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One of the most fun things about writing for Metro was formats like this: basically a license to sharpen your claws against a certain subject. If it came out looking even-handed, you’d failed. “The readers like a bit of attitude”, the editor told me. This was for an appearance by the Clayderman de nos jours in Birmingham in 2007, and since the editor at the time was my girlfriend, I thought I could probably get away with pushing it a bit. I don’t think she knocked it back…


To see or not to see: The Pros and Cons of Ludovico Einaudi

Pro:  As a student of the great Italian composer Luciano Berio, Einaudi’s classical pedigree is beyond question. But unlike most contemporary composers, he actually sells records.

Con:  The Crazy Frog sold records. Einaudi’s success in the UK comes from his exposure on Classic FM – a station for people who find Saga Radio slightly too cutting-edge. And while Berio smashed the boundaries of contemporary music, Einaudi’s the musical equivalent of a scented candle.

Pro: From Philip Glass to Michael Nyman, Minimalism has long been the accessible face of contemporary classical music.  Einaudi simply brings it to the masses.

Con: OK, so less is more – but this much less? Minimalist masters like John Adams and Steve Reich tackle themes like 9/11 and the Holocaust, and their music never shies away from harsh sounds and strong emotion.  Einaudi’s inspirations include “waves”, “the most beautiful sunset” and a “lovely warm summer night”. It’d insult the intelligence of a pre-school recorder class.

Pro:  Einaudi’s always expanding his musical language. He’s collaborated with an Armenian folk musician, harpist Cecilia Chailly and – on his current tour – German electro-experimentalists To Rococo Rot.

Con: Somehow Einaudi makes them all seem just as bland. His endless, foursquare piano noodling reduces even the most interesting fellow-performers to ambient backing sound. Aural wallpaper? Einaudi’s musical Mogadon isn’t as exciting as that.

Pro:  He’s the most successful living Italian composer – the heir to Rossini, Verdi and Puccini.

Con:  That’s true – a situation that critic Norman Lebrecht has described as “a calamity of unprecedented cultural magnitude”.  Hum Nessun Dorma. Now hum something by Einaudi.  Can you?

Pro:  It’s just lovely and relaxing.  What’s so wrong with that?

Con:  Nothing – and if you’ve been hankering for a 21st century Richard Clayderman, Ludovico Einaudi is the answer to your prayers.

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