahler's music in their blood, it felt quite logical.

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