With thirty-five years’ worth of musical masterpieces under his belt, you’d expect Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi to run out of melodious ideas pretty soon. But, yet again, he has blown us all away with his thirteenth album, Elements, which was released on 16th October. Since making it big in the music world, Einaudi has composed for many films and TV shows. When people have asked me in the past who this musician is, I have played them one of his pieces, to which they respond with, “Oh, that’s the song from This Is England!” or, “Oh, that’s the one they used in the trailer for Black Swan/Derek/BBC advert!” So yes, his music is very well-known, even if his name is not so much…
Einaudi claims his inspiration for Elements was all the elements of the world (fire, water, earth, air) with scientific elements as well as art and the history of world creation – very deep stuff. When you listen to the tracks on the album, you can see how well he has captured all of the different features. He uses a minimalistic approach, building layers of simple motifs and harmonies to portray the complicity of the world we live in.
Highlights of the album, for me personally, include the second track, Night. The combination of deep bass notes on the piano with the climbing melody give an uplifting feeling, and the gradual crescendo as the different string instruments build upon each other’s parts make me feel almost like I could do anything in the world. I think this is why this track is my favourite on the album.
Another track that I keep listening to again and again is Numbers. At the beginning, it is almost like a lullaby, very relaxing and simple. I feel this piece has a more modern sound: Einaudi still uses piano and strings, but electronic instruments can also be heard. I’m unsure as to how the title fits in, but then I suppose the range of instruments used, variety in musical themes and how busy the piece is at its climax reflect how many different functions numbers can have and the sheer size of their role in everyday life.
If there was any track I would have to pick as my least favourite, it would be the title track, Elements. To me, it doesn’t sound as ‘Einaudi’ as the rest…it is heavier than the rest, seeming almost angry. Strings play a vital part, and I think part of the reason it is not one of my preferred tracks is that I miss the piano.
One piece that should be highlighted is Song For Gavin. A few weeks ago, Einaudi told the Mic that this was written for his friend, Gavin Clark, a British musician. Sadly, Clark passed away recently, and upon hearing the news of his death, Einaudi decided to write something in remembrance, but also so that people could learn Clark’s name and therefore his music. This piece is purely piano, which reflects Einaudi’s personal connection to the music. You can hear his emotion in the way he performs this track, making it extremely moving, but most of all beautiful.
I would recommend this album to everybody. I don’t know many people who claim to be fans of classical music, but Einaudi proves with this album and his others that it can be just as touching, as emotional and as interesting to listen to as any of the chart music today.
By Erica Halley