Rich Batsford returns to the Adelaide Fringe Festival with new compositions and wonderfully melodic tunes of Ludovico Einaudi in a beautiful location. His music and love for the piano is inspiring and the tunes conjure a range of emotions and strong responses. The pieces speak strongly of love, gladness, reverence and tranquillity.
Rich Batsford captivates the room within a few minutes of playing the handsome grand piano in the State Dining Room at Ayers House. The audience is shrouded in melodies that induce serenity and peace. His focus is unwavered as he becomes one with piano. His passion is infectious and soon the audience is absorbing every note, every chord with their eyes closed. A few music students and aficionados are swaying in time to the gentle tunes—one young man is even conducting the music, his hand swaying according to the tempo. Occasionally he plays an invisible piano with his right hand as the left swirls a glass of red wine. His expression is calm until he flinches or furrows his brows in disappointment as he fails to hit the right note on his invisible piano, but Batsford plays on lost in his own world.
He plays a selection of new compositions—The Sunflower and Rapid I Movement are personal favourites—before delighting the audience with an enchanting improvised piece that he records on an electric keyboard. His talent at choosing complementary notes and chords on the spot is enviable. He migrates back to the grand piano to play a few pieces by the great Italian composer, Ludovico Einaudi. In the words of the music student-come-composer, ‘now he’s getting serious’; he may have been serious, but he was charismatic and serene for the entire hour, giving the audience gentle smiles and providing anecdotes of the origins of his compositions, injecting a few humble jokes here and there.
Batsford ends the night with some of his own classic compositions from his debut album that leave the audience wanting more—indeed, he is called back for an encore and his bewilderment at the success of his performance is charmingly authentic. The whimsical finale satiates the audience at last and his outstanding performance has been all the more enjoyable in a stunning venue.
Reviewed by Prerna Ashok 20 February 2014