sat 28/01/2023

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Graham Rickson
Saturday, 28 January 2023
 Roger Norrington: The Complete Erato Recordings (Erato)Richard Osborne’s booklet essay contains some telling words from Sir Roger Norrington, tucked away at the end of the...
Sebastian Scotney
Saturday, 28 January 2023
A Short Diary, a duo album for piano and drums, contains music of astonishing directness, calm and concentration. The story of how it came into being is fascinating, but it also...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 27 January 2023
A film telling just the story of photographer Nan Goldin’s campaign against Purdue Pharmacy would have been worth the ticket price alone. But Laura Poitras’s documentary All the...
David Nice
Friday, 27 January 2023
There’s life in the old overture-concerto-symphony format yet – especially if the conductor not only shapes every phrase but takes care over the number of string players needed...
Gary Naylor
Friday, 27 January 2023
There’s a chance – a slim one – that you haven’t seen Noises Off, Michael Frayn’s farce about a farce that, as legend has it with The Rocky Horror Show, must surely be...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 27 January 2023
Seventy-eight years ago, on January 27,1945, Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Red Army. The iconic images of the ovens with charred skulls and emaciated survivors...
Helen Hawkins
Friday, 27 January 2023
Imagine what would have happened if the young Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel were cabin-mates on a transatlantic liner. The...
David Nice
Thursday, 26 January 2023
The Castalian String Quartet is half what I remember, but only literally: while viola-player Charlotte Bonneton and cellist...
Adam Sweeting
Thursday, 26 January 2023
A sprawling French-made drama set in the early days of the First World War in 1914, Women at War tells the stories of a...
Joe Muggs
Thursday, 26 January 2023
Ambient is everywhere now. After a quiet (lol) 2000s, when it rather disappeared into the cracks, perhaps tarred with the...
Alistair Davey
Wednesday, 25 January 2023
Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library are displayed as a monumental survey of Spanish art from Antiquity...
Miranda Heggie
Wednesday, 25 January 2023
In full force again for 2023, Scotland’s premier folk music festival Celtic Connections is back with its signature strand of...
Thomas H Green
Wednesday, 25 January 2023
Let me start by being pretentious and self-referential, spending ages doing that rather than reviewing the album. My theory...
Jenny Gilbert
Tuesday, 24 January 2023
At the arthouse end of contemporary dance no one expects a packed house, still less serial packed houses for more than a...
Tim Cumming
Tuesday, 24 January 2023
The 1997 release of Time Out of Mind was the resurrection of an artist who appeared to have wandered off the reservation...
Peter Quinn
Tuesday, 24 January 2023
Recorded in 2019, released in 2020, and winner of Album of the Year at the 2021 Parliamentary Jazz Awards, it was a delight...
Sebastian Scotney
Tuesday, 24 January 2023
I can’t help enjoying the continuing elevation of the jazz pianist Oscar Peterson (1925-2007) to national monument status in...
Bernard Hughes
Monday, 23 January 2023
I am proud – if surprised – to continue to be pretty much a lone voice in the wilderness singing the praises of the composer...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 23 January 2023
A lot has been happening in Lucy Porter’s life since she last toured. The pandemic we all know about, so she doesn’t detain...

★★★★ JULIE CUNNINGHAM & CO, SADLER'S WELLS A fine piece of work, with added spice

★★★★★ CASTALIAN STRING QUARTET, WIGMORE HALL Genius in works and performance

★★★★ SPAIN AND THE HISPANIC WORLD, ROYAL ACADEMY The refurbishment of New York's Hispanic Society provides a unique opportunity to see its treasures

★★ THE UNFRIEND, CRITERION THEATRE Dark comedy is (largely) audience-unfriendly

★★★ WOMEN AT WAR, NETFLIX Contrasting stories entwine during the chaos of World War One

★★★★ BLU-RAY: THE VELVET UNDERGROUND Todd Haynes's time-bending cultural ferment

★★★★ LUCY PORTER, CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION Making light of a midlife crisis

★★ LAPSLEY - CAUTIONARY TALES OF YOUTH Alt-easy listening electronic not-pop themed around heartbreak but lacking songs

disc of the day

Album: Sebastian Rochford, Kit Downes - A Short Diary

An album of grieving. And solace. And real class


Stewart, Sky Documentaries review - touching and insightful portrait of Scottish race ace

Fascinating documentary explores the triumphs and tragedies of motor racing

Happy Valley, Series 3, BBC One review - tension mounts as the Yorkshire crime drama approaches its conclusion

Sally Wainwright's masterpiece shows the competition a clean pair of heels


All the Beauty and the Bloodshed review - superb documentary about a campaigning artist

Nan Goldin's fight against the makers of Oxycontin is as gutsy as her work

The Last Stage review - a former prisoner returns to the death camp

The first feature film to be made in Auschwitz-Birkenau gets restored and re-released

DVD: Oscar Peterson - Black + White

Barry Avrich’s documentary celebrates the music and career of the great jazz pianist

new music

Album: Sebastian Rochford, Kit Downes - A Short Diary

An album of grieving. And solace. And real class

Album: Deathprod - Compositions

Norwegian ambient abstraction just keeps on keeping on


Classical CDs: Symphonies, suppers and knitting needles

Two conductors celebrated, plus accordion, bass trombone and string quartet

Jansen, LSO, Noseda, Barbican review - hearts of darkness

Pain offset by sheer beauty in communicative Beethoven, Sibelius and Prokofiev

Castalian String Quartet, Wigmore Hall review - genius in works and performance

Colossal finales by Beethoven and Britten don’t seem to tire these amazing string players


First Person: soprano Soraya Mafi on why Glyndebourne's tour cancellation is disastrous

Though Arts Council England has partly reinstated English National Opera's grant, its cuts still have devastating consequences for the regions

Least Like the Other, Irish National Opera, Linbury Theatre review - the harrowing of Rosemary Kennedy

Composer Brian Irvine, director/designer Netia Jones and top performers mesmerise

A Child in Striped Pyjamas, The Cockpit review - a brave tackling of a Holocaust story

The celebrated novel is brought to the stage by a young composer with ambition


Noises Off, Phoenix Theatre review - much revived classic farce gains in poignancy
Sure it's overly familiar, but, 40 years on, the laughs keep coming
Charlie & Stan, Wilton’s Music Hall, review - a beguiling fantasy about two silent comedy greats
Told by an Idiot return with a celebration of silent-movie antics and daft gags
The Unfriend, Criterion Theatre review - dark comedy is (largely) audience-unfriendly
Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss's collaboration somehow forgets about the laughs


Julie Cunningham & Co, Sadler's Wells review - a fine piece of work, with added spice

The other Cunningham stakes out their territory in contemporary dance, and the non-binary debate

Swan Lake, English National Ballet, Coliseum review - the story of a deluded prince

The corps de ballet take the laurels in Derek Deane's dependably fine production

Best of 2022: Dance

It might not be business as usual, but memorable work has come through


Alex Edelman, Menier Chocolate Factory review - London run for unmissable off-Broadway hit

How a Jewish standup found the funny side of a roomful of white nationalists

Best of 2022: Comedy

The Edinburgh Fringe was back - and so were some memorable shows


'I let it emerge': an interview with Fiona Benson on the cusp of the TS Eliot Prize announcement

The poet discusses her new book, mayflies, motherhood, and memory

Jaan Kross: A Book of Falsehoods review - plague, power and deception in 16th century Tallinn

At last, the translation of volume three in the Estonian master's great historical trilogy

Best of 2022: Books

Our top titles before we turn the page on another year

visual arts

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed review - superb documentary about a campaigning artist

Nan Goldin's fight against the makers of Oxycontin is as gutsy as her work

Spain and the Hispanic World, Royal Academy review - a monumental survey

The refurbishment of New York's Hispanic Society provides a unique opportunity to see its treasures

Best of 2022: Visual Arts

Museums and galleries are no longer afraid of giving women major shows

latest comments

thanks for a nicely in depth review with some...

Sorry Paul, but the 1991 Hammersmith Experience...

To me it is one of the great ones, while L...

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