Ludovico Einaudi – Underwater
World-famous and highly popular pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi has been consistently at the top of classical music charts worldwide. The maestro has authored the scores of many Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning films – recently The Father and Nomadland.
The exquisite Underwater is Einaudi’s first solo album in 20 years and was written during lockdown. The artist describes the work as a place he could “swim” in freedom, without the intrusion of thinking or the stress of on-the road-performing: “I didn’t have a filter between me and what came out of the piano; it felt very pure.” The record’s title is a metaphor, “an expression of a very fluid dimension, without interference from outside,” and the inspired cover art is his own. For his Underwater tour in March, Einaudi will be performing live in London – his first concert in the UK in three years.
Peaceful first track Luminous invokes an early morning walk through the countryside. It is followed by Rolling Like a Ball, with a gliding, rhythmic melody that might elicit an image of children playing by a river. With its intriguing distinctly alternating sections, it seems to be telling a story.
Indian Yellow’s gentle piano licks are moody and soulful, while the initial solemnity of Flora transitions to a captivating, flowing refrain, followed by an increase in tempo, becoming more dynamic, creating anticipation, then softening.
Like a summer breeze, Natural Light is wistful, philosophical – then with undulating chords wakes up, becoming alive. Like a harmonious fusion of folk melody and a child’s nursery rhyme, the lovely Almost June surprises with a scintillating stanza, evoking sparkling stars.
Swordfish is introspective, bringing to mind an inner monologue. Combining a touch of Baroque and a hint of Mozart, it recalls a muted version of the theme from the classic film The Go-Between. The slightly surreal Wind Song’s powerful deep keys are in counterpoint with high chords, followed by echoing notes and gorgeous transitions to cascading tones. Richly dramatic, the piece is vaguely ghostly and might be a score for a romantic thriller.
Opening with a bucolic serenity, then brooding base tones, Atoms deftly incorporates low chords and rippling mid-notes in a form of duet. Temple White’s strong hybrid tones undulate and flow, evoking a river or tranquil ocean waves with sunlight reflecting on the water, and culminating in a rising tempo like the crest of a wave.
Nostalgic, expressing quiet happiness, the tender keyboard intonations of Nobody Knows project the carefree innocence of a child’s perspective. And finally the title track’s simple, grave and unusual notes convey calm and deep contemplation.
Characterising music as “pure emotion” the virtuoso likens writing Underwater to “inner poetry” and compares composing on the keyboard to reading a poem to a friend. The result is superb – eloquent, graceful, serene and thought-provoking, this exquisitely conceived and composed work is unadulterated joy.
Underwater is released on 21st January 2022. For further information or to order the album visit Ludovico Einaudi’s website here.
Watch the video for Luminous here: