Mild-mannered Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi has been burning up the Billboard classical crossover charts for months and luring growing multitudes to iTunes downloads and a mass MySpace friendship. That he has become a sensation is partly because of the very mildness of his musical manners.
A tall, handsome and tranquil figure, Einaudi kicked off a U.S. tour with a dreamy and sometimes sleepy 90-minute show Tuesday at Largo at the Coronet. What can come off, on records such as the new "Divenire," as slight and suitable for background listening gains an air of mystique in a live setting, especially in one as evocative as Largo's new home. The vintage Coronet Theater's cinematic quality enhanced the same quality in Einaudi's playing.
Still, Einaudi's music wants for substance and identity. Not classical, not jazz, it is instead a mood-painterly pastiche of instrumental pop and movie-music atmospherics. He ladles out simple melodic fragments with the right hand over arpeggios and gently tolling chords by the left.
Trills and faint ornaments might fleetingly appear, but he mostly heeds a soft-core, less-is-more, minimalist creed. At times, the music conjures pastoral loveliness. In vapid moments, less equals less, spilling into a misty New Age realm.