Classical Music: Prokofiev Symphony No 5

The first movement sees Prokofiev in a reflective mood. The lush strings intertwine with flaring brass before returning to calmness and ending on a triumphant note. It was a pure coincidence, surely, but during its first performance, Russian forces were crossing the Vistula and entering Nazi Germany. The end of the war was only a few months away.

Classical Music:Painted Light

This CD stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but the surprise was enjoyable. The Solem Quartet has chosen an interesting concept for its first recording on the Delphian label, and in doing so, it has created a stunningly atmospheric disc.

Classical Music: César Franck Piano Works

Franck was a virtuosic pianist, which Lazar, who has fully immersed himself in the composer's world, mirrors with a deft technique.

The Nutcracker, Northern Ballet, And A Controversy

A mini-picket on the door of Leeds Grand is not the usual reception we might expect as Northern Ballet's Nutcracker returns this winter. Like a true perennial, the ballet itself pops with colour, joy, vivacity, and downright goodness.

Classical Music: Bob Chilcott Christmas Oratorio

Christmas, for many, is a magical time, especially when it comes to the musical feast offered by the season. It is also a time when the spirit of participation becomes ever-present, a sentiment that has not been lost on Bob Chilcott.

Classical Music: Maurice Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé (Complete Ballet)

Conductor John Wilson spent his lockdown reconstructing a fractured score, which contained numerous errors and omissions. With his work on Hollywood film scores, he seems to be making a speciality of this type of remodelling.

Classical Music: Weinberg 12

John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic, who also gave its première in the BBC studios in Manchester on May 15, 2019, capture the intensity and conviction with resonant low strings and the excellence of the muted brass section. It has a mysterious feel to it before climaxing in a spirited conclusion.

Newcastle Is Peru: The Barber Of Seville In Bradford

With the collective sentiments so thoroughly slapped and tickled, and the audience washed-up in a tide of goodwill, it would be both pointless and churlish to find fault in Thursday’s premiere of The Barber of Seville at Bradford’s St George’s Hall.

Review: The Woman In Me - Britney Spears

When Britney Spears appeared at the Open-Air Theatre in Scarborough in 2018 the experience was rather like watching a clockwork doll that had been wound up and sprung into action; the performance was almost robotic with little emotion and hardly any communication with her audience.

West Coast Folk Festival Comes To Blackpool This January

Coming to Blackpool's Winter Gardens this January, The UK West Coast Folk Festival 2024 is set to bring 33 acts across 3 stages to the iconic seaside resort, topped off by a rare headline set from the legendary guitarist Richard Thompson.

Classical Music: Haydn Piano Sonatas

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is adept at performing the music of whichever composer he has chosen to showcase. His attention to detail and exceptional skill in delving into the minutiae of each score, coupled with his fabulous knack for bringing out the nuances, mean he delivers perceptive and captivating performances.

Eeh, By Gum, It’s Rossini, But Don't Worry About It, Yer Daft 'Apeth'

Ey up, ow do. ‘Ave tha heard that, as part of the inaugural Bradford Opera Festival, there’s to be the premiere of Yorkshire poet, playwright, and broadcaster Ian McMillian’s new adaptation into the Yorkshire dialect of Rossini’s comical masterpiece The Barber of Seville?

Masque Of Might: New Climate-Change Themed Opera To Stream On Operavision

Opera North’s “brilliantly bonkers” (The Times) production of climate-change themed opera Masque of Might will be streamed online for free this December. Renowned director Sir David Pountney has assembled the opera from the music of Henry Purcell to create an entirely new work, which received its world premiere in Leeds in October 2023.

Langcliffe Singers & Settle Orchestra: Brahms - A German Requiem In Skipton

It is a testament to the power and authority of the combined forces of Langcliffe Singers and Settle Orchestra that they should persuade a confirmed Baroque enthusiast to recalibrate his compass.

World Music: Koum Tara Baraaim El-louz

It is an engaging sound that compels the listener to get up and dance. This is my first encounter with Koum Tara, and I was taken with the pulse and the mix of different types of instrumentation associated with the region. The different cultural styles are subtle, with a freshness and inventiveness that have been creatively blended.

Classical Music: Postcards From Italy

This haunting disc conveys different emotions created through different evocative sounds and moods and a wonderfully atmospheric light touch from Roma Sinfonietta, which accompany with rhythmic precision, never intruding as Albonetti’s sax delivers a rich tapestry of colour. The strings are powerful in providing a cushion for the sax to rest on, some lovely pizzicato, and Michelangelo Carbonara’s contribution on piano is a beautiful addition as is Vincenzo Bolognese's expressive violin 

Finding The Winning Balance With Ben Folds

Ben Folds rose to acclaim in 1993 as the frontman of alt-college rockers Ben Folds Five. With the band best known for the hit Brick, they split in 2000, and Folds rose to solo acclaim while enjoying further success in the band The Bens.

Classical Music: Mozart Piano Sonatas K310-311 & 330-333

There is so much beauty in this second volume and such virtuosic playing where Hewitt demonstrates that there are many characteristics to virtuosity, including the ability to convey simplicity in the music. In a world filled with so much horror, intolerance, and hatred, this disc offers us an insight into a more harmonious sphere that humanity can conquer.

Classical Music: Ludwig Daser Missa Pater Noster & Other Works

His splendid polyphonic compositions should be more widely known, as they are magnificently sung with illumination and wonderful clarity. The parts skillfully interweave, creating an atmospheric musical feast of sonorous music. The balance between parts is flawless.

Albums: The Rolling Stones - Hackney Diamonds

Releasing their first studio album of original material in eighteen years, The Rolling Stones return with Hackney Dia…

Swaying And Whooping With Norah Jones

Norah Jones is one of the highest-selling female solo artists of all time. Having debuted 21 years ago with the multi-Platinum-selling Come Away With Me, she almost single-handedly put radio-friendly jazz-country back on the musical map and earned herself a place in the hearts of millions world-wide.

Monteverdi's Vespers Of 1610 At Huddersfield Town Hall

As Gregory Batsleer reminded us before a thrilling performance of the Vespers of 1610, this was the first occasion on which Monteverdi’s masterwork had ever been attempted by Huddersfield Choral Society.

Over The Points: 6.5 Special

Andrew Liddle looks back at a ground-breaking television programme that ushered in a new age – and starred a lad from Halifax! 16th February, 1957! It's a date, some 65 years ago, that deserves to be fêted in British television history, celebrated in the annals of pop culture, given due recognition as the official coming of age of a generation.

Classical Music: Thomas Trotter A Celebration

Quite the gymnast, Trotter astounds with a dazzling display of virtuosic and rhythmic dexterity, all his trademark characteristics, and, of course, an excellent technique coupled with a superhero ability to change stops and create, quite simply, stunning effects throughout with innovative registrations.

Albums: Rick Astley - Are We There Yet?

Forever associated with his worldwide hit Never Gonna Give You Up, Rick Astley has had a renaissa…

A Tumultuous Year For S Club

2023 has been a tumultuous year for S Club. 20 years after their last release, in February, the group announced they would be reunited for a tour to celebrate 25 years since they exploded onto TV screens and radio stations around the world. Sadly, just a few months later, Paul Cattermole passed away from heart-related issues.

A Special Announcement: In Conversation With Shed Seven's Rick Witter

Since 1990, Rick Witter has fronted Shed Seven. Having grown from a band in York working the local circuit to international icons, they have a back catalogue of epic proportions.

Duran Duran - Danse Macabre

Duran Duran has decided to release a new album to tie in with Halloween, with the result being Danse Macabre.

Opera North: La Rondine

Puccini gets the full Opera North treatment in their effervescent new production of La rondine (the Swallow). Commissioned in autumn 1913 and first performed in March 1917, Puccini must surely have been influenced by the horrors of the war being fought across northern Europe.

Classical Music: Transfigured – Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective

Technicians at Chandos can congratulate themselves on the quality of this recording. The calibre of the Kaleidoscope Collective’s playing is reliably captured even at the extremes of the dynamic range. I must confess that the music on this disc took me by surprise. Chamber music as a genre contrasts significantly with my other musical passion, opera.