Ludovico Einaudi: Nightbook
As part of the album with the same name, Ludovico Einaudi’s Nightbook was composed in 2009. This work, and the album as a whole, highlighted a new direction that Einaudi was taking his music. As well as heavily featuring the piano, lots of these works also used synthesised sounds, a chamber string ensemble and percussion.
The new direction seemed to go down well, with Nightbook going Gold in Italy. Einaudi described this album as:
“A night-time landscape. A garden faintly visible under the dull glow of the night sky. A few stars dotting the darkness above, shadows of the trees all around. Light shining from a window behind me. What I can see is familiar, but it seems alien at the same time. It’s like a dream – anything may happen.”
The title track has since been used in the Channel 4 drama Any Human Heart.
Only two tracks on Nightbook use percussion to keep the music driving. Those are Nightbook and Lady Labyrinth. Nightbook also utilises strings, making it one of the most orchestrated works on the album. The piano patterns are repeated throughout, creating consistency and familiarity throughout – something that Einaudi does a lot in his music.
The use of percussion keeps the music moving along, with the strings adding slow-moving accompaniment to give the piano a good foundation to sit on top of. As the patterns become more intense, some of the strings become entangled with the piano, often with playful call and response figures.
The last minute or so of the work is the most intense, with the build of the final chords being repeated. This is the first proper variation of the main theme, which is why it packs such a punch where Einaudi has placed it. The piece ends peacefully with the ensemble coming to a gentle close.
Ludovico Einaudi’s Nightbook is a gentle work that is constantly pushed by the composer’s use of strings and percussion. The piano plays consistent patterns that add familiarity to the work, making it accessible and quite hypnotic to listen to.
Ⓒ Alex Burns
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