Richard Farrell (1926-1958) is one of New Zealand's most important pianists. Fifty years ago, fate took a hand on the night of 27 May 1958, on a country road near Arundel, Sussex, when a car unaccountably left the road and hit a tree, killing all three of the vehicle's occupants. One of the passengers in the car was Richard Farrell.
In 1950, two years after his Carnegie Hall debut, his playing brought forth comments such as "a highly gifted pianist "
(London Times), "an enviable, natural-seeming command of the keyboard" (London Daily Telegraph), "...mastery of
the piano" (New York Times), and "...both virtuosity and brilliance of sound" (New York Herald Tribune).
A Royal Festival Hall programme of a 1953 concert in which he appeared with George Weldon and the Philharmonia Orchestra, described Farrell as the "world-renowned pianist", and the programme of a 1954 Royal Albert Hall concert, in which Farrell played the Rachmaninov Third Piano Concerto with (surprisingly) Sir Thomas Beecham and his Royal Philharmonic, spoke of "The Return of the Distinguished New Zealand Pianist". Farrell had recently toured Australia and also appeared at a Royal Concert in New Zealand before the young Queen Elizabeth.