Ludovico Einaudi’s music seems to be everywhere at the moment. Whether it is the backdrop to the latest TV programme/advert or being headlined at a classical awards ceremony, it is difficult to avoid this contemporary Italian composer’s distinctive brand of piano-based music.
Is Einaudi’s music really classical music?
Many people are discovering his music for the first time. But, which section of the store will you find it in? Classical? Pop? Some sort of New Age music?
The honest answer is… I don’t know!
One of the beautiful things about Einaudi’s music is that it cannot be placed firmly in a “genre box”. It is music that is truly postmodern – compositions that are equally at home in the concert hall, on our TV screens or even remixed on a club dance floor.
It is exciting because it is challenging the conventions of “classical music” – that classical music is the preserve of the rich, educated middle and upper classes (a beautiful irony since Einaudi himself is firmly rooted in the Italian aristocracy). It is challenging the idea that classical music must be written, performed and appreciated in a certain way. He is building on the electronic experimentation of Stockhausen (which most of us didn’t quite understand, but wanted to say we enjoyed because it made us sound clever!) and combining it with the simplicity characteristic of the music of Philip Glass and his fellow minimalists. And, it works!
His first album to gain widespread appeal was Echoes. Released in1996, the sweeping melodies of the opening track Le Onde (The waves) became an instant favourite amongst Classic FM listeners. Indeed, a friend of mine gave me a copy and said, “You’ve got to listen to this. It’s taking the home counties by storm!” The tracks were indeed easy on the ears, but it was the originality of the technology used in the up tempo track Eden Roc that hinted at the hidden depths to this composer’s music. If you are thinking of trying out Einaudi’s music then this is the album I would recommend. as a good introduction. Have a listen to the Le Onde below…
Since then Einaudi has released Divenire (2006), an album characterized by increasingly luscious string arrangements and use of sampling technology (listening to the title track will give you a good feel for the album).
In 2009 Einaudi released Nightbook. From the first minor chord of the track In Principio it is clear that this is a significant development in his music. The energy given to the title track by the repetitive string quaver pattern and the disturbing undercurrent to Eros means that the music taste of the “home counties” must have come a long way if this is the music that is played as a backdrop to everyday life.