Rich Batsford
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Rich Batsford

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"Valentine Court (Mainly Piano)"

Valentine Court is the debut solo piano album by British pianist/composer Rich Batsford. The twelve tracks are a very interesting mix of gentle melodic pieces and pieces that are much more dramatic and edgy. For the most part, the quieter pieces are on the first half of the album, and then Batsford shows another side of his musical personality in the second half, pulling out all the stops. The variety of styles of playing and composing give a fascinating sampling of Batsford’s musical range and very impressive playing chops.

Valentine Court begins with “Lyndall,” a piece dedicated to Batsford’s partner. Short, delicate, and very graceful, it’s a beautiful opening. “So Steve” is a bit more experimental, with an abundance of swirling notes on one hand and a simple melody on the other. High-energy with lots of movement, I really like this one! The title for “Sensawunda” is a take on the phrase “sense of wonder,” and is slower and very mysterious. Most of the first half of the piece has both hands in the treble clef, but about halfway into it, the left hand ventures down into the bass, creating a much rounder and more sensuous sound - a lovely and intriguing piece! “Namaste” is also a favorite. Quiet, elegant and flowing, it has an understated energy that soothes and comforts. I also really like “Jewel,” a lovely vignette with a delicate middle section that could have stepped out of a dream. “The Cello Song” is sometimes performed with a cellist, but this version is a piano solo. More experimental than most of the previous tracks, the melody is in the bass of the piano while the other hand plays a repetitive rhythmic pattern in changing chords. It’s a bit challenging, but also very interesting. The first half of “Completion” is much more upbeat and edgy, with pop/rock-influenced themes and rhythms. A soothing interlude enters in the middle of the piece and then returns to a variation of the first half - a real pianistic workout!

“Ralph’s Trip to the Orient” is played mostly on the black keys. The left hand has the melody while the right plays a lively figure with an Asian flavor. Next, we hear a door open and close and then nothing for six minutes - the artist and the audience are “Just Sitting.” I was amused the first time through the album, and then found the long break somewhat annoying. “Chazzawakka” is something of a musical frenzy, giving the album a high-powered ending. Whew!

Valentine Court is a very promising debut! It is available from Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. Give it a spin!

Kathy Parsons - Kathy Parsons - Mainly Piano

"Valentine Court (The Music Quarter)"

This debut album from contemporary pianist Rich Batsford is the ultimate aid for subliminal relaxation.

Tracks such as 'Lyndall,' a short, sentimental piece with a calming lullaby effect and 'So Steve,' have a surreal, dream like quality that drifts from one magical place to another.

'Sensawunda' could be the soundtrack of a fairytale and reminds me of that mesmerising sound that accompanied the little twirling dancer in my musical jewellery box as a child.

Every piece on Valentine Court has it's own special attributes be it: the evocativeness of 'Namaste', the frantic vibes in 'Five Speed', the climatic crescendo of 'The Cello Song' or the eccentricity of 'Chazzawakka'.

Add to that my personal favourite, 'Gudonya'. A beautifully charming track starting out quite calm and almost bluesy before gradually building towards an uplifting crescendo and you have a stunning debut album. - Natalie Chillington (The Music Quarter)

"Valentine Court (Brum Notes)"

Birmingham pianist Rich Batsford's modular, ambient, minimalist style is a perfect accompaniment for candelit relaxation. Lyndall opens with his idiosyncratic touches, carrying a wistful lament, announcing the tone of the album.

The joyous So Steve rings of Steve Reich, whilst Sensawunda hints of Debussy, brooding with undercurrents of emotion.
Valentine Court is a neo-classical piano record which follows its own vision and passion, combining unobtrusive, soothing textures and hypnotic, complex rhythms.

Meditative, unpretentious and reflective, it is an album which pays hommage to its influences. - Brum Notes

"Selected Quotes"

• “somewhere between Esbjorn Svensson and Erik Satie, its very easy to enjoy.”
Mixmaster Morris

• “contemporary pianist virtuoso”
Line of Best Fit

• “emotive classical piano compositions. Playing to a crowd of incredibly-attentive leather-clad metal fans added a hint of the surreal to his set of hypnotic melodies and powerful, booming chords, but this could not distract from the calibre of his musicianship.”
4 Talent Magazine

• “Pianist Richard Batsford mesmerised the audience with beautiful arpeggiated soundscapes”
Whats On in Brum

• “excellent first album …. Steve Reichian music”
Birmingham Post

• “Very meditative, very seductive ambient piano work”
Robin Valk, Radio to Go

• “truly wonderful composer pianist”
The Stirrer

• “one of our favourites, who is musically expressive, highly vocal and will certainly inspire you with his songwriting”
Night Times

• “a true highlight of the Birmingham avant garde scene”

• “really is a great album – you need to check out his stuff if you’re into classical music”
Tom Belte, Rhubarb Radio

• “His listeners approach his music as a way of returning to a state of mind they seek, rather than as a background music for the chaos of ordinary life”
Andrew Dubber –

• “I played a track at the Big Chill Bar and about ten people came up and asked me what it was”
Mixmaster Morris

• “he’s quietly built a following for his melodic and magical compositions”.
Birmingham Post

• “meditative piano compostions which recall Philip Glass and Michael Nyman”
Bearded Magazine

• They were ably supported here by composer Rich Batsford who combined circling piano melodies and patterns reminiscent of Steve Reich. Each piece brimmed with an inherent sense of poignancy, and there even seemed to be a hint of post-rock in the repeated structures. With most of the material drawn from his album Valentine Court, Batsford created a spectral ambience which made him stand out from other composers. Utterly spell-binding.
Birmingham Post

• Inspired by Philip Glass and Steve Reich, his music displays amazing beauty in repetition and minimalism. Definitely a performer to keep your eyes on.
Evening Mail

• Soothing, meditative piano music … ripplingly calm.
Mike Davies, Brumbeat - Various


Valentine Court CD



Pianist composer of some of the most beautiful piano music around - classically influenced and yet totally contemporary.

Since 2006 Rich has "quietly built a following for his melodic and magical compositions" (Birmingham Post) playing regularly around Birmingham, including many self organised concerts such as the popular "Music by Candlelight" series in the Moseley Festival and with creative collective "Project X Presents".

Rich also performs his own reflective songs alongside occasional covers from his two main songwriting influences - Brian Wilson and Paul Simon. He is currently on tour in and around the Midlands and recently made his major festival debut at this year's Big Chill Festival.

Rich's solo career builds on over thirty years of music making beginning began his musical training in the local Church Choir where he developed an abiding love for the great Renaissance composers of choral music, particularly Thomas Tallis.

He then took his love for vocal harmony on further, performing regularly in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican, sharing stages with the likes of George Shearing, Willard White, Sir Simon Rattle and other classical, jazz and choral luminaries as a member of the National Youth Choir and later, the CBSO (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) Chorus.

In the 1990's Rich established his indie credibility (exorcising some personal demons in the process) as lead singer and main songwriter with guitar outfits Serene Machine and Maroon.

"Birmingham's musical catalyst"
Birmingham Post

As co-founder and core member of the Arts Council supported creative network Project X Presents, working in collaboration with anything up to 100 other creative individuals, Rich curates, designs, produces and promotes events dubbed as "omnimedia experiences". These unique productions combine many different strands of artistic output into a continuous stream of experience evolving around three stages, and spanning up to seven hours.

"a true highlight of the Birmingham avant garde scene"

Rich is also heavily involved in the world of stand up comedy, booking acts for various professional clubs and events and is the envy of every Beach Boys fan, having performed some of his favourite songs regularly to crowds of thousands in professional ex-chart BeachBoys and Four Seasons band, Gidea Park.

Rich lives in Birmingham UK and is a regular visitor to Australia.