Years ago I got a cd from Harmonia Mundi USA, who distribute a lot of music on smaller labels. The label was Ponderosa and the artist was Ludovico Einaudi. It was called Divenire, Italian for “to become”. Einaudi is a famous name for Dolcetto d’Alba, a soft, luscious Italian wine, one that was invented by Ludovico’s grandfather. Ludovico wasn’t a household name at that time, but that quickly changed. I loved Divenire and handed it to another KCRW dj, Anne Litt, not knowing that she was looking for music for an NBA Finals ad campaign. She wound up using “Fly” and, although the juxtaposition would seem completely incongruous, it worked magically with the gravity-defying grace of the superstars doing their magic on the court.
Einaudi’s music works well with film and he’s already done some big soundtracks. Now he has a new cd, called “In a Time Lapse”, which debuted at #1 on the iTunes charts in 18 countries including the USA. He’s popular now! I think I was the first person playing him too!
His music has a gentle dissonance, is minimal in its use of repetition, the sound is soft but insistent and persuasive. It may remind some of Erik Satie or Philip Glass’ piano works. I’m sure they figure into his music, which is all written down and played from score. His arrangements for strings provide a wonderful backdrop to his piano playing. His music is in some ways a musical analog to “naive” painting.
His star is burning bright and no doubt you’ll be hearing more of his work in forthcoming films and ads. He also is touring the U.S. beginning May 16 and continuing in about 10 cities and concluding June 1st.
Here is one of the NBA features that used Ludovico’s song “Fly”:
and an Italian performance of the minimalist but gently hypnotizing piece: