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Richard Smith

Michael Berkeley's guest is Dr Richard Smith. With Bach, Haydn and Stan Tracey.

Dr Richard Smith heads an organisation called Patients Know Best, and having been editor of the British Medical Journal for most of his career, he now enjoys stirring things up in a provocative weekly blog there. Among his targets: the sinister power of drug companies - and the not unrelated tendency of doctors to over-treat illnesses like cancer. When he's not stirring things up at home, Richard Smith is in Bangladesh, working for a charity trying to prevent the terrible human loss caused by infected drinking water. He has also worked as a television doctor and at one point answered readers' letters for Women's Realm.

In Private Passions, Richard Smith tells Michael Berkeley about his strong belief that doctors and patients collude to hide the truth about disease and death, and explains why he gives a talk called provocatively: "Death: the Upside". He reveals too how music has sustained him at crisis points in his life.

Choices include Bach's cello suites, the Stan Tracey Quartet, Shostakovich, Messiaen, Haydn, Deborah Pritchard, and sacred music by the medieval composer Hermannus Contractus.

21 days left to listen

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Gigue (Cello Suite no 3)

    Performer: Paul Tortelier.
  • Stan Tracey

    Starless and Bible Black

    Ensemble: Stan Tracey Quartet.
  • Hermann von Reichenau

    Salve Regina

    Ensemble: The Hilliard Ensemble.
  • Dmitry Shostakovich

    String Quartet no. 15 in E flat minor (1st mvt: Elegy)

    Ensemble: Fitzwilliam String Quartet.
  • Olivier Messiaen

    Quartet for the End of Time (2nd mvt: Abyss of the birds)

    Ensemble: Fibonacci Sequence.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Sonata in D major, H.16.42 (1st mvt)

    Performer: Glenn Gould.
  • Deborah Pritchard

    River Above

    Performer: Simon Haram.


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