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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.
From within the death camp, a picaresque story of redemptive love
A new production of a Tchaikovsky opera observes that heartache is a worldwide, eradicable complaint
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.
Recorded live at last year's Lucerne Festival, Claudio Abbado's Fidelio is as compelling as it is beautiful.
The crossover territory between classical, jazz and pop has remained largely uninhabited since the era when prog-rockers strove to assert their musical chops with ill-advised symphonic works and temporary alliances with classical musicians who sometimes – as Frank Zappa learnt to his dismay – regarded the commission with a disrespect bordering on contempt.
Pupil of Dvorák, and sometime teacher of Martinu, Josef Suk died in 1935, just a few years before the Czech musical tradition was irrevocably severed by war.
Beloved the world over for the sweeping minor-major melody of "Vltava", Smetana's cycle of symphonic poems, Má Vlast, has been a monument to Czech independence since its completion in 1879.
Recorded in Grenoble, Vichy and Paris, Emanuel Krivine's Beethoven dazzles with closely mic-ed details. La Chambre Philharmonique's bassoons are the unlikely stars, jostled out of the way by heaven-sent strings in the Adagio, and an almost comically hyperactive contrabassoon in the finale. Les Eléments deliver a lithe, moving account of Goethe's Ode, with a suave introduction from bass soloist Konstantin Wolff.Too much technical trickery to be properly "live", perhaps. But what a refreshing, bold reading.
Best known for a startling reimagining of Ravel's Bolero, Jos van Immerseel's provocative period-instruments orchestra turns to Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.
A member of Bellowhead (oboe, cor anglais, violin, vox) and another bloke (accordion) tackle a mummer's dozen (eight) songs that pertain in some way or other to the frigid season. Jigs, reels, ballads, carols: that sort of thing.
A magical spin on a Grimm tale
Something seems to have happened to Matthias Goerne. This German baritone was the wild child who once shed new light on Schubert’s songs, with his raw and visceral performances. When he walked on stage, you never knew where he would take you. Mahler’s heartrending Kindertotenlieder should have been his ideal vehicle, and as he eased into the first of these songs, the brooding melancholy of his tone seemed auspicious.
The fifth volume in Gianandrea Noseda's authoritative Liszt cycle with the BBC Philharmonic, this is also the most technically and interpretively exacting programme.
Rachael Yamagata's second album comes as a double, the nine moody love songs of Elephants followed by a burst of five more brusquely energetic rock songs on Teeth Sinking into Heart.
When Joyce DiDonato sweeps on with tousled blonde mane and in a skimpy scarlet bodice, you know this Southern belle means business of a steamy sort. We saw her at Covent Garden as the scorned Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni: her sulphurous rage incinerated everything it touched. So when she gives a recital entitled Furore: Handel's Scenes of Madness, we know roughly what to expect.