[MUSIC/Classical ~ WORLD PREMIERE ~ SA]
Hetzel Lecture Theatre at State Library, Sat 15 Feb.
Rich Batsford has performed his solo piano recitals at previous Fringes both in Adelaide and Edinburgh, but today he is here to showcase his newest creation Evoke – a CD written and recorded in 2020 (and it’s still only February!!). Still in some obvious physical pain from a recent fall, Batsford divides the performance into three sections, each containing four short pieces he has combined into a longer suite so that the audience can have a more sustained and fulfilling listening experience.
Full of hypnotic and melodic compositions the performance is perhaps surprisingly not limited to tracks from Evoke, but also includes compositions from earlier CDs. His interest in electronica music is evident. His style is minimalist and enchanting in the vein of Ryuichi Sakamoto or Ludovico Einaudi. His stated aim is to give audiences music which is “simple, beautiful, and easy to enjoy”.
Meditative melodies repeat and layer and swell until they change direction, encouraging the listener to fall into the sound and surrender into their own selves, feelings and being. In the second suite of music, from the new album, Batsford invites his audience to close their eyes so that they can ‘evoke’ their inner selves and feel the music rather than engage cerebrally.
But this is no floaty meditation music as is most evident in the third cycle of tunes where influences of jazz and even rock can be detected. Discords emerge, never jarringly but to add depth and interest. So too does a more pronounced beat and vigour.
For me today’s performance is a real discovery. Rich Batsford is a talented and wonderful pianist and composer and the music he has presented today has embodied his aim to share beautiful, simple and enjoyable music which can speak to the soul, leaving the audience with a sense of enjoyment and wellbeing. A local living treasure, Adelaide audiences would do well to seek him out.
Melt into the moment.