Esbjörn Svensson: Home.S.

Previously unreleased half hour of solo piano playing from the late Swedish pianist mixes classical and jazz flavours


This music laid undiscovered for almost 10 years. After Esbjörn Svensson’s death in 2008, his wife Eva stored his archive and only came back to it after a decade. A hard-drive of material revealed this collection of solo piano pieces. Not only was it musically engaging but recorded in high quality and good enough to release as an album.

Eva named the tracks using the Greek alphabet, reflecting Esbjörn’s love of exploration and discovery. As an approach it works well, leaving the listener to fill the space with their own interpretation of what they hear.

Across this short but poignant release, there are shades of classical and jazz, virtuoso playing and an indication of a scurrying imagination at work as the pieces were composed and performed. Some are short enough to be ideas that may well have been developed further, others sound fully formed. Away from the trio setting he was most associated with, Svensson’s playing is sensitive and reflective, dramatic and swinging.

Eta starts out with a theme similar to that of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Theta seems to offer a nod to the phrasing of Debussy. Who knows if that was the intention? That is the beauty of leaving the listener to interpret and enjoy all this in their own way.

Posthumous releases are always bittersweet – a painful reminder of what has been lost, a joyful reminder of talent to enjoy again with fresh material. Esbjorn Svensson continues to cast such an influential shadow over ACT that it is only right that this is being promoted as a major release from the label.

Alpha; Beta; Gamma; Delta; Epsilon; Zeta; Eta; Theta; Iota (36.15)
Svensson (p). Home studio, spring 2008.
ACT Records 9053-2