Thursday, 27 June 2013

Review: Ludovico Einaudi, In a Time Lapse

Ludovico Einaudi has always been an artist that I could work to.  What I mean is, I struggle to find music that I can study to that doesn’t easily distract me and prevent me from being productive.  If I were to study to Buddy Holly, I would be unable to write more than a few sentences before jumping up and singing every word in a very embarrassing jam session… alone.  In contrast, Einaudi’s compositions form a perfect balance between relaxing and captivating.  Some are more subtle, such as “Divenire”, which is dreamy and some are more captivating, such as his beautiful performance of “Nuvole Bianche” with Alessia Tondo.  With this album, he has successfully continued to captivate his audience and create a stunning selection of new songs.

While attention spans are rapidly decreasing with each generation, it’s impressive when a composer is able to captivate as broad an audience as Einaudi has been able to do.  While I do recognize that he would be sorted into a “Top 40” category within classical music, his compositions still vastly differ from the music that a lot of his audience may typically listen to.  The sole criticism that I can propose for this album is that I feel he may be veering dangerously close to a “soundtrack”.  To be fair, I guess you can almost say that about any song and I would certainly not group him with the likes of Hans Zimmerman, for example.  I think this feeling emanates from the addition of a larger orchestra and a heavier inclusion of the violin.  I’m not sure I could pinpoint exactly why this makes me feel this way, but it feels as though some of the songs have been written for something, i.e. specifically for an emotional climax in a film.

If you’re just going to listen to one song off of this album, it has to be “Run”.  After listening to this album a few times through, this was the song that I stopped to put on repeat each time.  It is a resplendent symphony of piano and violin, which also features the I Virtuosi Italiani ensemble.  The first thing that I noticed about this album was how different it is to his previous work.  While “Run” is classic Einaudi, “Life” allows the glockenspiel and violin to take the lead and “Newton’s Cradle” includes chilling percussion and synthesizers.  These are just two examples from the album, but being an avid Einaudi fan for the past few years I can see a coming-of-age of sorts that I think separates this album from a lot of his previous work.  However, I was pleased that he chose to close the album with “Burning”, which sounds like a musical definition of why Einaudi has achieved such fame.  After the inclusion of so many other exhilarating instruments throughout the album, “Burning” is a consummate piece to finish In a Time Lapse with.

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