Monday, 13 February 2012

'Nightbook' - Ludovico Einaudi

Ludovico Einaudi
Born 1955
As a contemporary composer, it is obvious that Ludovico Einaudi is also an extremely talented pianist. As most of his compositions are for solo piano, his writing enables them to be easy on the ears, and easy on the hands. Although Einaudi himself has said that he would prefer not to be labelled as one particular genre, he is seen by most musicians as a minimalist. However, he distinguishes himself from this label with his sparse orchestral arrangements and memorable melodies. His music is mainly used in film scores such as ‘Insidious’, ‘Doctor Zhivago’ and television scores such as Top Gear. My favourite of his works is his album, ‘Nightbook’ (2009) and in particular, the titular track. This album actually saw Einaudi start to incorporate new synthesised sounds to his typical choice of piano and stringed accompaniment. Interestingly, in ‘Nightbook’ Einaudi uses the piano to emphasise the rhythm of the piece, which drives the rest of the music to the very end. Elements of the piece such as the off-beat accents in the repeated piano ostinato, repetition of the piano’s phrases by the strings and the constant ominous sound of quavers in the accompanying cello create an atmosphere of extreme tension. In the middle of the piece, Einaudi creates a resolution to the tension created in the introduction by switching the tonality to major, and stripping the accompaniment to a mere shaker and viola. However, we see the return of the introductory theme with added decoration from all of the instruments, climaxing to a satisfyingly grand, major finish. For me, Einaudi is the master of atmospheric contemporary music.

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