Arts feature

The first Romantic

Peter Phillips on the life and times of Chopin, who was born 200 years ago The year 1810 may seem a little late to look for the beginning of the Romantic movement in music, but with the births of Chopin, Schumann and S.S. Wesley one could make a case. Think of the difference in the

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All change at Hampstead

As Ed Hall takes over the Hampstead Theatre, Lloyd Evans offers some advice on how to run this prestigious venue Congratulations, mate. You’ve landed a plum job. And a bloody tough one, too. Paradoxically, it’s harder to run a single venue than to run a group of theatres. The focus is tighter. There’s less opportunity

Extremes of joy and suffering

The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters Royal Academy, until 18 April Sponsored by BNY Mellon From time to time we need to remind ourselves of the astonishing fact that Vincent van Gogh (1853–90) produced more than 800 paintings and 1,200 drawings in a mere ten-year career. He also wrote letters, of a

In sight of the <em>Ring</em>

Anniversary-consciousness is no doubt primarily commercially driven, certainly in the music world, where the fact that a scarcely remembered composer has been dead for exactly 300 years is a reason for featuring him as This Week’s Composer on Radio Three, but more importantly for many record companies to persuade us that it is time to

Fab four

The last of 2009’s remarkable concatenation of musical anniversaries was celebrated — if that is the word — by Radio Three on New Year’s Eve with a chat show in which each of the four great composers was allotted a defence by a noteworthy music lover, backed up by live phone calls for a brief,

Mixed blessings | 30 January 2010

Precious 15, Nationwide Claireece ‘Precious’ Jones is a 21-stone, illiterate, black, 16-year-old girl with a father who rapes her — not every day, but still — and a mother so insanely abusive that she throws televisions at her and force-feeds her hairy pig’s feet. (Not every meal, but still.) Precious has already had one child

Dealing and drifting

Six Degrees of Separation Old Vic, until 3 April The Little Dog Laughed Garrick, booking to 10 April Even those who’ve never entered a theatre know the title. John Guare’s 1990 play, Six Degrees of Separation, tells of a penniless black hustler, Paul, who inveigles his way into New York’s upper-class society by claiming to

Sound check

Thank heavens for Chekhov! Master of the mundane, the boring monotony of daily life, the meaningless passage of time, he actually makes the random chaos, the pointless repetitions of day-to-day survival seem somehow rather beautiful. Or at least he helps us to realise that we’re all enduring the same feelings that life is useless and

Perfect pitch

Our attitude to the past of our own youth is like our feelings towards an old grandfather: we love him, admire him for what he’s done, but, goodness, we don’t half patronise him. Our attitude to the past of our own youth is like our feelings towards an old grandfather: we love him, admire him