Review Summary: Einaudi's most ambitious effort yet is a masterpiece in modern classical.
5 of 5 thought this review was well written
If the acclaimed classical composer Ludovico Einaudi ever had a weakness in his studio releases, it would have to be that some of his minimalist pieces bordered on dullness. Einaudi’s precise manipulation of rhythm and dynamics lends his melodically repetitive pieces their dynamism; consequently, some of his more subdued pieces, beyond their cursory beauty, add little to the album. Eliminating these understated pieces completely, In a Time Lapse instead focuses on driving dynamics, prominent violins, and underlying percussion to create Einaudi’s most purposeful work yet.
It may surprise some to find violin at the forefront at sections of a pianist’s record. Playing its own voicing, the violin supports the voice of Einaudi’s exacting piano melody, giving In a Time Lapse an almost Baroque-era feel without forcing Einaudi to sacrifice the right hand melody and left hand figured bass dynamic that he has perfected.The magnificent ‘Run’ begins with a minimalist, higher-register melody, which, backed by strings, continues gorgeously yet slightly ominously until the three minute mark, at which point the previously hissing violin takes the lead. Einaudi’s piano as support is absolutely perfect in helping to create perhaps Einaudi’s most momentous and pressing music yet. ‘Life’ draws in the listener with a glockenspiel introduction and then adds in piano before finally throwing a lead violin melody over these elements. The repetitive, crackling violin line about 2:45 fades into a tense landscape comprised of layers of string and a lead piano melody, which satisfyingly resolve into a glockenspiel-driven ending,
The increased focus on violin isn’t the only method by which Einaudi captivates the listener. The atmospheric ‘Orbit’ exhibits macabre circling arpeggios supported by unnerving xylophone and chilling violin to create Einaudi’s most frighteningly enthralling piece ever. Likewise, the backing percussion and morbid synthesizer of ‘Newton’s Cradle’ accelerate the song forward, with piano once again taking a backseat except for a brief respite about four and a half minutes in. In contrast, ‘Waterways,’ an atmospheric piece, contains layers of strings, each a tributary flowing into a river of sound, the piano the underlying current that drives the song forward into a cascade of emotions. Reminiscent of a piece off Divenire, ‘Experience’ sees piano and violin complementing each other as they alternate building to a huge climax with the faintest trace of percussion underneath.
In a Time Lapse finishes with the absolutely regal ‘Burning,’ which wordlessly describes beauty in destruction with the same grace and poignancy found in literary masterpieces like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It’s fitting that the album closes with this piano-driven track, the virtuoso returning to what made him famous. Einaudi has been self-described as a minimalist with pop leanings, but ‘Burning’ illustrates Einaudi transcending such a label. No longer do small snippets of Einaudi do his music justice; the natural crescendos and decrescendos, the accelerandos and the ritardandos, lend themselves to a fuller experience, one better suited for soundtracks than the latest NBA commercial. At the least, In a Time Lapse is a release that will undoubtedly solidify Einaudi’s place as one of the greatest pianists and composers of our era.
Absolutely fantastic release that just edges Divenire. I tried to avoid going the old
hyperbole route, opting instead of just a description of what makes it so great. No vague words like
"immense" or anything. 4.7/5
It's absolutely brilliant, but like I said in the review, it's definitely more soundtrack-y than his previous stuff. This means it's a bit less effective as study music and a little more demanding on your attention.
Check out Run if you want an example of how different it is from his earlier works. Burning is the best classic Einaudi on here, but basically anything nature-themed is the Einaudi of old as well.
But einaudi has always been perfect soundtrack music. His stuff is used continuously in This is England (and all of it's television sequels) to absolutely devastating effect. But yeah, I'm really looking forward to this now. Good review man
Haha I'm aware that his music has always been on soundtracks, and granted I haven't watched This is
England, but I've never felt his music has quite been soundtrack-y. Yeah it's used in soundtracks,
but not in the same sense that movie score composers specifically build their songs for a movie's
soundtrack. I'm not saying he's suddenly John Williams or Hans Zimmer, but he's a bit more in that
Take Nuvole Bianche. Fantastic song (and was on a soundtrack) that builds towards emotional
climaxes. But it's mainly been done with manipulation of dynamics, instead of tempo (though that
aspect is indeed there, it's a lot less pronounced). It's almost like a pop song in that regard. I'm
doing my best to explain but it's probably better you hear this for yourself. It'll do a way better
job explaining it, or maybe it'll refute everything I say. I'll leave that to your judgment .
Divenire's fantastic but nah. I'm 98% sure you didn't listen to this though so your opinion's a little
btw you're losing your 1337 cred baseline. This is the equivalent of pop for piano music. Shouldn't
you be listening to Dvorak or Beethoven? Maybe throw in some Liszt because dat complexity? Tatum?
"Wrong, I don't care about credibility, Ludovico Einaudi is my favorite pianist ever after Rachmaninoff."
Sweet, good choices. Love both Ludovico and Rachmaninoff. Check out Liszt if you haven't, he's one of my favorites too.
Yeah the violin's def. more prominent here. Like I said, I think it works fantastically, because the songs work towards a single climax more like post-rock. We can just agree to disagree. I'll agree that the violin is awful at the resolution of 'Experience.' It's so damn clunky... whoever the violinist is definitely didn't play that delicately enough.
Sterile? c'mon, this is like his least sterile stuff yet, even if you argue the violin makes it messy which we'll just disagree about.
But okay, opinions are opinions.
What's your favorite and least favorite on here?
I've tried on a few occasions to write about Einaudi, but always ended up with 'really amazing piano work', or something equally bland. The comparison with The Road makes me want to hear this right now. Really nice work. I'm glad he's gone for the more direct approach - never heard a track I disliked, but I find myself skipping tracks quite often.
"I think it's because our taste in music is amazing but I'm older so I get bored more quickly of everything."
Maybe. Either way, if you ever discover another modern era pianist who you really enjoy, be sure to let me know. It seems Ludovico's the only one who can manage to be accessible without sounding fake like Yiruma and Yann Tiersen (who are the first two who come to mind). Actually, despite playing tons and tons of piano as a kid, I'm not that great with classical composers, so really any composer would be cool with me.
"I've tried on a few occasions to write about Einaudi, but always ended up with 'really amazing piano work', or something equally bland."
This is exactly what my Una Mattina review is. It's so hard to describe some of his music, especially when there's nothing particularly complex about it. I did my best here to try to go into specifics about what I loved.
"The comparison with The Road makes me want to hear this right now. Really nice work. I'm glad he's gone for the more direct approach - never heard a track I disliked, but I find myself skipping tracks quite often."
I admit that this might not be a comparison you agree with. For starters, maybe it's McCarthy's prose, but I found everything about The Road to be beautiful. I don't know how conventional an opinion that is. The second thing is that it's really the title, "Burning," that made me view the closer in a different light completely. It is beautiful and melancholic, but I didn't connect the two until reading the title.
The second part I can agree with 100% though. That's always been my problem with his earlier stuff... great study music but almost a bit too subdued. If you don't mind the violin having a huge role, this is ace. Apparently some people (Baseline) don't like it, so I can't speak for you on that.
Yeah man, I knew it came out because the release date is my birthday, but it just slipped my mind and
I only listened to it a few days prior. Took me a while to make sense of the album. 'Run' is probably
the best thing here, but mostly everything here is great on some level.
I haven't heard of either of those two but I'll be sure to give them a listen. Are there any specific
tracks you think that show the essence of their writing?
It's an almost masterful amalgamation of Riley's particularly dense & electronic take on minimalism
with a more restricted piano/orchestra relation. The whole thing is meticulously crafted & shouldn't
take long to captivate you in its limpid beauty. I think the beeping isn't random as (imo) it
integrates itself nicely into its orchestral counterpart.
Give it some time; Sei is a fantastic composition and it's a shame Cacciapaglia decided to take a
different route for his subsequent, less formal, neoclassical/new-age works.
Some of his other stuff (with more views, incidentally) are a lot more new age and a lot less
ambitious. I actually enjoy those more, but admittedly they're no-effort releases. Sei seems like
something that you need to crack the exterior of to reap the benefits of its composition. I'll try
again later and hopefully I'll be able to appreciate it the way you do.
Going to listen to Rubino now. (EDIT) Quite enjoyed this one, but again it's a more easily digestible
piece than the other one.