pianist Ludovico Einaudi is certainly one of the
most well-known composers to feature on the pages of
Piano-Heaven. He has enjoyed considerable success
throughout Europe (in particular in the United
Kingdom) and is, at the time of writing, currently
riding high in the Classical charts. His wings have
more recently spread across the pond
where he is becoming increasingly recognised and
revered in equal measure.
The release of
Einaudi's new album 'In a Time Lapse' is cause for
celebration on two fronts. Firstly, the composer has
not deviated from what makes him so enamoured by his
many followers. The music is instantly recognisable
as his own, and yet it has a freshness and
originality about it, almost as if the composer is
constantly rediscovering himself. Secondly, the new material is
first-class, with several pieces sure to be amongst
his followers' favourites for the foreseeable future
(all alliterative references purely coincidental!)
This 67 minute
CD features a glorious tree on its cover. I get the
feeling this is almost an autobiographical CD
judging by the track titles. Are these key moments
in the composer's life? The insert offers little in
the way of clues, so it is left to the listener's
imagination as to the inspiration behind these
The album opens
with a stringed composition entitled 'Corale' with
not a piano note to be heard. Violin, violas and
cello serenade the listener. A more sedate and relaxing
piece you would be hard-pressed to find. It sets the
tone for the ensuing music perfectly.
'Time Lapse' is
really the only discernable piece on the album that
is a little more experimental. It opens with
electronic effects, and sounds as if something is
being tuned. Could this be Einaudi searching for
these key moments in his life? The piano soon makes
its presence felt with a pleasing melody,
accompanied by the acoustic guitar, violin, viola,
cello, kalimba, rhythm guitars, electronic bass...
addition of the occasional electronic touch- almost
a nod to the early 80s Vangelis-style swooshes!
Track 3 is
entitled 'Life' and has a very gentle opening, but
after about a minute, the piece becomes more intense
with the addition of a violin. As I listen, I am
reminded that life can at times be tranquil, but it
can equally be frantic and indeed fraught (as the
cluster of violins midway through the piece
countering the stability provided by the piano would
demonstrate), and this piece captures the extremes
of life wonderfully well.
I am in love
with 'Walk' which, as the title would suggest, is one
of the more quieter pieces. It features a lovely,
simple melody which I could listen to all day. The
combination of piano and cello works perfectly on
this track, and it is undoubtedly one of my
favourite compositions by the Italian maestro. The
reader may wish to listen to this track by clicking
the play button further down on the right panel.
beautiful is the solo piano piece 'Discovery at
Night'. There are hints of an earlier Einaudi
composition in parts; I can't quite put my finger on
which. Perhaps the walk was a source of inspiration
from which transpired some wonderful music.
My second of
four favourite pieces on this album comes in the
form of Track 6, 'Run'. It certainly opens with more
of a stroll- a nap even- before the melody kicks in
and the tempo quickens slightly. The way this piece
develops is magnificent; it is a natural development
from Track 4. The piece grows and reaches out with the
addition of the cellos, but it still comes as
something of a surprise when the orchestra makes its
appearance just before the three-minute mark. The
chase is on! This would be a wonderful piece to go
and see live. It manages to be both dramatic and
melodically appealing. The piece slows right down at
the end- the fun is over; life returns to normal!
the track title for the album's seventh composition.
It also starts off calmly and slowly. I have no idea
about the composer's family and whether or not he
had any siblings. However, in my mind, we are taken
back to his childhood. Perhaps Ludovico and his siblings are on best behaviour.
This all changes just past the one minute and thirty
seconds mark, as the tempo increases, and the fun
and games begin. Or perhaps the music captures the
strong bond of friendship even in tricky times. Certainly worth of mention is the
appearance of Ludovico's son, Leo, on this
entertaining track (loops).
'Orbits' has a
slightly haunting and mysterious opening. Something
has unsettled the composer. What follows is an
intriguing piece, which asks more questions than it
Oh how I love
'Two Trees'. As I listen to this gorgeous piece, I
am left wondering as to the significance of the
title. Einaudi has used 'Two' before in his titles
(the equally beautiful 'Two Sunsets'). This is a
very calming piece of music, perhaps suggesting the
trees are of spiritual importance. It is the third
of my top-picks from this excellent album.
What to say
about 'Newton's Cradle'? The repetitive clanking of
metal balls to demonstrate a physical phenomenon
might become a little irritating after a while, and
this piece is metaphorically similar. It is
definitely the 'Marmite' of the musical world.
You'll either love it or hate it! It does seem to
sit a little uncomfortably within this album, but
hey-ho I guess that is the beauty of the 'Next
Track' button! As a friend pointed out, 'Newton's
Cradle' might be spectacular when performed live with a
contrast, the listener is then treated to the very
lovely 'Waterways'. Cello/violin/viola and piano combine to
glorious effect here, and I love Einaudi's use of
the almost throbbing low piano notes on this piece.
Even a harp makes an appearance.
It was after listening to this- the final one of my
favourites- that I thought for sure that this album
needed to be shared with the world via Piano-Heaven.
Track 12 is
entitled 'Experience', and after a gentle opening,
becomes another one of those mixed emotion
experiences contrasting contentment and
perhaps a steep learning curve.
They don't come
any more relaxing than the album's penultimate track, 'Underwood'.
The piano soothes and heals in equal measure, and
the exquisite violin playing of Daniel Hope complements the piano
'In a Time
Lapse' concludes with a track entitled 'Burning'.
Any thoughts of a dramatic climax to the album are
quickly dispelled with the heart-felt notes
emanating from the composer's piano accompanied
later by some background strings.
the sound quality is exceptionally good on this
Ludovico Einaudi are sure to be delighted with 'In a
Time Lapse' with their favourite composer on
top-form. Hopefully though, radio play and people's
curiousity will allow more listeners from around the
world to discover the joy of the wonderful music
stemming from this superb Italian pianist.
I give 'In a
Time Lapse' my highest recommendation. Bella