Originally published on The Daily Touch
Whether you have noticed or not, Ludovico Einaudi has crept into your life. His repetitive style of music has made him a popular choice for advertising, television shows and most recently the soundtrack to the French comedy film ‘The Intouchables’. As a fan of his since I heard ‘Nightbook’ one night in the library last year, I jumped at the chance to see him live at the Barbican last Tuesday.
At 7.35pm Einaudi walks casually over to his piano. Seated with his back to the audience he is the only one illuminated by spotlight. The small orchestra joining him tonight is currently in darkness, until they open the show with a performance of ‘Waterways’, and the first of many shivers runs down my spine.
The first half of the concert consisted entirely of pieces from Einaudi’s latest album, ‘In a Time Lapse’. It’s an album which has utilised the violin much more than previous Einaudi albums, and if the performance has taught me anything, it is that apparently violinists are a thing you can never have too many of. The instruments are designed with one goal in mind: to create as many goosebumps as possible to the largest number of people. This is perhaps best demonstrated in ‘Underwood’, with a beautifully heart-rending performance from the lead violinist tearing through the atmosphere in the theatre.
The second half of the performance sees a revisit to his classics. The lights dim and this time Einaudi is the only one on stage. Alone, he performs an exceptional rendition of ‘Nuvole Bianche’, the piece I had been waiting for all evening. The experience is nothing short of exquisite. I have heard the piece hundreds of times but nothing compares to watching him play it in front of you, one of his hands casually swaying to-and-fro to the tune of the other.
Gradually, the rest of his band return to the stage during ‘The Tower’. One seated at the front of the stage with a glockenspiel, taps away in unison with two others- they are creating something very far removed from what I was used to in year 5 music classes.
As the violinists strike out the final note of ‘Nightbook’ Einaudi and his band are greeted by their first standing ovation of the evening. A good five minutes of heavy applauding passes and Einaudi returns to the stage with a celloist to perform the first of three encores.
By the third encore Einaudi has the audience on their feet clapping out the beat to their final piece of the evening, ‘Lady Labyrinth’. Once the final note is struck the clapping turns into a raucous applause and the band join Einaudi at the front of the stage for a well deserve final ovation. With a grin on his face Einaudi accepts a bouquet of flowers from an audience member and departs, and with grins on our faces and sores on our palms we depart as well.