In a world that is somewhat chaotic, it’s certainly a comfort to know that music such as this exists – it’s the wonderful Ludovico Einaudi featured in our Classical in Conversation this week!
Descended from a lineage of publishers, pianists and presidents (yes, presidents!), this Italian pianist and composer has been able to reach audiences far and wide with his classical creations, film features and frankly, piano masterpieces. Think of a flowing river, a compilation of memories, a drive through the countryside… anything that brings you peace and Einaudi just might be the soundtrack to that.
Classically trained at the Conservatorio Verdi, Milan, Einaudi began his career composing more traditionally classical works. His chamber and orchestral pieces amassed quite the reception and he began to receive international attention! He had studied with Berio, a composer famous for his experimental works, and for his brave steps into the world of electronics within the classical realm. Perhaps this was of some inspiration to Einaudi, for it wasn’t long before he himself took steps away from the classical ‘norm’, and into a world of influences from pop to rock to folk.
And so began his move into film music, which brought a great deal of praise in the form of prestigious awards! His work can be found in This Is England, The Intouchables (the biggest box office movie in French history, apparently!) and Doctor Zhivago, to name but a few. He also composed the trailer music for the Black Swan film, and had a song featured in Insidious. He managed to bag a Grollo d’oro, one of the oldest Italian film awards, for one of his film scores. Impressive, right?!
But on to what we are all undoubtedly waiting for (or at least, this is our favourite part!) – the incredible Einaudi solo works. Throughout his career, Einaudi has released a number of solo albums, we couldn’t possibly give them all an adequate review here! But there are certainly a couple that we’d like to mention.
First up, the 2001 I Giorni, a beautiful collection of compositions for piano capable of sweeping you off into another dimension. The title track “I Giorni” had quite the successful reception in the UK after radio DJ Greg James aired the piece on BBC Radio 1, stating that the track was a moment of calm through his university years. It actually entered the UK Singles chart at number 32! Not bad for a bit of classical piano, as we can probably all agree!
In 2004, Una Mattina was released, an album that we here at RSL have a particular connection to. Einaudi himself describes the album beautifully, saying that the songs are “linked together by a story”, but not a story from the past. He said:
“It speaks about me now, my life the things around me. My piano, which I have nicknamed Tagore, my children Jessica and Leo, the orange kilim carpet that brightens up the living room, the clouds sailing slowly across the sky, the sunlight coming through the window, the music I listen to, the books I read and those I don’t read, my memories, my friends and the people I love.”
One thing is for certain, we’d love to see that carpet!
But it was from this charming description that the track “Una Mattina” was born, and for that we are very grateful. Hypnotizing in its rhythm and melody, harmonically warm and reflective, this piece is truly stunning, and one that we had to include in our Debut Classical Piano syllabus. To bring music such as this to a beginner is nothing short of a joy!
Einaudi continues to capture the feelings of millions in his piano compositions today, and with almost 4.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, it’s clear to see the impact that his music is having. His latest compositions, released on the 15th January 2021, might just be the medicine we all need at the moment.
If you’re enjoying coming on this journey through the diverse and incredible set of composers featured in our Classical Piano syllabus, then be sure to stay tuned for next week, and of course, catch up on our previous blogs. We’ve got a wide range of composers to choose from: Alexis Ffrench, Germaine Tailleferre, Florence Price and Béla Bartok, to name a few!