Ludovico EINAUDI (b. 1955)
The Calm of Einaudi
Stella del mattino
Rose; In Un'Altra Vita
La nascita delle cose segrete
I Due Fiumi
Come Un Fiore
Resta Con Me
I Giorni; Leo
Melodie Africana IV (excerpt)
Christine Rayner (piano)
rec. Toad Row Studios, UK, 5 July, 1 August 2011
CD booklet notes in English only
ATTUNED HEART RECORDS AHR001 [63.14]
Ludovico Einaudi has often been referred to as a “modern classical” composer. This presumably means that he writes in a style similar to that of the great composers of the Classical Period, like Mozart or Haydn. Other times, I have heard people describe him as a Minimalist and a good example of that movement. Whether one or the other is a question of opinion or taste; however it is utterly irrelevant. The fact is that his music acts like a balm on a tortured soul. It is calming, soothing, lyrical and completely beautiful.
He was born in Turin, Italy in a family that was not of musicians. His grandfather, Luigi Einaudi, was President of Italy and his father ran his own publishing company. It was his mother, who played the piano, who first influenced the young Ludovico and got him interested in music. Eventually he decided to become a full time musician. He studied first at Milan’s Conservatorio Verdi and then with no less than Luciano Berio.
According to Darren Henley, who wrote the notes for Einaudi’s Album Echoes - a collection of his best compositions - Einaudi’s musical influences are wide-ranging: from J. S. Bach through Mozart and Chopin to Manuel de Falla; and from the Beatles through Bob Dylan to U2 and Radiohead. Many of his pieces have also been inspired by literary works, songs or folk tunes from all over the world. This diversity of inspirational sources makes his music so appealing to almost anybody, independent of taste, knowledge or background.
The works in the current CD, The Calm of Einaudi, are - perhaps uncommonly - not performed by the composer himself but this is not an ordinary recording. It is a work of love and dedication to a cause: that of offering a few minutes of peace and relaxation to cancer sufferers and their families during their terrible battles with the disease. It will raise financial help for cancer charities and much needed cancer research.
Christine Rayner, the pianist who performs Einaudi’s works in this recording, is herself a survivor of breast cancer. She has a website dedicated to supporting people with similar problems, called Brave Amazons, and has also written a book describing her own experience with the disease.
Rayner is not a virtuoso pianist nor does she attempt to become one with this work. She did not record this CD to showcase her artistry with the piano but to “…offer the listener a restful hour of peace, calm and relaxation”, as she herself says in the notes. This she fully achieves. The album is a compilation of well-known compositions for solo piano by Einaudi taken from his large and diverse body of work, created over more than a decade. Ms Rayner has a slightly different approach than the composer. She increases the tempi a little and her playing is less poetic. Even so her delight in the music is obvious and more than compensates for the minor technical flaws.
Einaudi’s performance of his own works is, as one would expect, technically more accomplished than that of Ms Rayner. Naturally he is also more lyrical and introspective, as he is emotionally involved with his creations. What Rayner manages to produce here is a personal, loving and captivating interpretation. It is obvious throughout but especially in the first two pieces, Nuvole Bianche (White Clouds) and Le Onde (The Wave) how much Rayner feels the music and what an important role it plays in her life. She says in the booklet notes that “the calming influence of many of Einaudi’s works creates for me a sanctuary in which the stresses of daily life have no place.”
Finally, this CD does exactly what it sets out to do: to lift the spirits of those in need through simple but beautiful melodies. It provides not only an hour of serenity and peaceful harmony but is also in aid of a very, very worthy cause. We are assured that at least £1 per copy sold will be Gift-Aid donated to UK Cancer Charities. Donations from sales will also go directly to help fund Professor Roy Bicknell’s research into alternative treatments to chemotherapy.
Margarida writes more than just reviews, check it online at http://www.flowingprose.com/
Lifts the spirits of those in need … an hour of serenity and peaceful harmony.