26th September 2023
Jude Richardson at Attenborough Arts
by Trevor Locke
I’ve been doing the music scene in Leicester for some time. Very occasionally, I make a discovery; today was just such an event. Jude Richardson‘s piano recital at Attenborough Arts was astonishing. The young Bermuda-born musician is clearly one of the rising stars of Leicester’s music scene, if not further afield.
Today’s performance began with Luke Henry’s Selections from 24 Preludes. Like me, you might not have heard of the Nashville composer who originally hailed from Memphis. Jude has been collaborating with Luke and it was delightful to hear the work of, what for me, was a new composer. Modern music with a decidedly classical approach. Find out more about him at https://www.lukehenrymusic.com/
So there I was listening to music I had never heard before, performed by a musician I had never encountered before. But … it was phenomenal. Sitting at the Bösendorfer, Jude’s playing was confident, providing a subtlety of touch, when called for, or assertiveness, when required. He was accompanied, for some of the pieces, by Francis O’Donnel-Smith, on the percussion – Jude’s own arrangement of Henry’s Preludes, which he cleared with the composer. The drummer added improvised embellishments to Jude’s playing. Some of what Jude delivered drew on Jazz and some on Ragtime. It was certainly lively and consistently engaging.
Drawing on an extensive repertoire, Jude’s very ably demonstrated the breadth of his abilities and his mastery of dynamics. Rather than play Chopin’s Nocturn in F# major, as per the programme, Jude treated his audience to some Gershwin (Prelude in B flat). That went down very well. Reverting to the printed playlist, Jude set off on Scriabin’s 24 Preludes. Music noted for its freedom, Scriabin is not widely known, so Jude’s choice was ambitious. What he delivered to us was both robust and laden with vitality. Jude caught the mood of the pieces and carried the whole thing off very well, even with a great deal of hard pedal. Noticing the recurrence of the number 24, I asked Jude about the significance of this magic numeral. He told me, “There are 24 hours in the day” and went on to explain that 24 has a technical significance in music, to do with chords and scales.
Jude treated us to Ravel’s Ondine (from Gaspard de la nuit,1908) with its shimmering showers of notes, chords and cadences. Technically challenging, Jude made it dance, capturing the music’s sparkling rivulets of sounds, showers of bright arpeggios and ravishingly fluid colours.
Jude Richardson will be at the De Monfort Hall, on 3rd March 2024. when he will perform Beethoven’s Fifth Concerto in E-flat major, (The Emperor) with the Leicester Symphony Orchestra. Something not to be missed, I would say.
Hear more of the work of Jude Richardson online -Tiktok or YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb1W5U2UdIE) his premier performance from 2013. Or on Instram – https://www.instagram.com/stories/jrichardsonpiano/3200281148684148242/