Cheltenham review

Review of my recital in Cheltenham, by Ben Easey for the Gloustershire Echo:

Meticulously positioning himself at the foot of the marvellous Steinways grand piano, youthful talent Richard Uttley began his concerto to the setting of Cheltenham’s Pittville Pump Room.

Under the enchanting light of a chandelier, Uttley poured his passion for the classical genre into renditions of works from a selection of histories most sought-after composers.

Uttley’s chosen pieces were varied, drawing compositions from composers such as Scarlatti who date back to the 1600’s contrasting with 20th century avant-garde composer Berio.

He dedicated the first half of his performance to three more fleeting arrangements ranging from Scarlatti’s Sonata in D minor K.9 to five preludes from Rachmaninov’s OP. 23.

Each piece was delivered impeccably, emphasising beauty in even the most dissonant sections.

This first segment gave an insight into Uttley’s love of the genre as a whole. Uttley cleverly provided brief yet fascinating explanations defining the reasoning behind choosing such eclectic compositions.

It was clear that the versatile musician was there to do what he loved, talking confidently and fondly about his musical predecessors.

The concertos latter half focused upon Brahms’ Piano Sonata No.3 in F Minor, Op. 5 a piece written early in Brahms’ career. It was enthralling to see Uttley so caught in this piece.

Hunched over the pianos keys he elegantly passed through the sonata’s movements with a flawless thirty-five minute performance.

After returning for an eagerly anticipated encore of Schumann Uttley gave his final bow before leaving the stage.

The booming applauds that echoed through the pump rooms following Uttleys departure from the stage were thoroughly deserved, it was a joy to see such immense talent driven by such genuine ardour.