Arts and Entertainment

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Imogen Cooper’s coolly reflective reading of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto was at odds with the more extrovert approach of the Budapest Festival Orchestra under its conductor Ivan Fischer

Classical review: Budapest Festival Orchestra - Bohemian rhapsody marred by clash of styles

In 2011, Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra played two BBC Proms in one night. The first was a meticulously disciplined programme of Liszt and Mahler, the second a jamboree of party pieces and encores, selected by raffle from a list of some 200 works. Encores are the great disinhibitors of classical music and they have served Fischer and his orchestra well. Now 30 years old, the BFO can melt the cognoscenti with musical kitsch, compete with the finest in core symphonic repertoire, and deliver Beethoven with the transparency of period instruments. Whether this should all be attempted in one performance is another matter.

Album: Various artists, Liberation Music (BGP)

Louis Armstrong singing spiritual-jazz anthem "The Creator Has a Masterplan" (and sounding great) is one of the more bizarre experiences on this neat compendium of black consciousness from the vaults of Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label.

James MacMillan, Magnificat (Challenge Classics)

Album review: James MacMillan, Magnificat (Challenge Classics)

The second volume of James MacMillan's projected four-album series for Challenge finds him conducting the Netherlands Chamber Philharmonic and Netherlands Radio Choir on the premiere of his Advent antiphon “Ó”, in which lowering strings shade treble choral harmonies either side of a central solo trumpet passage, its divine nobility haloed by the choir's extended “O”.

Storm in a teacup: The Flying Dutchman

Classical review: The Flying Dutchman - Love among the sewing machines and sarnies

A perpetual voyager is saved by selflessness and a terrific chorus

Album: Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, Je voy le bon tens venir (Alpha)

Early woodwind virtuoso François Lazarevitch, Les Musiciens and the earthy-toned singers Simone Sorini, Enea Sorini and Marc Busnel take us back to the time when street parties lasted a week or more.

George Benjamin Day conducting

George Benjamin Day, Wigmore Hall, London

Ethnomusicologists are like bees, with melodies being the pollen they transfer from culture to culture. In the 1950s the great American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax went on a song-collecting trip to Italy, and brought back recordings of a wealth of music which is now mostly extinct.

They Might Be Giants, Nanobots (Lojinx)

Album review: They Might Be Giants, Nanobots (Lojinx)

Over three decades as They Might Be Giants, the Brooklyn duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell have developed into a sort of post-modern Flanders & Swann, crafting sharp, witty and entertaining little satires on contemporary mores, set to a dizzying range of styles chosen for humorous emphasis.

Album: Stravinsky, Le Sacre de Printemps - Berliner Philarmoniker/Rattle (EMI)

Stravinsky's 1913 ballet, The Rite of Spring, premiered to catcalls and fisticuffs.

Charles Ives, A Songbook (hat(now)ART)

Album review: Charles Ives, A Songbook (hat(now)ART)

As with his larger musical works, Charles Ives' songs occupy a peculiar position that offers a bridge between Old World classical art-song traditions and the more demotic, folksy New World modes, but charged with the questing experimental spirit that characterises his entire output.

Love and war: Ronald Samm and Elena Kelessidi as Otello and Desdemona

Classical review: Otello - Race plays second fiddle to suspicion

This Otello is pitifully vulnerable to the lies that will destroy him. But something's wrong when the orchestra steals the show

Album review: Tugan Sokhiev, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Stravinsky: The Firebird, The Rite of Spring (Naïve)

Scandalous in its early performances, the stylised primitivism of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring can these days sound merely rumbustious – unless attacked with the youthful gusto of a Dudamel, whose 2010 interpretation with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra restored some of its pagan spirit.

IoS album review: Debussy, La Mer etc – Anima Eterna Brugge/Jos van Immerseel (Zig-zag Territoires)

Jos van Immerseel and Anima Eterna Brugge explore the timbres of the Parisian orchestra on the cusp of the 20th century in this absorbing period-instruments performance of three of Debussy’s most famous works.

Hot Chip, Brixton Academy, London

Anyone still ready to dismiss Hot Chip as geeks or middle-class ironists would be disabused of that notion as soon as the south London five-piece appear.

Jeffrey Stewart and Robert Winslade-Anderson in 'The Emperor of Atlantis'

The Emperor of Atlantis/ Albert Herring, Linbury Studio, London
Tosca, King's Head Theatre, London

From within the death camp, a picaresque story of redemptive love

Album: The Feldman Soloists, Crippled Symmetry: at June In Buffalo (Frozen Reeds)

Performed by Morton Feldman's original ensemble at a posthumous celebration of his work held at the 2000 season of June in Buffalo – the annual new-music festival he established in 1975 – this version of his classic "Crippled Symmetry" perfectly captures the poise at the heart of his music.

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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

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Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003