Ludovico Einaudi trained in composition at the Milan conservatory and studied with Luciano Berio. Since then his compositional style has moved somewhat; he composes music which mixes ambient, minimalism and contemporary pop. His new album, Nightbook, is based around his own piano playing though the disc also features the cello playing of Marco Decimo and the viola of Antonio Leofreddi.
I previewed a copy of the album, reviewing 5 tracks on download from Decca (Lady Labyrinth, Nightbook, Indaco, Eros, Reverie). Though his music is billed as being ambient and meditative, there is something rather strongly dynamic about the music on these tracks. Though he uses the techniques of minimalism, so that the musical figures are repetitive and the musical argument often circular, they are combined with a muscularity of utterance which belies the ambient background.
Lady Labyrinth is quite piano heavy, being both rhythmic and dramatic, though drifting away towards the end. Nightbook starts in the same vein but has a gentler middle section and Indaco features the cello developing a melody. Eros is, rather surprisingly given the title, rather more nagging and buzzing, building to a strong climax and finally Reverie is a gentle piece with a long held cello line.
Though Einaudi's music, as heard here, is hypnotic there is something rather dramatic here which veers away from pure ambient; at times he reminded me of Keith Jarrett in more meditative mode.