- Ties that bind
Scots are soon to vote on independence. This week, in the first of two articles examining the implications of the ballot for the two countries, a writer steeped in the cultural and linguistic links between Scotland and England argues that they are indivisible
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- Ancient Irish parishes 'will be wiped out' if current vocations decline continues
- Academics respond to Devine’s call for Scottish independence
- The difference between Ebola treatment in the West and the developing world reflects our attitude towards the poor D J Kearnery
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- Pope Francis has transformed the Church – it’s time the Church stopped stifling groups who embrace that transformation Chris McDonnell
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An amusing Hollywood story involves Alan Bennett’s play The Madness of George III being renamed The Madness of King George for its cinema version because of apparent concern in the marketing department that audiences would assume the theatrical title to be the third part in a sequence of summer comedies called “The Madness of George” and choose not to see the movie without knowledge of the previous two.
THE PREVAILING tone of artistic reflections on the summer of 1914 is elegiac; this may be appropriate but not necessarily accurate, as this collection of early cinema entertainment shows. A Night at the Cinema in 1914, assembled by Bryony Dixon, curator of silent films at the British Film Institute National Archive, is touring to venues around the country until mid November.
You could not help but feel that Jonathan Meades’ choice of Edward Burra (1905-1976) to open the new series of Great Lives (5 August) highlighted the enterprise’s solitary drawback: its much canvassed attempts to make better-known people who, a moment or two’s reflection insists, are pretty well-known to begin with.
Even at 90, the conductor Sir Neville Marriner was not too senior to bring to the Proms last Sunday afternoon the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the small orchestra which, as a violinist, he had founded 56 years ago to play in the confines of the eponymous Trafalgar Square church.
THE DEATH penalty is an interesting crux for our democratic society. MPs overwhelmingly oppose it and yet, 50 years on from the last hangings in Britain, a slight majority of those who elect them would like to bring it back.
The first few days of the Edinburgh Festival always feel a little like a vast marathon start at which all the fun-runners have set off already, leaving the “elite” athletes of the official Festival waiting politely for the gun of the opening concert.
Major retrospective of an artist whose work was banned in the Soviet Union and who heavily influenced the modernist movement
ALTHOUGH ALL modern theatres try to attract new customers, most audiences still consist of the sort of people who go to the theatre. One consequence of this is that classics become familiar, which has led in turn to a fashion for revamping masterpieces.
Sean rocks’ beguiling account of the arrival of blues and soul music in the Emerald Isle (1 August) began at St James’ Church, Dingle, with a résumé of the concert played there in 2006 by Amy Winehouse.
WITH THE focus of many English-speaking nations on the Commonwealth Games in Scotland recently, it was appropriate that the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra gave last Sunday’s Prom.
There is always room in the evening schedules for a heart-warming drama about a group of female friends. And what better setting than the world of ante-natal care, where emotions run high, lives are changed, and men are just a nuisance?
Attention focused on the proletariat during the twentieth century after Karl Marx’s call to unite. Previous eras had ignored the workers. The Henry Wood Orchestra was established in 1895 to entertain Londoners too poor for a holiday, and became the Proms.
Drawing on a career in broadcast drama that included periods in charge of both EastEnders and The Archers, the producer John Yorke wrote a fine book called Into the Woods, which analysed the recurring principles of storytelling from Greek drama to soap opera.
What would Channel 4 do if we suddenly lost our desire to look down on the Americans? Kids and Guns (31 July) was another run-of-the-mill exercise in moral superiority. It showed us several US families who had introduced their children to gun sports; with fatal results, in one case.
Peter HennessY’s analysis of the planning exercises undertaken by successive British governments in the lead-up to the Great War (26 July) began in the Downing Street Cabinet room.
Even among an operatic public armour-plated against the laughable, the final moments of Francesco Cilea’s 1902 opera can provoke outraged guffaws: the heroine pegs out not as a result of disease, suicide or even fatally impugned honour – no: she takes a whiff of a poisoned bunch of flowers … sniffs it, snuffs it.