Ludovico Einaudi, the self-effacing Italian pianist and composer, entered our lives through a casual encounter on Radio 3 a few months ago. His quiet, haunting piano compositions are easy to like, but within a few weeks he had also risen to the status of family friend thanks to the warmth of his Facebook posts, from where his modesty and warmth add sun to our unpredictable climate.
‘Hey London, I love you so much…’ he wrote on Thursday lunchtime just before the start of his five performances at the Barbican. A few hours later the concert hall was full to bursting at the start of a sell-out run. Two thousand fans of all ages took the opportunity to show Ludovico how much they loved him as they responded to an evening of old and new compositions, and celebrated the release of his third album In a Time Lapse.
Turin born Einaudi has spent the last thirty years exploring every genre of musical possibility with a restless energy that pulses through his compositions. It has taken him from folk to pop, rock and world music, from film scores to chart hits and from numerous collaborations to solo albums. It seems he is determined to make the most of his time, saying ‘It’s only when we become aware or are reminded that our time is limited that we can channel our energy into truly living….’
On stage he is accompanied by a band of talented violinists, cellists and percussion artists who perform a first half from In a Time Lapse. A very good description of how it felt to be there. As a seasoned film score composer, Ludovico knows exactly how to take the audience to another place and keep them there, blissfully mesmerised, for as long as he chooses.
Then, gradually building, he delivered one crescendo after another until by the end of the second half we were at fever pitch. Suddenly it was over. Thunderous applause quickly turned into a standing ovation where Ludovico modestly laid his hand on his heart and gestured towards his musicians.
At the time they left the stage, it seemed impossible to ask for more, but by some flickering of lights in the wings, he seemed to suggest that we should. Cheering, clapping, slow hand claps and sheer hope roared in the darkness and was finally rewarded when the band re-appeared for a fifteen minute finale. For a quiet man with ambient tendencies, he knows how to deliver a high, we reflected, walking back across the Barbican High Walks on that balmy mediterranean evening.
The last performances at the Barbican are tonight and tomorrow, 3rd – 4th August, are likely to be sold out, however a special extra date has been set up for the 22nd January in London at Hammersmith Apollo and tickets are currently available…