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Ludovico EINAUDI
Eden Roc: Eden Roc [2.24]; Yerevan [3.19]; Eden Roc [4.56]; Fuori dalla notte [4.52]; Due tramonti [4.11]; Nefeli [5.47]; Ultimi fuochi [4.04]; Giorni dispari [5.13]; Julia [4.58]; Fuori dal mondo [4.56]; Ultimi Fuochi II [1.29]; Un monde a parte [4.06]; Password [4.30]; Yerevan II [1.43]; Exit [5.53];
I Giorni: Melodia Africana [2.17]; I due fiumi [4.21]; In un’altra vita [5.20]; Melodia Africana II [2.07]; Stella del mattino [2.13]; I Giorni [5.59]; Samba [4.14]; Melodia Africana III [4.23]; La nascita delle cose segrete [4.23]; Quel che resta [4.22]; Inizio [3.27]; Limbo [4.28]; Bella notte [5.14]; Canzone Africana IV [7.32];
Le Onde: Canzone populare [0.57]; Le onde [4.55]; Lontano [4.49]; Ombre [5.23]; La linea scura [4.53]; Tracce [3.57]; Questa notte [5.10]; Sotto Vento [7.02]; Dietro l’incanto [4.46]; Onde corte [3.22]; La profondita del buio [3.52]; Passaggio [4.46]; L’ultima volta [4.24];
Stanze: Notte [4:21]; Calore [3:40]; Moto [2:25]; Calmo [4:33]; Vega [4:33]; Onda [4:02]; Contatti [3:14]; Respiro [3:59]; Lento [3:49]; Attesa [3:29]; Cadenza [3:09]; Orbite [3:20]; Moto perpetuo [2:34]; Cerchio [1:53]; Ritorno [2:23]; Notte [4:19];
Ludovico Einaudi, piano (Eden Roc, I Giorni, Le Onde), Cecilia Chailly, harp (Stanze), Djivan Gasparian, duduk (Eden Roc), Quartetto David – Mauro Loguericio, Gabriele Baffero, Antonello Leofreddi, Marco Decimo (Eden Roc), Ricky Maja, guitar (Eden Roc), Franco Feruglio, double bass (Eden Roc)
Rec. Piccolo Teatre Studio, Milan 1999 (Eden Roc); Villa Giulini, Briosco, October 2001 (I Giorni); Villa Giulini, Briosco in June 1996 (Le Onde); Studi Mondial Sound, Milan, Iltaly in March 1990 (Stanze)
BMG RECORDS 82876660722[64.38, 60.24, 58.53, 55.47]

 

A four-disc set of works by the popular composer, Ludovico Einaudi, released as a limited edition set by Sony BMG. Two of these discs are for solo piano (performed by the composer), one for harp, and the final one for the more ambitious and exciting combination of piano and duduk, string quartet, guitar or double bass.

I started with the two piano ones – I Giorni and Le Onde, which contained a mixture of some of his better known pieces (Le Onde) and many that were to me completely unfamiliar. The first thing one could say is that these works are seriously "same-y" and extremely uninspiring. Some are uplifting, comforting and soothing, some more depressing and melancholic, and a very few head towards fierce and angry. Yet all are in exactly the same sound-world, scene-setting film-y type of music – mood music, I suppose - completely lacking in variation or inspiration. There isn’t really much of a melody even in each of the pieces – they are deeply monotonous, with gently shifting harmonies, more pleasant sounds than music. All are deeply somniferous and dreary.

After the first CD I was almost drifting into a contented coma-like state, yet at the end of the second piano disc I had re-awoken and was beginning to get deeply frustrated with the tedium and with the lack of invention of such mindless sounds. By the third CD (Stanze, with the harp – but exactly the same sound-world as the piano disc), I had devised a game. Putting the disc on my PC, I dragged the fast-forward bar a few inches further along on my screen, and discovered that seemingly wherever I dragged the bar, and however further forward I went in the track, the music at the new point blended seamlessly on from the old point, demonstrating so perfectly the complete lack of variation within tracks. A little development possibly, slightly more built-up chords, but still exactly the same notes and sounds continually throughout - quite incredible!

The fourth disc, Eden Roc, deeply excited me. Different instruments! New sounds! Some vestiges of life and animation! Yet the eponymous Eden Roc track, actually beautifully folk-y in air (could have been a folk melody), and more pop-y than the rest of the music, was the only truly lively and upbeat track on the disc. To be fair, there was more variety and interest on Eden Roc – the works with duduk were more atmospheric and appealing, and the Ultimo fuochi track was slightly more energetic and spirited, albeit subjected to the same unrelenting developmental treatment that each piece suffered.

Extremely simple, unpretentious and unaffected, this is very easy listening that requires no intellect or sense of musical appreciation. Just sit back, switch off, prepare to be numbed and sent into a deep slumbering state of relaxation, and enjoy the pretty sounds.

Em Marshall

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