Arts and Entertainment

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Soprano Rae Woodland as Constanza and baritone Jess Walters as Isaccio in Handel's opera 'Riccardo Primo' or 'Richard I', performed by the Handel Opera Society, 28th June 1964

Rae Woodland: Singer hailed for her performances as Queen of the Night in 'The Magic Flute' at Sadler's Wells and Glyndebourne

I first heard Rae Woodland at the Nottingham Albert Hall in the mid-1960s when she sang the soprano solos at one of the Nottingham Harmonic Society's annual performances of Handel's Messiah.

Yusef Lateef: Musician

Jazz composer and saxophonist who worked with Dizzy Gillespie and whose playing influenced John Coltrane

Australian saxophonist Amy Dickson has hit the top of the UK Classical charts

Saxophone bursts into the Classic Brits with breakthrough win for Amy Dickson

Amy Dickson, the Australian musician who elevated the saxophone from the nightclub to the concert hall, has been named Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Classic Brits, marking the first victory for the instrument.

Album review: Jonas Kaufmann, The Verdi Album (Sony)

Murder, humiliation, self-sacrifice, revenge … it’s all in  a day’s work for Verdi’s heroes and villains, given voice on this full-throttle compilation by the go-to tenor of his generation.

Album: Arcanto Quartett, Jörg Widmann, Mozart: Clarinet Quintet (Harmonia Mundi)

Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet was a literally unique combination at the time he wrote it, requiring a judicious balance of parts: usually when an extra instrument was added to the quartet format it would involve two violas, but here the use of two violins leads to refinement in the higher register, rather than more clutter.

Album: Will Self/Notes Inégales/ Peter Wiegold, Kafka's Wound (Club Inegales)

Notes Inégales weave skeins of klezmer around Will Self's digital essay, its touchstone Kafka's 1919 story, A Country Doctor.

William Mysterious: Bassist with punk rockers the Rezillos

Using the pseudonym William Mysterious, Alastair Donaldson played saxophone and bass guitar with the Scottish punk band the Rezillos. Combining a sci-fi, day-glo aesthetic, references to Thunderbirds and The Flintstones, and a fast, fun take on 1960s beat music, the group burst on to the Edinburgh scene in January 1977 and later that year signed to Seymour Stein's Sire Records, the home of New York punk-pioneers the Ramones and Richard Hell. Credited as Mysterious on their exuberant debut Can't Stand the Rezillos, which made the Top 20 in August 1978, Donaldson left before the band appeared on Top of the Pops to promote their paean to the very same television show but returned to contribute to their swansong release, Mission Accomplished... But the Beat Goes On, recorded live at the Glasgow Apollo on 23 December 1978.

Album: Mozart, The Last Symphonies: Orchestre des Champs-Elysées/Herreweghe phi

Something very exciting happens in Philippe Herreweghe’s recording of Mozart’s last three symphonies.

Album review: Les Siècles, François-Xavier Roth, Debussy: La Mer, Première Suite d'Orchestre (Musicales Actes Sud/ Harmonia Mundi)

Usually, period-instrument performance involves the wielding of antiquaria like sackbut and theorbo in renaissance settings.

The 10 Best summer courses

Polish your Spanish or life drawing skills, or learn to forage and then cook your harvest with this range of engrossing courses

Album: Schumann/Dvorák, Piemontesi/ Belohlávek/BBC SO (Naive)

Francesco Piemontesi brings together two oddities: Schumann's Piano Concerto is a dreamlike dialogue between soloist and orchestra, while Dvorák's rather dull work has slid into obscurity.

Album review: These New Puritans, Field Of Reeds (Infectious)

This third offering from These New Puritans is distinctly uneasy listening. Poised on the cusp of indie and classical, there is a laborious, tortuous formality about songs such as “Fragment Two” and “V”, with their peculiar, jerky time-signatures and lowering orchestrations.

Album review: KT Tunstall, Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon (Virgin)

KT Tunstall's fourth album is by some distance her best, offering a series of deeply-felt musings on mortality, mercy and memory. Recorded at Howe Gelb's Wavelab Studio in Arizona in two sessions separated by a season – hence the different titles for the separate “sides” – it reflects her response to the death of her father, the first side's sensitive, reactions gradually supplanted by a new emotional light as her branches become strong enough to “play with the wind” and “carry the snow” again.

Album: Gwyneth Herbert, The Sea Cabinet (Monkeywood)

Recorded by the sea in Aldeburgh, Herbert's sort-of concept album is changeable as the ocean.

Album review: Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood, Black Pudding (Heavenly)

The teaming of Mark Lanegan with multi-instrumentalist bluesman Duke Garwood is an alliance of congruent attitudes and approaches, Garwood's layered guitar lines and soft shaker percussion forming an apt backdrop to Lanegan's weathered baritone on the gospel-blues of "Pentecostal", while more saturnine drones and loops colour the darker concerns of "Death Rides a White Horse" and "Thank You".

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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue