Review Summary: rather alluring, when it explores beyond its usual reach
Right from its start, Nightbook
delivers emotionally sympathetic compositions, expressing themselves in Einaudi's typical melancholic and deeply affecting fashion as opposed to an overly joyful approach. Even his up-tempo pieces ask listeners to think deep and soul search. Similar to how soundtracks draw dormant emotions from scenes on screen, Nightbook
aligns with listeners' lives, bringing out personal feelings and reactions strong enough to blind. Masked with emotion, Nightbook
radiates tremendous quality and impression, however its pieces - packaged so pretty - just seem that way, their elegant exteriors hiding regrettably underwhelming interiors.
At first, Nightbook
exudes delicacy and dynamism. Einaudi consciously stays away from harsh melodies and almost always employs elegant musical articulation (legato, dolce, etc.). Although he does pay attention to dynamic diversity, Einaudi keeps dynamics from ever becoming exceedingly soft, which might veer into boring territory, or too loud, which could bring about a feeling of abrasion. Contributing to dynamic boundaries, Einaudi positions his instrumental elements always around piano, never allowing synthetic elements, which do account for a few cool outcomes - adding an atmospheric dimension that's uncommon in Einaudi's work, to let themselves go in order to truly impact, and pack a punch. Piano constantly controls any directions taken, which only fuels [/i]Nightbook[/i]'s confined feel.
This, however, is not Nightbook
's most prominent shortcoming. That's overused melodies and unvaried harmonies. Fast and intricate melodies can gain their own interest, but slower, undeveloped melodies need robust harmonies to accompany them. Nightbook
has neither. Opening composition “In Principio” revolves around an unambitious cyclical four-beat melody that uses slightly different rhythmical variations. Einaudi occasionally changes longer quarter and half notes for sixteenth or eighth notes for "pizzazz." Either way, they don't accomplish intended melodic complexity, and whispering atmospheric synths, which join them, add nothing by way of harmony. Eventually, left-hand piano enters, but instead of harmonizing, another melody takes over, playing arpeggiated chords that shift from G sharp minor to G major as right-hand sustained chords play. Although beauty exists in simplicity, “In Principio” lacks nuances needed to carry this kind of simplicity; it just drags with no surprises awaiting. Second composition “Lady Labyrinth” picks up a bit, but its melody has even fewer variations than “In Principio.” Both a mechanical melody and scant left-hand contribution fail harmonic development. That said, I think “Lady Labyrinth” might benefit a lot from different chord progressions, so that it mustn't rely on a poignant horizontal melody.
After "Lady Labyrinth," Nightbook
keeps on predictably with anticipated melodies and wanting harmonies predominating. Einaudi, however, pleasantly surprises on “Snow Prelude No. 2,” which is unexpectedly gorgeous. This lovely prelude's melody consistently returns to a guiding motif, but never falls privy to cyclical patterns that normally weed their way into Einaudi's pieces. In addition, this composition forms vibrant images in my head, reminding me of waking up and looking out my window, downright euphoric to see snow-covered streets and rooftops. Then, another unexpected gem makes itself known, “The Planets.” This composition might not appeal to everybody, but a spacey sound combined with actual spaces between "The Planets" color this composition captivating, demanding strict listening, which's normally unnecessary for Einuadi's pieces.
At length of listening, it's knowing
that detracts from Nightbook
; knowing that most songs won't be bad or particularly good. Even though Einaudi seems to fundamentally understand his individual visions for each of his albums, all of them, even if divided and rearranged would always sound similar. Still, Nightbook
's rather alluring, when it explores beyond its usual reach.