Ludovico Einaudi at the Royal Festival Hall
As part of Ludovico Einaudi’s Elements tour at the Royal Festival Hall, this extraordinary composer and pianist opened on a semi-darkened stage with a soft building melody and muted beat. As a backdrop, a huge video screen with a gently moving minimalist design formed a synchronised visual accompaniment, changing pattern and movement with each piece. Alternating between mellow and deep, rich tones, Einaudi’s music is itself a kind of painting set to melody. What could be characterised as modern classical/rock/conceptual electronic reaches beyond conventional description to a style transcending music, forming its own art, time and stratospheric entity.
On his grand piano, Einaudi’s exquisite playing is accompanied by various combinations of violin, cello, one to two guitars, keyboard, drums, synthesizer and the marimba – played with brushes – as well as unusual intonations achieved through creative use of these instruments: He says, “For me it’s about how you imagine the combination of colours in a composition. I like to establish relations between sounds to produce more complex sound textures and depth….”
Performing a beautiful extended solo on grand piano (“I enjoy the nakedness of the solo piano…that you have to search for the fundamentals of the compositions”), Einaudi is mesmerising. The instrumentals are superb, with some gorgeous pieces on cello.
Carrying you like a wave, the sometimes delicate, often passionately forceful arrangements undulate and scintillate, creating sounds that are otherworldly, mathematical and horological, or that reflect nature (seagulls, the roar of a wild animal), building slowly to crescendos, in harmony with visuals of geometric designs, a collage of muted contours and rotating planets or a huge crystal, zooming in and out and changing form. At times, like floating in space, the effect is hypnotic and gripping.
The pianist has spoken about being inspired by Euclid’s geometry, Kandinsky’s writings and the periodic table (“…the matter of sound and of colour, the stems of wild grass in a meadow, the shapes of the landscape…”) and even Eminem. These otherworldly pieces extend beyond New Age, and Space Age, they are unique unto themselves and could be likened to a journey of the intellect and the soul. A remarkable concert, Ludovico Einaudi’s Elements is an exceptionally beautiful, moving work.
Photo: Nick Bennett
For further information about Ludovico Einaudi and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Night here.