Ludovico Einaudi at Oxford’s Blenheim Palace

Contemporary composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi has long captured the hearts of many across the globe. Known for his remarkable ability to incorporate pop, rock, and even folk with his classical pieces, The Daily Telegraph anticipates listeners of Einaudi “to feel transported and memorised by (his) artfully wrought piano compositions”.

Taking to the stage on Sunday 28th June for his only UK tour date of 2015, Einaudi headlined ‘Nocturne’: a new series of awe-inspiring concert experiences at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

Supporting act, The Penguin Café, recaptured the range of genres presented in Einaudi’s compositions. Frontman Arthur Jeffes collated a diverse group of musicians, fused an array of wind, string and harmonic instruments, and produced an assortment of African, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Bluegrass, Classical, Avant-Garde and Minimalist sounds. Striking a particular chord, ‘Telephone and Rubber Band’ begins with a ringing tone intersected by an engaged tone, intertwined with the reverberations of the stretched elastic. Amplified, this forms the base of the hit, developing its layers like the boy who makes a bigger and better catapult each year, as he grows older. It’s certainly not impossible for concert-goers to imagine this masterpiece ready and aimed to fire upon unsuspecting listeners of Jeffes’.

However, as Einaudi took to the Great Court at Blenheim Palace, World Heritage Site and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, the sun lit the faces of its spectators. Beginning his set with ‘Walk’ (Introduction), silence fell across the palace. Softly, the brief composure manifests impatience as it builds, violinist layers greeting the delicate piano. Hardly the song fit for brisk walking; but more appropriately it is something that you can imagine yourself twirling around to, the frills of your dress fluttering.

Unlike most classical music, his minimalistic style evokes emotion, rather than focusing on how technically skilled the musicians are. During the concert, he played a variety of pieces from all his best-selling albums, most notably his renowned ‘I Giorni’ (2001).

Everything with Einaudi concerns mood and atmosphere. Romance, melancholy and even fear are all dominant players. Most delicately of all, ‘Underwood’ doesn’t ask for anything less than the full attention of the human gaze. You really get the sense of a lone female cowering in a room, recalling rural tales of a Wuthering Heights-esque bittersweet love, only to be reminded of the fate which has left her remembering what once was. Spectators are stunned to silence, and a pin really could drop.

As the concert drew to a close, concert-goers rushed out of the palace gates in an effort to avoid the hustle and bustle, and remain within that very real state of serendipity. Second to last, Einaudi performed ‘Nightbook’, wishing Blenheim Palace a goodnight and propelling another wave of people running in exasperation to their cars.

To conclude the night, Einaudi performed ‘Stella del mattino’, allowing the remainder of the crowd to depart into the serendipity of the night. Complementing the very beauty of the music was the sun setting on one side of the palace whilst the moon shone on the other – a most peculiar and spectacular sight.

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