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Einaudi was taught by the avant-garde Italian composer Luciano Berio, although the music for which Einaudi has become famous couldn’t be more different from that of his teacher.
Whereas Berio composed, in the main, very complex, challenging works, Einaudi’s solo piano pieces are like classical pop songs: all lasting no more than around five minutes, all with an introduction, verse, chorus and middle eight. he is often likened to composers such as Michael Nyman, Thomas Newman and Erik Satie, and it’s certainly fair to say that there’s something of the Gymnopédies about Einaudi’s most popular pieces.
Einaudi was inspired to compose I Giorni (‘The Days’) after hearing a twelfth-century folk song that originated in the country of Mali. The song describes the killing of a hippopotamus by a hunter, and the subsequent mourning in the local village. The entire album from which this song is taken (also called I Giorni) is one long lament, with each piece demonstrating Einaudi’s ability to compose utterly simple yet beguiling melodies.
I Giorni, released in 2002, was the first solo-piano follow-up to Le Onde, the disc that introduced the composer to British audiences and which became an almost instant hit on Classic FM.
Ludovico Einaudi (piano). Sony BMG: 74321 974622.
Illustration: Mark Millington