Crowds flooded into Sidney Myer Music Bowl early to get the most prized spots on the lawn to witness Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi.
All ages were present – a testament to how wide-reaching Einaudi’s music has become over his more than 30-year career. A blue sky and still night was a fitting backdrop to the performance, only occasionally interrupted by squawking seagulls.
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Daylight had nearly disappeared when Einaudi entered the stage. Sitting at the piano solo, he drew much of his set from his 2020 album Underwater, which was written during the pandemic in 2020. While some of his softest, most delicate work, it carried the power and emotion of his best work. ‘Swordfish’ was especially rousing, with Einaudi proving he is the master of building rhythms to stunning crescendos.
Midway through the set Einaudi was joined by a cellist, violinist, and percussionist. As a quartet, they were able to perform some of his earlier work with maximal impact, like on ‘Elements,’ which drew audible gasps from the audience upon completion.
After another block of solo songs, Einaudi was joined again on stage to perform ‘Divenire’ and ‘Experience.’ Playing two of his most quintessential back-to-back pulled everyone from their seats or patch of grass for a lengthy and well-deserved standing ovation.
Einaudi and co.’s precision playing and balanced set list of old and new made for a stunning evening of modern classical music.
Everyone seemed glad to be there, including the Maestro.