Martha Argerich

Classical music is full of savage backbiters, always ready to pour vitriol on more successful artists 

A tad hung-over this morning after a chocolate gateau of a birthday concert last night. Stephen Kovacevich turned 70 and the Wigmore Hall was out in force to celebrate. As Stephen put it, succinctly: “Nobody wants to be 70, but if you have to be, this is the way to do it.”

Stephen and his team put on the glad rags, took off the brakes, and soared from 0 to 100 in moments. This was flying-display music, loop-the-loop bedazzlement, raw and wild and tender – Formula One playing in which the terror that a car wreck would happen any moment added to the adrenaline of joy that, in the main, it didn’t. Pure emotion, sincere and at the same time completely irreverent, with never a hint of pomposity or self-importance – that’s Stephen all over for you, and his friends gave as good as they got.