music of composer/pianist Ludovico Einaudi has been described as minimalist,
classical, ambient, contemporary and deeply touching… the welcome sound of
stillness in a hectic world.
Week after week, his hauntingly beautiful and evocative music has kept him among the best-selling and most requested recording artists (in the UK and Italy in particular).
Born in Turin, the pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi trained at the Conservatorio in Milan, then continued his studies under the guidance of Luciano Berio.
Einaudi’s music began to assume its own unmistakeable character towards the end of the 1980s, as he absorbed elements derived from popular music. Around this time he first became involved in collaborative ventures in theatre, video and dance. These included compositions for the ballets Sul filo d’Orfeo (1984), The Wild Man (1990) and The Emperor (1991); Time-out (1988), a dance-theatre performance created in conjunction with the writer Andrea De Carlo and staged in Italy, Japan and the United States by the American ISO Dance Theatre company; Salgari (Per terra e per mare) (1995), an opera/ballet commissioned by the Arena di Verona with texts by Emilio Salgari, Rabindranath Tagore, Charles Duke Jr, first performed at the Arena with choreography by Daniel Ezralow and sets by the American Jerome Sirlin; and E.A. Poe (1997), conceived as a sound track for films from the silent era.
Einaudi latest album, Una Mattina, has been released in 2004 for Decca.
The album Le onde (1996, BMG), was a turning point in Ludovico Einaudi’s career – his first real work as a soloist. It is true that Stanze (1990) had included 16 of his compositions, but they had been performed by Cecilia Chailly, one of the first musicians to take up the challenge of the electric harp. With Le onde, Einaudi put together a cycle of ballades for piano (performed by the author) inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves, in which the waves are a symbol of life itself. The recording was released a couple of years later in the United Kingdom, eventually receiving acclaim from general public and critics alike, with a little help from Classic FM.
The long-awaited sequel arrived in 1999. Entitled Eden Roc (BMG). “In a way, it explores in greater depth the themes raised in my earlier works, Stanze and Le onde. It takes a stage further the experiment of defining a kind of suite, creating shorter pieces, akin to instrumental songs, but always linked to an overall project.” Eden Roc is a recording with obvious ‘inner tensions’, less static and freer than earlier works. Einaudi collaborated with the Armenian Djivan Gasparijan, a past master of the duduk (a kind of small oboe made of apricot wood) “to emphasise the popular (and traditional) roots of areas such as the Caucasus or the Balkans, which are more closely connected than one would think with the Mediterranean”.
The end of 2001 saw the release of I Giorni (BMG) – a dozen pieces for solo piano, composed as deliberate snapshots of the creativity of a musician who has achieved full freedom of expression. They constitute “a kind of musical thinking process and/or a spiritual piece of embroidery”, inspired by his travels in Africa. “One day, a little while ago, during a trip to Mali, I was travelling by car with a friend, Toumani Diabate, a virtuoso performer on the kora (the typical Malian harp), when suddenly I heard the most enchanting music. An ancient melody from the thirteenth century. When I got home and was making my new recording, I began to improvise with that sweet, melancholy music in mind, and so I fought off my nostalgia for Africa.”
This was the genesis of an album involving a long process of reflection. (“When I compose, I need to improvise,” explains Einaudi, “but also to meditate for a long time on what I am writing. I progress on two apparently antithetical levels: I create a great diversity of styles then, at a later stage, I review it all with a rational ear.”). The result was yet another performance of great emotional intensity, quite unconnected with the concept of a sound track.
“Five years after Le onde, I
again decided to create a solo work for piano; after experimenting with various
things, I wanted to get back to the solitary dimension. It is a kind of suite of
pieces in the form of an instrumental song. Although each piece has a meaning of
its own, they are linked by a general idea of musical accountability and by
melodic, thematic and harmonic references. You need to listen to the whole album
to get the full message.”
For Einaudi, it is now a time to take stock: “About ten years ago, after many years composing for various instrumental groups, I began to feel a desire to play my own music in live settings. Being restricted to writing in isolation in a studio seemed too abstract and distant a way of working. I felt the need for a more immediate relationship with both music and audience. I needed to check out personally the meaning of what I was doing, find a direct channel of communication with the public, be at the centre of the magic and emotion that can be created only during a live performance. Basically, these were my reasons for beginning to do concerts, rather in the spirit of someone singing his own songs. In the piano, I have found a home that I feel I have built with my own hands, designing the rooms one by one and carefully choosing the materials and furnishings, with freedom to include the essence of all my past experiences and the things I have loved.”
Ludovico Einaudi also has an intense and fruitful career composing music for the cinema. He began with two films made by Michele Sordillo: Da qualche parte in città (1994) and Acquario (1996), for which he was awarded the Grolla d’oro for best sound track. He continued in 1998 with Treno di panna, the only film made by Andrea De Carlo. In the same year, he composed the sound track for Giorni dispari by Dominick Tambasco, then making his debut, while some extracts from Le onde (Le onde, Ombre and Canzone popolare) were included in Aprile by Nanni Moretti.
2000 was a breakthrough year. As well as collaborating with Antonello Grimaldi on Un delitto impossibile, he composed the original sound track for Giuseppe Piccioni’s Fuori del mondo, a film nominated for an Oscar, for which, in 2002, Einaudi won the coveted ‘Echo klassik’ award in Germany.
Einaudi’s collaboration with Piccioni was repeated the following year with Luce dei miei occhi, judged as having the best sound track at the 2002 Italian music awards. He also composed the music for Francesca Comencini’s Le parole di mio padre and Maria Iliou’s Alexandria, both of which were released in 2001.
2002 will be remembered for the sound track of Zhivago, a television film based on Boris Pasternak’s famous novel, which was directed by Giacomo Campiotti, produced in the United Kingdom and broadcast all over the world.
It is worth mentioning that La linea scura (a piece from Le onde) is included in the sound track of Fame chimica, a film made independently in Milan in 1993 by Paolo Vari and Antonio Bocola. Einaudi’s most recent sound track, for Roberto Andò’s Sotto falso nome, came out at the beginning of 2004 and won the prize for Best Filmscore at the Avignon Festival in France.
Echoes The Einaudi CollectionEden Roc
Fuori Dal MondoI Giorni
La Scala: ConcertLe Onde
Le Parole Di Mio Padre
Le Prix Du Desir
Luce Dei Miei Occhi
Sotto Falso Nome
Ludo on TV - Oltremare -
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