Latest Issue: 20 September 2014
20 September 2014
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18 September 2014 by Laura Gascoigne

In 1846 A respectable couple moved into a riverside cottage on the Thames at Chelsea. Mrs Booth was in her late forties; her other half – dubbed “Admiral Booth” by the local tradespeople – was 20 years older.

18 September 2014 by Francine Stock

IN HIS SONGS, Nick Cave descends to the catacombs of the imagination, drawing on myth, mysticism and religion. You might encounter Lazarus or Orpheus, Old Testament fury or glory, and always lurking, the threat of damnation, the sweet promise of salvation.

18 September 2014 by John Morrish

THE LIVES OF artists, or artistes, can be full of drama. But the life of Cilla Black does not seem to have been among the most eventful. Cilla (15 September) is a three-part biography of the enduring entertainer, starting with her life as a typist in early-1960s Liverpool.

18 September 2014 by D.J. Taylor

LENNY HENRY, I thought to myself as the first strains of the Velvet Underground broke upon the early morning air: what better choice could there be to front up a programme about Andy Warhol? He is certain to be exuberant.

18 September 2014 by Mark Lawson

HISTORICAL NOVELS are often given a second life by anniversaries of the events depicted and Pat Barker’s Regeneration, shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1991, has cannily been adapted as a drama (co-produced by the Northampton theatres with the Touring Consortium Theatre Company) to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.

18 September 2014 by Rick Jones

WHEN NIETZSCHE was asked in what category he placed his book Also sprach Zarathustra, he replied “Symphonies”, so it was appropriate when his younger contemporary Mahler set a text from it at the heart of his Third Symphony, completed in 1896 (the same year as Strauss’ wordless Also sprach … ).

Previous issues

11 September 2014 by Robert Thicknesse

Rossini liked to present himself as a frivolous man, but his operas suggest otherwise

11 September 2014 by Francine Stock

The changing alignment in world order since the fall of the Berlin Wall has put a dampener on one particular genre, the spy thriller.

11 September 2014 by Peter Hennessy

How gratifying it must be to be one of the senior politicians whom Peter Hennessy regularly invites to sit down with him in a BBC studio and reflect on the patterns of an illustrious career.

11 September 2014 by Mark Lawson

Challenging the usual trade description, Alecky Blythe is a dramatist who never writes a word.

11 September 2014 by Rick Jones

The musicians of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra drew a sell-out crowd on 3 September.

04 September 2014 by Laura Gascoigne

Of the 145 galleries in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the modern ones are the poor relations. Tucked away behind the National Art Library in a remote corner of the third floor, they provide a rather perfunctory coda to 3,000 years of decorative arts history. But now the coda has a sting in its tail.

04 September 2014 by Rick Jones

The seoul Philharmonic came under the Proms’ spell for the first time on 27 August. Under conductor Myung-Whun Chung, it played Debussy’s La Mer with a sense of power unleashed and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathétique, with such thrilling third-­movement drive that the impromptu applause would not stop until Chung had taken a bow.

04 September 2014 by D.J. Taylor

In Simon Raven’s novel Friends in Low Places (1965) there is a wonderful moment in which a bluff, no-nonsense character named the Marquess of Canteloupe remarks that any fool can make a profit: all you need is to find out what people want and make them pay a proper price for it.

04 September 2014 by Francine Stock

Sometimes, as Tammy Wynette so ­plangently observed, it’s hard to be a woman – and this particularly increases if you happen to be a female character in a thriller, whether literary or on-screen.

04 September 2014 by Mark Lawson

For Keen Shakespearean theatregoers, the possibility of collecting a complete set of the plays becomes like an adult game of trading cards.

28 August 2014 by Rick Jones

Although he has been in the limelight for a decade, the official career of the 22-year-old pianist Benjamin Grosvenor began only when he graduated from the Royal Academy of Music two ­summers ago. He celebrated by opening the BBC Proms that year and has been a frequent, popular guest ever since.

28 August 2014 by Brian Morton

The record collector and label founder Eric Isaacson recently told the story of rooting through a damp cellar in Portland, Oregon, finding rare LPs and promos amid the debris and dirt of an old bandleader’s life. The blind owner had spent his last few years scribbling furious messages to himself, or to posterity.

28 August 2014 by D.J. Taylor

With the GCSE and A-level results safely gathered in, and a good half-million or so of the nation’s 18-year-olds university-bound, Radio 4’s new series on education (continues until October) scores high on the relevance gauge.

28 August 2014 by Mark Lawson

Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls is one of the select number of Broadway musicals (including A Chorus Line and 42nd Street) actually set in the American ­theatre district, although its male characters,

21 August 2014 by Mark Lawson

The main difference between the official Edinburgh Festival and the Fringe is scale, especially in budgets and running times: the main official event, “The James Plays” (reviewed here last week) stretched to around nine hours while the average Fringe show lasts 60 minutes, meaning that this selection is made from around 50 productions I was able to see in eight days.

21 August 2014 by Francine Stock

Brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have worked now for more than 30 years on stories – first documentary and then drama – from their home town of Séraing in Belgium. Their subjects are loners, usually isolated more by circumstance than choice.

21 August 2014 by Rick Jones

Mahler’s fourth symphony culminates in the last-movement setting of the anonymous folk poem, “Das himmlische Leben” – “life in Heaven” – which he had written and rejected for the Third Symphony. His works of 1899/1900 started to spill into each other.

21 August 2014 by Brian Morton

The days of themed Edinburgh Festivals seemed to have gone, missed or unmourned depending on your point of view. Fortunately, the relationship between art and conflict offers so many different and oblique perspectives that there was never much danger that the programme would lapse into any of the familiar poetry-and-pity, lions-and-donkeys, guns-of-August clichés.

21 August 2014 by John Morrish

CULTURAL HISTORY is powerful, which explains why programme commissioners give the green light to series like Brilliant Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities (20 August), whose title conceals three mini-breaks in Vienna, Paris and New York.