Above: (l to r) Francesco Accuri (percussion and electronics), Ludovico Eidaudi, Frederico Mecozzi (violin and viola), Redi Hasa (cello). Featured image: the concert unfolded with some amazing lighting effects. Images: Jay Patel.
It has been some four years since global contemporary classical superstar Ludovico Einaudi made his exciting Down Under debut at the Sydney Opera House. Following the release of new music, and after forty years of continuous hits for his growing audience, the composer-pianist has managed sell out concerts this time. A frenzied audience reaction fitting an Italian football hero in four capacity Concert Hall events at the Sydney Opera House have just completed an exciting sequence of his trademark atmosphers.
Einaudi comes to our shores armed with new music (from his 2022 release ‘Underwater’) as well as the long list of familiar classics. His inimitable ability for organic variation was well intact in the live medium. So too was his masterful creation of shifting mood or energy, a redefinition of subtlety with regard to keyboard gesturing and his gift for making stillness expand, climax, contract and reach out in searching multidirectional trajectories.
This compser-performer brought with him three extra musicians (strings, electronice and percussion) to augment the intimacy and take the diminutive sonic frisson to new heights. The joyous unisons, shimmering expansion on simple ideas and comfortable soundscapes expanded the fans’ album, You Tube or Spotify catalogue exposure. This background is here cleverly and dynamically painted afresh with a high level of musical intelligence and interlocked talent. Whether conversing in focussed solo-piano mode or the outsourced excellence of piano quartet lines against the clouds, the lengthy swathes of story shone in the stunningly lit space.
The. capacity crowd was continually wowed to cheering point and lulled into their ambient music megahit happy place. A special thrill came through witnessing this piano soloist’s unravelling of working compositions into greater, carefully wrought wholes.The extended live tracks were not a chore to follow. They flew by before our hungry ears, and satisfied fans both old and new.
Above: Francesco Accuri on percussion and electonics supporting the inimitable piano sound of Ludovico Einaudi. Photo credit: Jay Patel.
That thrill of any Ludovico Einaudi experience in a live environment is the chance to see and hear his gentle performance hues and meditative excitedness as we hear minimalism on a mission of supersubtle development and easy ensemble or solo virtuosity.
For a concert this long we witnessed quite incredible musical staminao. his slo and an ensemble level. Sheer talent on display of this pianist alone let alone the combination with the other musicans was a delight to witness. The detailed, gradual development of famous themes and inflection styles into new timbral shapes at times just for this concert’s candid excellence was a gift. The original piano hues with impressive keyboard control and exquistite phrasing contours were here successfully expanded to include high to low string voices and percussion plus electronic exclamations and loops.
This was a slick performance of avery decent and generous two hour length. Einaudi himself featured solo for some time in his signature, still exploratory style. The other instruments entered until gradually the texture was fuller with the feel playing of cello violin/viola, elecronics andd drums. This build onstaage was a classic Lodovico Einaudi slowburn.
The soundscapes possible then grew from this artist’s much available recorded and streamed tracks. Audience followed on seats’edge or sitting back totally relaxed as they followed, quite starstruck, all their favourite Einaudi nuance with a beautiful, variegated edge for our time now at larger band level. At all times the developing moods and motifs with rhythmic gesturing found a safe, sound resting placeat the Sydney Opera House mainstage.
Above: Einaudi in solo mode. photo credit: Jay Patel.
.Under beautifully intimate light effects the solo variation set for the classic Nuvole Bianche was a major highlight and take away in exemplary atmosphere and promotion for this popular artist.
The very large and diverse crowd, of which we would love to see for other classical music events, were absorbed in the night’s offering and total production. This attention was quite total for the contemporary master, with frenzied gig-style purchases later to be seen in bulk at the impressive pre and post merch stand in the Opera House foyer.
Like any concert experience with a major artist, this gig inspired exploration afterwards of the new album material as well as a trip back through his vast musical history. The live concert extra layer added three charismatc musicians to the night and to the intricate, undulating ambiance in some very memorable heterophonic moments supported by the dynamic lighting in the refurbished Concert Hall.
This was a perfect promotion and celebration event for th popular and enduring master of the solo piano slow build, delayed resolution and veiled generation of variation. The deceptively simple motivic ingredients in variation and extended format yielded a sonic cornucopia with surprisig peaks and troughs, not just music on the similar meditative level throghout. Thee crowd roared with gratitude at the conclusion of the cumulative onstage atmospheres offered.