For those who remember their final year of university or are experiencing it now, you’ll remember the need to concentrate. To block out the rest of the world and focus on that critical essay or revise for that all-important exam. For me, the year was 2013 and the year I discovered the legendary Ludovico Einuadi. Einaudi’s music spoke directly to my heart and left me speechless, through the rollercoaster of emotions he takes his listeners on. (If you haven’t experienced the thrilling effect of his music yet, you can do so here – www.youtube.com/ludovicoeinaudi).
Fast forward to November 2016 and my excitement is palpable. Three years ago, I had missed out on the chance to see him perform live when his show sold out before I could book it. But now, I finally had tickets to see Einaudi LIVE in concert at Symphony Hall in Birmingham!
Hastening into the concert hall, I eagerly took my seat in the Grand Circle, with a view directly to the middle of the stage. I noticed the piano was facing away from the audience, so all we would see was Einaudi’s back. Was he shy? Was he arrogant? Why didn’t he want to face the sell-out crowd who had turned out to see him?
With not much time for contemplation, the lights went down and I turned to my left to look at my friend with pure delight. A giant screen set up behind the currently isolate instruments began to display motifs from Einaudi’s latest album – Elements. Shapes appeared onscreen relating to the natural landscape, geometry and science which are the themes Einaudi explored in composing this album. After a short period, Einaudi walked on stage and took his rightful place at the piano. His hands touched the keys and the captivating sound he produced enchanted my ears. One by one, his five accompanying musicians took to the stage and launched into their part of the composed artistry.
The staging was spectacular. There were visual lighting effects to accompany the twists and turns of the music, which did well to take my breath away. From the warm golden glows complementing Einaudi’s mellow pieces, to manic strobes where he was absolutely rocking the stage. And to my firm favourite when white lasers beamed into the audience, with inspiring music to give you a sense that in this moment, you could achieve anything you wanted in your life.
Einaudi’s five accompanying musicians were incredibly talented. Alberto Fabris on live electronics; Federico Mecozzi on violin, guitar and electric bass; Redi Hasa on Cello; Francesco Arcuri on guitar, waterphone and percussion; and finally, Riccardo Lagana on percussion. I was greatly impressed with Einaudi’s use of modern instruments to give more depth to his pieces, including drumming a steel plate in a tank of water to create an eerie sound – which Google isn’t able to tell me the name of!
Einaudi is one of a kind. His ability to invoke emotion by connecting with audiences through his music is what makes him one of the most popular contemporary composers and pianists of today. Towards the end of the concert, I understood why he had his back to the audience. So we could be drawn into him on this exhilarating journey of contemplation. That night inspired me to let go of any inhibitions and to start writing this blog, which is why I am here to take you with me on this journey of discovery.