Music review: Ludovico Einaudi, Edinburgh

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ITALIAN pianist/composer Ludovico Einaudi has successfully spanned numerous contrasts in his 30-year career

Ludovico Einaudi

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

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From leading-edge multimedia and contemporary dance projects to collaborations with Coldplay and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers; from scoring art movies to soundtracking Vodafone ads; from highbrow critical acclaim to major popular appeal, the last underscored by a notably youthful capacity crowd for this lone Scottish date on his current tour.

Performing material from his new album, In A Time Lapse, with a ten-piece ensemble mainly comprising strings, but also incorporating guitar, bass, electronics and diverse percussion – glockenspiel, bass drum, bells, tambourines, steel pan – Einaudi delivered a similarly transcendent show, brilliantly showcasing his richly fruitful musical marriage of simplicity and profundity.

While his use of repetition and incremental progression owes much to minimalism, at times recalling the more lyrical moments of the man who named the genre, Michael Nyman, Einaudi’s expressive compass merits more distinguished comparisons, among them Chopin, Satie, and the heartfelt emotional intensity of jazz great Keith Jarrett.

Closer to home, there were echoes, too, of Lau’s forays towards systems music, and of Mhari Hall’s and James Ross’s sophisticated folk-based pianism. Encompassing the full gamut from exquisitely delicate solo meditations to tumultuously epic full-band climaxes, the music’s intricately interlocking multiplicity of melody, counterpoint, tempo and rhythm, powerfully conveyed the protean complexity of emotional experience, be it in a single moment or over a lifetime.