Ludovico Einaudi, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

WALKING on to a dimly lit stage and taking his seat at the piano facing away from the 2,400-strong audience, it was clear that Ludovico Einaudi wanted his music to do the talking at Bridgewater Hall.

The Italian composer has become one of the most successful musicians of the classical world and is often mentioned in the same breath as other renowned composers from centuries ago like Beethoven, Mozart and Bach.

But this was a night of contrasts and contradictions at the Manchester venue because at times an evening with Einaudi does not feel like a classical concert at all.

The 60-year-old's music has been described as ambient and contemporary and the composer is influenced by the whole musical spectrum.

He once said: "There is something in it that comes from classical, but I have influences from different music I have experienced in my life, from African music to folk and rock."

There were moments during the two-hour concert that felt like they would be right at home at a prog rock gig.

Some of the songs on Einaudi's acclaimed new album, Elements, were also reminiscent of the Icelandic ambient rockers Sigur Ros. Some were calming, while others were deliberately jagged and intense.

The evening saw the composer perform his most successful pieces as well as many songs from Elements, arguably one of the most contemporary classical albums out there.

But many people have been introduced to Einaudi over the last few years thanks to Shane Meadows' This Is England series.

He was nominated for a BAFTA for his moving score which really lifted the emotional scenes in the drama.

Einaudi's music has also appeared in Ricky Gervais's Derek, Clint Eastwood's J.Edgar and Darren Aronofosky's Black Swan.

His music for TV and film tends to be haunting and evocative and this translated really well live on stage.

There were plenty of spine-tingling moments while at times I could not resist closing my eyes to experience the music more purely without distraction.

Credit must also go to the five excellent multi-instrumentalists who swapped between a big variety of instruments after each song and reacted to the demanding role with skill and grace.

The concert ended with a standing ovation and one of the biggest rounds of applause I have ever heard.

It was incredible to be a part of it and see and hear the man who has brought classical music to a new generation.