… now that Rob Cowan has signed-off from Classic FM. Last night was the final instalment of Cowan’s Classics, regularly an eclectic mix of artists (across decades of recordings) and repertoire (from Telemann to Tippett), well-pitched for music-lovers of different persuasions and experiences (whether a member of the ‘smooth classics’ brigade or the inveterate musical adventurer) presented with geniality, enthusiasm and lightly-worn expertise.

I for one would be the poorer for not having heard some conductor revelations, such as Šejna’s Wagner, Agoult’s Elgar and Engeset’s Grieg, just three recent ear-openers from the Cowan collection. Last night’s fare included a Vivaldi Concerto (complete), Sibelius’s strangely alluring Luonnotar (a first for CFM?) from Gwyneth Jones with the LSO & Dorati, some superb Berlioz conducted by Szell (from a Cleveland concert), the Vogler Quartet immersed in Mendelssohn, and Sawallisch conducting Flying Dutchman (Bayreuth 1960). Rob’s ultimate, and stirring, choice was taken from Nielsen’s music for Aladdin (Paavo Järvi). His farewell words to listeners were dignified and optimistic.

Classic FM management’s decision to not renew Rob’s contract is an unfortunate own goal given Cowan’s Classics was the best programme this station had to offer, but I count Rob as a good friend and a reliable guide, so we shall no doubt continue to exchange bon mots well into the future … something I am looking forward to.