Ludovico Einaudi’s In A Time Lapse
Echoes March CD of the Month
Hear an audio version of this review with music in the Echoes Podcast.
Hear In a Time Lapse featured this weekend 3/8-10/2013 on Echoes.
You could pretty much stop listening to Ludovico Einaudi’s new album In a Time Lapse after the second track and that would be enough for a perfect CD. The piece is called “Time Lapse” and it’s a perfect sculpture of minimalist ostinatos and Arvo Pärt-like sustains, with ambient electronics hanging off the edges like shimmering specters. It’s one of those pieces, like Pachelbel’s “Canon,” that builds without ever resolving itself. And you don’t want it to.
If you do want resolution, go to the next track: “Life.” This is a surging cinematic foray that harkens back to earlier Einaudi compositions like “Divenire” with its grand crescendo and heroic cadence. It’s the kind of song that has put Einaudi at the top of the European charts.
Ludovico Einaudi is an artist who treads a delicate line. His music isn’t classical with a capitol “C” but neither is it classical-lite. He studied with Italian avant-garde icon, Luciano Berio and came of age during the age of minimalism. Because of those influences, his themes are emotionally charged without resorting to sentimentality. And unlike most classical composers, he uses ambience as part of his compositions, whether it’s quirky electronics, or the open spaces between notes. He actually lists a guy, Alberto Fabris, in the musicians’ credits for playing “reverb.” On the composition “Walk,” piano, celesta and kalimba glisten like distant stars glowing in a dark sky of viola and cello.
Of all the neo-classical contemplative solo pianists out there, Einaudi has the broadest range, and the most tightly controlled technique. Listen to the heart breaking pensiveness of “Discovery at Night,” one of two solo tracks, and you’ll realize that you can just toss out almost every other solo piano album you’ve heard lately. While most of them go for the rhapsodic sentiment, Einaudi, in just a few notes, taps right into the soul of emotion. You’ll find no better example of this than this video of his recent on-line live performance, playing all of In A Time Lapse solo. It’s 75 minutes long so it takes a minute or so to load.
Einaudi has often been called a minimalist composer, but that never seemed quite accurate. However, on In a Time Lapse, he employs many minimalist techniques: cyclical themes, loops and grooves lend his works a modal, spiritually introspective repose. Nowhere is that used to better effect than on “Newton’s Cradle.” It’s an epic track with insistent electronic ostinatos, shuddering electronic bass tones and ringing vibes, bells, and percussion creating a mood of tense apprehension.
For In a Time Lapse Ludovico Einaudi has pulled out all the stops, synthesizing a 21st century classicism that is all-embracing in its musical influences, and all-enveloping in its emotional sweep.
~John Diliberto ((( echoes )))