Thomas Quasthoff and Esbjorn Svensson celebrated on Radio 3

Regular readers will know of my fondness for BBC Radio 3: it’s as near as English radio gets to a Music For Grown-Ups station.

This week’s schedules included two pieces of programming which were outstanding even by Radio 3’s toweringly high standards:

* German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff is ever more prominent, and I’d been wondering what all the fuss is about. After hearing the four-programme profile in the Artist Focus series, I now know. What a talent!

* the tragic death of pianist Esbjorn Svensson, founder of EST, the magnificent trio named after him, in a diving accident near his Stockholm home last weekend, has saddened the world of jazz. EST took their tumultuous brand of populist jazz to a mainstream European audience, including many younger listeners; they’ve been one of the brightest stars in the improv universe for some years.

Radio 3 paid tribute to Svensson in Jazz on 3 at 2330 on Friday 20 June, by replaying extracts from no fewer than four EST gigs recorded for the BBC over the last dozen or so years.

RIP: Esbjorn Svensson, a great musician.

Many BBC radio programmes are available online, streamed and/or archived. You can access them via Listen Again:

Gerry Smith


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