In college I worked part time as a web designer and developer for California State University, Chico. The World Wide Web and I were still relatively young then, with all of the awkward makings of adolescents convinced of their newfound knowledge. And with the help of the university’s high-speed Internet connection to carry the conversation, the World Wide Web and I were great friends.
There are a great many things I don’t remember about that time, and still more that I remember as echoes and epitaphs of the true experience. And yet, in the midst of ten thousand forgotten details and muddy memories, there is a shining, perfect moment: the first time I listened to Questa notte, by Ludovico Einaudi.
I was listening to live streaming Internet Radio from London’s Classic FM when the host announced the evening programme: “Smooth Classics at Seven.” And to kick off the show, he was going to play a composition that was quickly becoming their most requested piece.
The composition began quietly, with a grandeur that hinted at what was to follow. Then, like a slap upside the head, the part of the piece (at 1 min 41 sec) that builds from the early, mellow passages into a forceful refrain demanded my full attention. I stopped everything I was doing, dumbfounded. The hair on my neck stood up and my scalp tingled: I was immediately and profoundly inspired.
I had never heard anything with such exquisitely channeled emotion, power, and restraint. I remember smiling from ear-to-ear and realizing, in that moment, that I had discovered something profound.
And I remember knowing, with absolute certainty, that I would never forget.
I immediately set about finding the album (Le Onde), and couldn’t find a anywhere in the US. I finally found it on Amazon.co.uk and happily paid the American-Dollars-to-British-Pounds conversion rate and the cross-Atlantic, cross-country shipping costs.
It worked out to be the single most expensive CD I’d ever bought at around $28, but I had never more happily spent money in my life.
I’ve since convinced dozens of friends and family to experience to the music of Ludovico Einaudi. It is, quite simply, an inspiration.