Actress/Darren Cunningham
©Tom D Morgan

Actress/London Contemporary Orchestra: Momentum, Barbican Centre, London

An attempt to fuse electronic and orchestral music that succeeded

'War' vinyl record

The Life of a Song: ‘War’

The tune originated in a 1963 speech by the Ethiopian emperor that Bob Marley set to music with a reggae vamp

Robbie Thomson’s 2014 work ‘XFRMR (Transformer)’ at Sonica
©Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Sonica: image and sound in perfect harmony

The biennial Glasgow-based arts event promotes work combining visual art, music and performance

Joe Cummings illustration

Beyoncé, musical militant superstar

The singer’s ‘Formation’ has been criticised as an attack on the US, writes Ludovic Hunter-Tilney

Music artist Sean "Diddy" Combs drinks Ciroc vodka as he hosts a party at the Wet Republic pool at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino September 4, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for MGM Resorts International)
©Ethan Miller

Rhythm and booze

The drinks industry has poured money into a music scene that celebrates alcohol, but now that young people are drinking less it must react. Ludovic Hunter-Tilney reports

The Britten Sinfonia. Photo: Harry Rankin
©Harry Rankin

Louis Andriessen In Focus, Barbican, London — ‘Eclectic’

The concert celebrated the wide-ranging Dutch composer and friends

ORA singers at the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London. Photo: Nick Rutter
©Nick Rutter

ORA singers/Suzi Digby, Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, London

Elizabethan and new vocal works at the Tower of London chapel

'L’Opera Seria' at La Monnaie. Photo: Baus/La Monnaie DeMunt
©Baus/La Monnaie DeMunt

L’Opera Seria, La Monnaie, Brussels ‘Harmlessly entertaining’

Florian Gassmann’s 1769 work makes a mockery of the opera world

Gwilym Simcock, left, on stage with the Delta Saxophone Quartet at Pizza Express. Photo: Roger Thomas
©Roger Thomas

The Delta Saxophone Quartet with Gwilym Simcock, Pizza Express, London — ‘Shapeshifting’

A prog rock theme ran through the ensemble’s poised performance

Renée Fleming with Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Mark Allan/BBC
©Mark Allan/BBC

Renée Fleming, Barbican, London — ‘Adventurous’

Fleming’s voice soared — whenever the music allowed

The Mighty Handful, Royal Opera House, London — ‘A fiery sound’

A stormy but uneven programme of music by five Russian composers

Kronos Quartet Explorer Series, SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco — ‘Diverse and bracing’

The foursome celebrated the string quartet and its possibilities

Christian Gerhaher, Wigmore Hall, London — ‘A voice in a million’

The German singer’s recital was one of the season’s highlights

Massive Attack, Brixton Academy, London — ‘Bleak’

The band’s grim worldview made this show a suffocating experience

Takács Quartet, Wigmore Hall, London — ‘Emotional depths’

The Hungarian ensemble relish freedom — but detail, too

Sound of masculine top notes back in style

The countertenor range of the male voice was long considered weird, spooky, disturbingly androgynous

The Life of a Song: ‘Good Times’

Chic’s last-gasp salute to disco was inspired by the Great Depression and the Harlem Renaissance

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, National Theatre (Lyttelton), London — ‘Pitch-perfect’

August Wilson’s play about music and race is superbly acted

South Pole, Nationaltheater, Munich — ‘Vacuous, insipid’

Miroslav Srnka’s opera is an ill-judged expedition

Green Mass, Royal Festival Hall, London — ‘From haunting to hideous’

Alexander Raskatov’s new work is ambitious but lacks coherence

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