Mendelssohn’s overture, that is. It’s a regular on Classic FM, as are numerous other pieces, to their detriment when they appear for the umpteenth time, and usually in the same recording, in Mendelssohn’s case Edward Gardner’s on Chandos, making whoever is presenting an irrelevancy. That said, this morning the Mendelssohn turned up conducted by John Eliot Gardiner (LSO), which made a pleasing change, a different perspective on the music. No offence intended to Ed.
Step forward Rob Cowan, much-missed on BBC Radio 3, whose Saturday evening CFM programme at 7 p.m. is a joy, for he opens up Artists and Repertoire in a personal and very knowledgeable way. We are unlikely to get Harrison Birtwistle’s half-hour masterpiece The Triumph of Time, which Rob played on R3’s Essential Classics series one blessed morning (in Boulez’s recording), but he does spread his net wider (in musical and archival terms) than other CFM presenters, and, to them, please note – John Suchet in particular – Rob gives complete information regarding performers, not least the conductors that Suchet too often fails to credit.
If Rob can get his producer to insert some silence before and after each of his choices (the lack of even a couple of seconds of quiet is a serious flaw right across CFM’s broadcasting strategy) then Cowan’s Classics will be an even better listen than it is at present.