Before you start thinking I came to Belfast with the sole intent of ruminating on the sectarian divisions that scar this city, think again. It’s Belfast Music Week, and last night I saw Ludovico Einaudi captivate an audience with music that is too hauntingly beautiful and evocative to encapsulate with words.
Einaudi recently released his new album In a Time Lapse, and he performed it with a 10-piece accompanying orchestra during the first half of the show. This album features a common refrain in the same manner as much of his previous work, although the ambient electronic effects added into the background represent a departure from his otherwise purely classical sound. The only moment that seemed out of character was during the final piece, when Einaudi began slamming the piano with force, and the entire stage was backlit with a series of intense strobes, directly into my face—it was pretty jarring, but no doubt that was the point.
The second half of the show started with Einaudi by himself, gently grazing the piano keys, playing pieces from his earlier albums. Gradually, the rest of the ensemble joined him. The night ended with a climactic series of pieces that concluded with a crescendo, which brought the entire house to its feet. Einaudi played Nightbook and Divenire, the dramatic title tracks from two of his more recent albums, and when he finished playing we gave him a stirring round of applause—no one sat down or stopped clapping when he departed the stage.
When he returned for the encore, he played Lady Labyrinth and then finally Eden Roc, which is the most beautiful way someone could ever say goodbye without uttering a single word. If you’ve never heard of Ludovico Einaudi, listen to any of these last four songs that he played, because I simply can’t do them any justice.
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