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Ludovico EINAUDI (b. 1955)
Primavera [6:43]
La Nascito Delle Cose Segrete [5:05]
I due fiumi [5:53]
In un’altra vita [5:56]
Giorni dispari [6:36]
Elegy for the Arctic [3:09]
Passaggio [5:19]
Le Onde [4:48]
Fly [4:32]
Bella Notte [5:26]
Password [5:00]
Nefeli [4:22]
I Giorni [6:47]
Una Mattina [3:40]
Questa Notte [3:57]
Michael van Krücker (piano)
rec. 2017, Helix-Audio, Netherlands
ETCETERA KTC1611 [79:01]

Einaudi’s status as a popular ‘easy listening’ composer has inspired the inevitable contempt of the snooty brigade. The constricted dynamics, harmonic simplicity and repetitive thematic nature of many of his pieces are part of an approach that succeeds in evoking sonorous simplicity. Many people can’t stand this. I rather like it.

It’s clear from Michael van Krücker’s exploration of some of Einaudi’s best-known piano pieces that he favours a more vertical approach to sonority, and that he has also been recorded in a riper acoustic than the composer himself in his BMG disc (74321 974622) which contains many of the same works. And Einaudi, as in so many composer-executant performances, tends almost always to be the more direct performer, van Krücker lingering affectionately over the material where Einaudi presses ahead.

Interestingly this approach means that La Nascito Delle Cose Segrete, though faster in the composer’s reading, is the more overtly melancholy too. There is a world of distance between the composer’s I due fiumi and van Krücker’s heavier, richer, very relaxed, pedal-heavier reading. It goes to show that there are different and valid ways to approach Einaudi’s music and not everyone will share the composer’s tastes. I like BMG’s unreverberant recording as it allows the performer to speak more directly, devoid of a cloak of warmth that both enriches and sometimes blunts this new recording.

It’s hard to judge between the rival performances of that lovely piece Bella Notte and it’s good to hear something like Nefeli, which isn’t on every playlist when it comes to the composer’s music.

The trilingual booklet notes – which means that there are two pages on the music in each language – are brief but not cursory.

Van Krücker’s performances of these fifteen pieces are warm and expressive, honouring the Andante con moto element that makes up so many of the compositions; it’s just a question, really, of how con moto you like your Andante.
Jonathan Woolf



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