Ludovico Einaudi has established himself as one of the premier neo-classical composers of our time, fusing the traditional sound with the obscure instrument, with a range of music-making methods contributing to his performance at Lisner Auditorium. People of all ages came to listen, and he delivered, demonstrating the simple genius of each song, utilizing the piano, cello, violin, water drum, musical saw, chimes, and water phone to weave together the night’s set.
With his back to the audience, Einaudi sat at his piano surrounded by his supporting band. As the notes of the first song began to rise, a projection of primitive drawings was cast on the back wall, sloppy shapes and soft shading and hard lines. The piano was alone at first, then the cellist and violinist joined. The sketches turned to numbers, Leonardo DaVinci notebook-esque math equations were made to be the backdrop to the music, taking an increasingly complex but beautiful turn. The songs melted into the next, and with the change in sound came a change in view, colors being introduced and removed, thrown on the walls, becoming vibrant and fading with the music.
We, not as an audience but as individuals who happened to be witnessing the same thing separately, listened to a piano solo that seemed to float on for a while, riffs and chords looping and repeating but never dragging its feet. My time, usually so precious and fast-paced, felt delayed, danced in slow motion to each deliberate note, and I never once mourned the minutes that passed. Every second was brimming with memory and feeling and the vastness of human emotion.
The show was a cycle of cacophony and calm, with one song in particular replacing the screen projections for small lanterns scattered around the stage, reminding me of lights that were there to guide me someplace familiar but nowhere in particular. My thoughts were set to the score of Einaudi and his band playing something that sounded elegant and sweet.
Each song brought with it a deep longing, one conveying the feeling of isolation, the next song hard and angry and red, and the one after sorrowful and gentle. Perhaps the most striking point of the show was a downstage display of a gong submerged in water, being dipped at various depths, sounding like an echo in the ocean, infinite and blue, carefully crafted to be more than music, but a wordless story to be shared.
Suddenly, the final song finished with a single, resonating note. At the end, I wished it wasn’t the end, but I will keep that last note with me, a steady hum to help me remember.
PS: Check out the collaboration with Greenpeace he did in an effort to save the Arctic.