mon 21/01/2019

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Marina Vaizey
Monday, 21 January 2019
Reckless, unstoppable, one step ahead of everyone else, a hell of a lot of fun, utterly charming, street smart – descriptions of the artist Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) poured out...
Robert Beale
Monday, 21 January 2019
In contrast to a classic film soundtrack played live with the film, the idea in "symphonic cinema" is that the music, and its interpretation, come first. So the conductor is...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 21 January 2019
Daniel Sloss's latest show is called X, to denote his 10th show. The Scottish comic started in comedy as a teenager in 2009 when a lot of his material was knob and wank gags, but...
Thomas H Green
Monday, 21 January 2019
Russian trio Gnoomes have created small waves over the last couple of years with their woozy psychedelia. One of its defining factors is the way the band have utilised Soviet-era...
Adam Sweeting
Sunday, 20 January 2019
A bunch of young-ish people stuck in a rambling house in the middle of nowhere, a hatchet-faced senior citizen guarding a hoard of murky secrets, assorted missing persons, a...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 20 January 2019
Releases dedicated to previously unisssued live recordings can be tricky. The variables at play don’t necessarily ensure that what’s in the shops is worth investigating. The audio...
Lisa-Marie Ferla
Sunday, 20 January 2019
The disappearance of a band for a while calls for a re-set. A reminder, perhaps, of why you fell for them in the first place...
Graham Fuller
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Very much a woman of today, the Catholic Stuart heroine (Saoirse Ronan) of Mary Queen of Scots frequently hacks her way out...
David Nice
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Julia Wolfe, Caroline Shaw, Anna Þorvaldsdóttir: three names on quite a list I reeled off earlier this week when someone...
Kieron Tyler
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Norway’s Hedvig Mollestad Trio reset the dial to what jazz fusion sought to do when it emerged, and do so in such a way that...
Nick Hasted
Saturday, 19 January 2019
M Night Shyamalan is the Orson Welles of twist-ending fantasy, forever condemned to reach back to his first two successes....
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 19 January 2019
 Mia Brentano’s Hidden Sea – 20 Songs for 2 Pianos Benyamin Nuss & Max Nyberg (pianos) (Mons Records)Hiddensee is a...
Gavin Dixon
Saturday, 19 January 2019
The big news on this programme was Schoenberg’s Pelleas and Melisande. This early score, completed in 1903, is a sprawling...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 19 January 2019
This well-crafted addition to the films inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement is subtler and less commercial than last...
Guy Oddy
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Why You So Crazy is a woozy, disorientating and spaced-out affair with a similar understated production to the Dandy Warhols...
Marina Vaizey
Friday, 18 January 2019
The multi-costumed Lucy Worsley is television marmite, loved or loathed: her gesticulating enthusiasm can grate, as can her...
Boyd Tonkin
Friday, 18 January 2019
As the January chill began to bite around the Barbican, Sir Mark Elder and the Britten Sinfonia summoned memories of spring...
Matt Wolf
Friday, 18 January 2019
The tortuous road to addiction and back again – or maybe not – makes for a faintly tedious experience in...
Aleks Sierz
Friday, 18 January 2019
Nadia Fall is a good thing. Her appointment as the artistic director of this venue, with her first season having begun in...


★★  BLACK LAKE, SERIES 2 FINALE BBC Four's Swedish chiller fails to thrill

REISSUE CDS WEEKLY: CHARLES MINGUS ‘Jazz in Detroit’ captures the legendary bass-man with a hitherto unheard band at a 1973 show

★★★ CD: THE DANDY WARHOLS - WHY YOU SO CRAZY Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s crew get spaced out

★★★ MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS Worthy historical drama sinks under its own weight

THEARTSDESK Q&A: HEDVIG MOLLESTAD Norway's bridge between heavy metal and jazz

disc of the day

CD: Kikok - Sauna

Ear-pleasing retro synth sounds from an obscure corner of Russia

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Nolan: Australia's Maverick Artist, BBC Four review – a lust for life in all its aspects

The gifted painter from Down Under who rocked the art world

Black Lake, Series 2 Finale, BBC Four review - Swedish chiller fails to thrill

After an intriguing start, spooky sequel goes nowhere fast


Van Woerkum, BBCPO, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a symphony of cinema

How an ‘image soloist’ makes film dance to music’s beat

Mary Queen of Scots review - Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie excel

A worthy historical drama that sinks under its own weight

Glass review - shattered Shyamalan sequel

A muted meta-superhero mess whose ambition still intrigues

new music

CD: Kikok - Sauna

Ear-pleasing retro synth sounds from an obscure corner of Russia

Reissue CDs Weekly: Charles Mingus

‘Jazz in Detroit’ captures the legendary bass-man with a hitherto unheard band at a 1973 show

CD: The Twilight Sad - It Won/t Be Like This All The Time

Scottish miserabilists remind you why you fell for them in the first place


Van Woerkum, BBCPO, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a symphony of cinema

How an ‘image soloist’ makes film dance to music’s beat

Bang on a Can All-Stars, Kings Place review - a kaleidoscope of vibrant sound and vision

The six New York-based players showcase a range of eclectic commissions

Classical CDs Weekly: Mia Brentano, Wim Henderickx, Saint-Saëns

Flemish and German contemporary music, plus three French piano concertos


'Bringing things to life is what opera is all about': Robert Howarth on a 'Magic Flute' with a difference

Opera North's Mozart conductor on taking a careful look at a masterpiece

The Queen of Spades, Royal Opera review - uneven cast prey to overthought concept

Two stories painstakingly interwoven, but the dark heart of Tchaikovsky/Pushkin falters

Best of 2018: Opera

A year more remarkable for high musical values than any wealth of great UK productions


The Unreturning, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - hymn to home
Frantic Assembly's latest is a moving meditation on war and masculinity
The Daughter-in-Law, Arcola Theatre review - searing simplicity
DH Lawrence's tragically inflected 1913 tale of family relationships powerfully told


Swan Lake, English National Ballet, London Coliseum review - a solid, go-to production

Traditional stagings don't come much more satisfying than Derek Deane's for ENB

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Sadler's Wells - vivid, enchanting

Refreshed classic production delights with energy, storytelling and live Tchaikovsky

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet review - a still-magical tale of two couples

Peter Wright's balance of story-telling and classical dance lacks only elan from the pit


Battlefield V review - WWII on an epic scale

The veteran series returns for another ambitious tour of duty

Red Dead Redemption 2 review - the cowboy drama makes a triumphant return

An ambitious Wild West odyssey that matches epic scale with benchmark skill

visual arts

Best of 2018: Art

Reputations restored and revised: a look back at some of this year's best art shows

Edwin Landseer / Rachel Maclean, National Gallery review - a juxtaposition of opposites

The Monarch of the Glen refreshed by a Scottish political satirist

Māris Briežkalns Quintet, EFG London Jazz Festival 2018 review - a Rothko symphony

Latvian players and composers homage a great artist they can call their own

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