Happy birthday, Hyperion!

It’s the record label equivalent of ‘the musician’s musician’ – perhaps ‘the record-collector’s record label’? One way or another, Hyperion Records must be weathering the hard times with some success: last night they put on a seriously classy bash to celebrate their 30th birthday. The whole shebang was the very epitome of good taste: despite the place being full-right-up-to-busting with musical talent, they did not ask anybody to play. I couldn’t help remembering that wonderful story about Jascha Heifetz: invited to a dinner by a wealthy philanthropic hostess who added, “And do bring your violin…”, he replied: “Thank you, but my violin isn’t hungry.”

Spotted among the celebs were pianists Stephen Hough, Steven Osborne, Leslie Howard and Angela Hewitt, violinist Anthony Marwood, composers John McCabe and Antony Pitts, plus the editors of many fine music magazines and some of the best respected musical authors and experts I know. The only moment that was not in perfect taste was when the one person in the room who wished to slag off Korngold to me decided to do so in the hall on the way in, before I had had the opportunity to take possession of a throwable drink. I suggest that that represents the height of cowardice.

I also heard much about everything I missed in London on Tuesday, when I was in Paris. That day, Mitsuko Uchida played the Royal Festival Hall; the now annual Myra Hess Day packed out the National Gallery with music from no less a living legend than Ida Haendel; and The Strad magazine celebrated an even bigger birthday, nothing less than its 120th. Happy Birthday, dear Strad!

And in the going-home goodybag one discovered a CD of music by Faure. In Paris we had wallowed in the magnificent Monet exhibition in the Grand Palais and I was struck anew by the remarkable way that Monet and Faure seemed to have shadowed one another’s lives and arts… That, though, deserves a post to itself. Happy Birthday, dear Hyperion!

Meanwhile, here is my piece from today’s Independent about the fabulous young pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, who’s just been signed up to the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists and will be playing a Chopin recital at LSO St Luke’s on 14 October at lunchtime.

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"