Ludovico Einaudi: Underwater at the Hammersmith Apollo
Ludovico Einaudi is a legend in crossover classical music. He always finds a way to stay relevant, his notes making up the backdrop of countless films and television series, from Doctor Zhivago to Love Island. One can even find his music trending on Instagram and TikTok, which resulted in 2013 piece Experience skyrocketing to the top of the charts last year. In January, Einaudi offered the world his first solo piano album in over 20 years. Underwater has since become Spotify’s fastest streamed classical music album in history.
Within the depths of the classical music realm, however, the Italian composer still has much to prove. His music is often described as “elementary” given how versatile and “easy to listen to” it is.
Sure, Einaudi may not be composing the most complex of sonatas, but at the London premiere of his Underwater tour last week, it was not difficult to see why he is so widely respected. His ability to appeal to almost every type of music listener across the globe is a talent on its own. This is perfectly exemplified by the sheer variety of his audience’s demographic at the Hammersmith Apollo last week: everyone from young children with their families to university students to elderly couples could be spotted entering the venue.
The underwater-themed show stays true to the album’s title, as nearly the entire first half of the performance is conducted with Einaudi sitting at his piano behind a sheer drape masked with projections of fish, waves and other sea-inspired elements. The lack of visibility in the first half is a bit anticlimactic as it would have been nice to see the world-famous composer in person sooner, however, the curtain made for a dramatic addition to the show.
He starts the performance with milder, slower compositions from his latest album, such as Underwater and Flora, and begins to build towards deeper, darker pieces with Swordfish. His band joins him for haunting renditions of Divenire and the show closes with the ever-legendary Experience.
Throughout, Einaudi proved once again that he is a master of pace, with lengthy, repetitive sections whose difficulty is often underestimated. With metronome-like accuracy, his build-up towards the climax of each piece is purely cinematic.
Einaudi is a crossover classical music superstar for this generation, and, if given the opportunity, every listener should aim to see him perform at least once in their lifetime.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Ludovico Einaudi’s website here.
Watch the video for Underwater here: