Culture Watch: What's new in music, theater and magazines
“King Lear” (NT Live). On Thursday, Hollywood’s Mann Chinese 6 will broadcast Donmar Warehouse artistic director Michael Grandage’s production of “King Lear,” starring theatrical powerhouse Derek Jacobi in the title role. (La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts will be screening the production on Feb. 20.) Visit www.ntlive.com for a complete list of national and international venues.
— Charles McNulty
Sidi Touré, “Sahel Folk” (Thrill Jockey) Continuing a recent tilt of the world music spotlight that brought African artists Amadou & Mariam and Tinariwen to U.S. festival stages, the second album from this Malinese singer-guitarist on a Chicago indie rock label is a continuation of the legacy of Ali Farka Touré (no relation). With a hypnotic mix of tangled guitars and warmly phrased vocals, the album carries the inviting, intimate warmth of a secret gently carried across continents.
— Chris Barton
World Saxophone Quartet, “Yes We Can” (Jazzwerkstatt) A small-group celebration of the saxophone that’s been an avant-garde institution since 1976, the latest recording featuring original members David Murray and Hamiet Bluiett stays in a similarly topical (if more upbeat) mind-set as 2006’s “Political Blues.” Now with Kidd Jordan and James Carter on board, this fiery live set is a swinging, soaring, funkily energetic affair.
— Chris Barton
Michael Daugherty, “Route 66” (Naxos) In his pursuit of musically monumentalizing American icons high and, especially, low, the Midwest composer takes an orchestral trip, stopping off at Ghost Ranch and winding up on the Sunset Strip. His music can be jazzy and Coplandesque. The Strip at dawn is surprisingly mellow, slightly Asian and the most seductive spot of all. Marin Alsop conducts the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with pizazz.
— Mark Swed
New York Review of Books Martin Luther’s pal Lucas Cranach was an unusual portrait painter, more interested in recording what he saw than in flattering his sitter’s ego. That included Charles V, the Holy Roman emperor, whose malformed jaw Titian cleaned up in paint but Cranach faithfully depicted. In the New York Review of Books’ blog, Ingrid D. Rowland looks at a Cranach show at Rome’s Borghese Gallery. www.nybooks.com/blogs
— Christopher Knight
Photos: Derek Jacobi as King Lear at Donmar Warehouse. Credit: Johan Persson