ANYONE who knows the music of contemporary composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi will almost certainly remember the moment they first heard it. Its enchanting beauty is immediately captivating and accessible, and his albums have attracted a lot of fans; evidenced by a packed house at Sage Gateshead. Einaudi, joined by cellist Marco Decimo, treated enraptured devotees to an evening of the best of his works.

A diffident artist, his entry was swift with no pause for hesitation as he set about his task. Dressed in black with a black backdrop, his silver hair and bald pate were etched out in sharp relief under the spotlights. His approach to the keyboard was almost reverential. Head bowed, as though in prayer, he seemed to be completely lost in his music. Some critics have dismissed his work as much of a sameness, but what a theme it is and how he works it. Despite playing at endless concerts, he did not fail to inject it with his magic.

Among the favourites were works from his latest album, Una Mattina, and older works from Le onde and Eden roc, with his I Giorni attracting rapturous applause.

Decimo provided the perfect accompaniment. The audience went wild, whistling and cheering for more. They were rewarded with two encores. A long queue snaked around the concourse as fans lined up eagerly for his autograph. Should he return, he will be guaranteed another a sell-out audience.

Published: 21/02/2005