thu 30/06/2022

Oxford

The superstar, the Svengali and a rising young talent

I'm at the New Theatre in Oxford. Elvis Costello is playing through the final stages of his 2022 UK tour. The venue is full of memories: I saw The Kinks and Tom Jones here in the 1960s and then The Who in the early 70s. On my left, there’s Paul...

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KITE Festival, Kirtlington Park review - engaging speakers and tunes aplenty in the Oxfordshire countryside

The label of "Guardian man" or "Guardian woman" is one that is bandied about as something of an insult these days. But if you can get past the name-calling and think about what might appeal to this imaginary couple (and possibly their kids) while...

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Album: Foals - Life is Yours

For the Oxford alt-rock mainstays Foals, the past two years brought an anti-climactic pause to a triumphant 2019: their meteoric trajectory had kept pace with their duo of albums, Everything Not Saved Will be Lost Part 1 and 2. The sister albums had...

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Bach St John Passions from Oxford and Stockholm online review – theatrical drive from Gardiner, interiority under Harding

Last Easter, viewing options were limited: no-one who saw it will forget a version of Bach’s St John Passion from the church where it was first performed in 1724, Leipzig’s Thomaskirche, with an idiosyncratic tenor taking all the parts other than...

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His Dark Materials, BBC One review - generic TV fantasy with ready-made twists

The good news is that television's serial slow burn will allow for a lot more original Pullman to make its way to screen than was possible in the one and only instalment of the intended film trilogy, The Golden Compass. Its virtues were many,...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Eleanor Alberga, Parry, Blondel

 Eleanor Alberga: String Quartets 1, 2 & 3 Ensemble Arcadiana (Navona Records)Eleanor Alberga’s String Quartet No 2 popped up on my iPod’s shuffle setting whilst driving few months ago, provoking me to pull over and spend the next 13...

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CD: Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1

Foals have delivered a consistently top-notch series of albums (this is their fifth since Antidotes in 2008): guitar-led, high-energy, musically literate without being effete or pompous. Power pop elevated beyond the run-of-the-mill by a great deal...

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Endeavour, Series 6, ITV review - reassuringly accomplished return of the brainy copper

The end of series five of Endeavour found PC George Fancy shot dead, Cowley police station closed and the old crew dispersed. With Led Zeppelin on the soundtrack (it’s 1969), the sixth series opened minus WPC Trewlove, but with Fred Thursday demoted...

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Mutter, Vengerov, Argerich, Oxford Philharmonic, Papadopoulos, Barbican review - a birthday banquet

When three of the planet’s starriest soloists take the time to celebrate the anniversary of a young, non-metropolitan orchestra, it may seem perverse to leave the hall entranced most by the one work in which the illustrious trio played no part. Of...

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A Discovery of Witches, episode 2, Sky 1 review - when the sorceress met the vampire

Witches, vampires and magicke of all descriptions continue to be big box office, so Sky 1’s new dramatisation of the first book of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy should be finding a ready-made audience. Anybody who’s into this kind of stuff...

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Neil Simon: 'I don’t think you want it really dark'

Asked to nominate the most important playwright in America since the war, theatregoers would probably plump for Arthur Miller, Edward Albee or David Mamet. But in terms of sheer popularity there is another candidate. Neil Simon’s wiseacre comedies,...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Sverre Indris Joner, John McLeod, Poulenc, Stravinsky

 Sverre Indris Joner: Con cierto toque de tango Henning Kraggerud (violin), Norwegian Radio Orchestra/Sverre Indris Joner, with Tango for 3 (Lawo Classics)Sverre Indris Joner is described in this disc’s notes as “the doyen of Latin American...

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