Piano-Heaven Award Winner:

In a Time Lapse

Ludovico Einaudi

Decca Records

2013

www.ludovicoeinaudi.com

www.inatimelapse.com

 

 

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The Italian 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 tracks.

 

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... and the 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.

 

Equally 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!

 

'Brothers' is 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 answers.

 

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 full orchestra.

 

By complete 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 perfectly.

 

'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.

 

As expected, the sound quality is exceptionally good on this album.

 

Fans of 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 natural 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 musica, Ludovico!

 

S.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a Time Lapse

Ludovico Einaudi

 

 

Ludovico Einaudi

 

 

Ludovico Einaudi

 

 

Listen to the track 'Walk' and watch the official video by clicking the play button above.

 

 

Other Piano-Heaven reviews

of the music of Ludovico Einaudi:

 

Echoes

The Calm of Einaudi