CD Review: Underwater (Decca, 2022)

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Underwater
Ludovico Einaudi, composer and pianist
Decca, 2022

This is Ludovico Einaudi’s first original solo piano project in close to 20 years. Born in 1955, this notable Italian keyboardist and composer is best known for his film scores, but the pandemic allowed him to return to his instrument full time. He has now emerged from the lockdown with 12 new works, the title track Underwater being, in his words, a metaphor of sorts, or an expression of a very fluid environment untainted by external influences. Bearing this in mind, the music seems to have been conceived for undivided listening. The prevalence of slow tempos draws in the listener, gently rocking him or her in the process, the mood heightened by repeated patterns, its ethereal effect enhanced by added reverb. On the flipside, however, the program lacks diversity: hats off, for example, to anyone who can immediately distinguish one track from the others. Of the tracks, the fourth (Flora) stands out the most because of its homophonic rhythm and accelaration of tempo;  Swordfish and Wind Song (tracks 7 and 8) also offer some interesting excursions into minor modalities. Einaudi fans, I am sure, should be won over by now.

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About Author

Justin Bernard est détenteur d’un doctorat en musique de l’Université de Montréal. Ses recherches portent sur la médiation musicale, notamment par le biais des nouveaux outils numériques, ainsi que sur la relation entre opéra et cinéma. Membre de l’Observatoire interdisciplinaire de création et de recherche en musique (OICRM), il a réalisé une série de capsules vidéo éducatives pour l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Justin Bernard est également l’auteur de notes de programme pour le compte de la salle Bourgie du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal et chargé de cours à l’Université de Sherbrooke. Par ailleurs, il anime une émission d’opéra et une chronique musicale à Radio VM (91,3 FM).

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