Recorded earlier this year Ludovico Einaudi’s The Royal Albert Hall Concert is a 2CD and DVD set that lets you see and hear Ludocico Einaudi at his best and a reminder to book up now for the November UK tour!
Not really a name I’m familiar with, although his collaboration with kora expert Ballak?© Sissoko on the album Diario Mali should have been a pointer as that meeting of two cultures was a pre-runner to the Vincent Segal/Sissoko project (see HERE) but this beautifully package and film release celebrates a big night at The Royal Albert Hall for the Italian pianist and composer.
The walk on violin introduction (with the rest of the string quartet) to ‘The Planets’ is soon followed by ‘Lady Labyrinth’ which are early introductions to his “beautifully contemplative and cinematic music”. And on the DVD performance, at one point he turns to audience/camera and smiles as if to say “this is good, you’ll love this” and it would be hard to disagree.
The performance in March features some of his most popular compositions from albums Le Onde and Divenire with new arrangements of ‘Eros’, ‘Nightbook’ and ‘I Giorni’ plus the previously unavailable on CD ‘Berlin Song’ and ‘Tu Sei’.
According to Einaudi, after 60 concerts across the US and Europe, the Royal Albert Hall concert was this best. Einaudi’s ambient meditative music found a new audience being picked up for the Shane Meadow’s recent TV ‘return’ of This Is England (as in This Is England ’86) and tracks like ‘In Principio’ and ‘Indaco’ out do Michael Nyman. And it’s not only Meadow’s that’s admired his compositions as he’s been used on BBC TV shows like Top Gear and Holby City and Casey Afflick’s I’m Still Here and many more that he was nominated for the Classical Brit Awards as Composer of the Year.
In addition to the string quartet, Einaudi’s “contemporary” is provided by Robert Lippok (on electronics) but it’s no intrusive electronics for the sake of it as it’s complementary (as on ‘The Crane Dance’ and ‘In Principio’ that’s mostly just the pair of them) with a gentle minimal classical meets Jean-Michel Jarre/Edgar Fosse.
The Milan Conservatorio trained pianist has written ballets, operas as well as soundtracks but ‘The Tower’ is particularly atmospheric and hypnotic taking a little of Steve Reich on board.
Part two of the show opens with two solo pieces, the ‘Berlin Song’ that he rolls into ‘Tu Sei’ much to the amusement of him and the audience. The latter is particularly reminiscent of some classical great (not that I’m accusing him of plagiarism) but it’s one that you think you’re heard before and whilst on an aside, for fans of Vijay Iyer, it’s impressive to hear how a Steinway piano can be played in such contrasting but equally emotive style and ways; “I do love a Steinway Beeky” as someone might say.
After that he’s joined by the Virtuosi Italiani string orchestra from Verona and as he reminds us that’s the home of Romeo & Julliet, ‘Melodia Africana’ is suitably romantic classical (without any typical African imagery) as it merges into ‘I Due Fiumi’.
They really sound good together on ‘In Un’Altra Vita’ that’s worthy of any moment of an soundtrack requiring tension, redemption, tension, tempered climax, fade (oh! eeer Mrs) only to pick it up again with ‘Stella del Mattino’ that does have more than a touch of “written for Channel 4″ about it like ‘I Giorni’ but these pieces work well as a suite. ‘Primavera’ continues in the same vein until the strings pick it up in an urgent flurry of bow work before returning to the chill out zone and ‘Divenire’ follows this pattern again; did he peak too soon?.
As an album, it’s hard to believe this wasn’t recorded in the studio and from the DVD; the audience is rarely seen and certainly not heard during the performances. And at the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do filming a static pianist at a piano and a static string orchestra so I’ll stick to the CD versions (which are equally fantastic and catch you in different moods like ‘Indao’) but more fast if you’re going to catch him for the November tour as venues are selling out fast (see below).
Einaudi has found a niche whether it be with an augmented string quartet or with a full string orchestra and this is a superb showcase for both of these set ups. To be honest, the CD with the orchestra is a tad too long and extended first set would have suited me better. But hold on a mo, just to add a little USP, for the encore, all the musicians take the stage and ‘Nightbook’ gets an improved ‘Nightbook II’
I admit I’m a bit of a Jonny Trunk-ist when it comes to modern soundtracks (with the notable exception of In Bruges) so Ludovico Einaudi is a bit of a revelation to me and he saves the best until last with ‘Eros’ and ‘La Nascita Dele Cose Segrete’ (separated by lengthy and well desired applause) that make a fitting end to the concert and it won’t only be the audience at The Royal Festival Hall on 2nd March that’ll be desperate to get their hands on this release – fantastico as he might say.
November 2010 Tour
5-7th Cadogan Hall, London – SOLD OUT
9th The Anvil, Basingstoke
10th Queens Hall, Edinburgh
11th National Concert Hall, Dublin
13th Lowry, Salford
14th Theatre Royal, Nottingham
15th St. George’s, Bristol
21st St. George’s, Bristol – SOLD OUT
22nd Opera House, Buxton
23rd The Apex, Bury St. Edmunds
24th Town Hall, Birmingham
25th Town Hall, Leeds
27th Town Hall, Birmingham -SOLD OUT
Ludovico Einaudi (piano), Federico Mecozzi (violin, guitar, bass), Mauro Durante (violin, frame drums, glockenspiel), Antonio Leofreddi (viola), Marco Decimo (cello, glockenspiel), Robert Lippok (live electronics), Virtuosi Italiani (Orchestra).
Reviewed: Ludovico Einaudi – The Royal Albert Hall Concert (2CD + DVD) (Ponderosa Music & Art) CD079 Release date: 1st November 2010
1. The Planets (3:34)
2. Lady Labyrinth (4:59)
3. Nightbook (7:18)
4. In Principo (3:37)
5. Indaco (7:27)
6. Bye Bye Mon Amour (7:01)
7. The Crane Dance (2:16)
8. The Tower (8:36)
1. Berlin Song (4:25)
2. Tu Sei (8:07)
3. Melodia Africana I (2:01)
4. I Due Finmi (4:10)
5. In Un’altra Vita (6:41)
6. Stella Del Mattino (2:23)
7. I Giorni (6:40)
8. Primavera (7:55)
9. Divenire (9:08)
10. Nightbook (5:39)
11. Eros (10:38)
12. La Nascita Delle Cose Segrete (7:00)
Gilles Peterson :: 22nd January 2009 :: Original Soundtrack Material bbc.co.uk
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