For someone who doesn’t live in Bristol I seem to be spending quite a lot of time there. As well as being there 3 times a week for work I was there twice for pleasure last week. Most recently we went there last Saturday night to eat at The Wallfish Bistro. Situated on the old Keith Floyd site in Clifton. It’s the first time we have eaten there, but we were impressed with their seafood. I had razor-clams for the first time and all our courses were tasty. Wallfish is another name for snails. The ones that they were selling (as a starter) came from Herefordshire. I have never eaten snails, and I wasn’t about to start now. If you want fresh seafood cooked well then I can definitely recommend the place.
The other trip to Bristol was for something that we have been looking forward to for some time – a Ludovico Einaudi concert. This is the fourth time that we have seen him and we weren’t disappointed. We cut it fine in getting there. Forgetting how bad Bristol traffic is in the rush hour. We arrived in our seats with about 5 minutes to spare. I am never going to leave it that close again. If you arrive at late, they hold you at the sidelines until there is a break for applause. All through the first half there were people coming in between each tune. In the past we have chided these people for their tardiness, although given our close call with the traffic I was a bit more forgiving this time.
This concert was based around Einaudi’s latest album – Elements. Whereas some of his other albums, Divenere, Nightbook or even his recent one In a Time Lapse all have their own very distinctive style, I would say that this latest one is slightly different in that as well as having a coherent feel it actually seems to link in to each of the previous albums. For a number of the tracks on Elements I could see them working in one of the earlier records, albeit a different one for each. So a track like Twice wouldn’t sound out of place on Nightbook. Or Logos could easily fit in with In a Time Lapse, and Whirling Winds has a sound of Diveneire to it.
He had 6 people on stage with him, all multi-instrumentalists. The first half started with a number of pieces from Elements. The ensemble pieces are all rhythmical yet melodic, and build up to climaxes. I particularly liked the effect from the electric cello. Midway through the first half the band left the stage and we were treated to a medley of some of my favourite pieces. Starting with Berlin Song, and including others such as Nuvole Bianche.
The second half saw the introduction of a couple of instruments I have never heard of, let alone seen before: a waterphone which looked like a bare lampshade being played by a bow, and a water gong, both of which gave weird effects.
He finished the encore with I Giorni. I suspect this is his favourite. This is not the first time we have heard him end with it, which pleases me particularly because it also happens to be my favourite of his. It was also the first piece I learnt. It is so nice to hear his variations on something that I have heard so many times and played myself nearly every week.
If you want to see him check out his website. Hopefully he is coming to a town near you.