I'd never run across the word 'alt-classical' until I laid eyes on the promo lit for Ludovico Einaudi's In a Time Lapse, but it's a cool term applying quite generously to the type of music the composer weaves. Think of a blend of Wim Wenders, Michael Nyman, Roger Eno, Philip Glass, Mike Oldfield, and musicians of smilar ilk all working on their mellowest sides, and you have a good idea of the terrain Time Lapse crosses. Einaudi specializes in adagios and largos, the sort of sound Barber, Albinoni, Pachelbel, Satie, Mompou, and a klatsch of distillers of richly invested understated beauty have become so known and distinctive for. Too, there's a decent percentage of magisterial upheaval, as in Life, which an unnamed promo lit writer embodied as a process that "builds drama and intensity, clarity of sound, and vibrant meaning". Quite so, but the wellspring of that is a deep quiet pool of emerald beauty not many are capable of working from.
Einaudi plays various keyboards, bass, guitar, and glockenspiel but also has experimented sufficiently with electronics and loops to sidle that kind of exotica subtly into his work. Discovery at Night, on the other hand, is a solo piano recital not too terribly far from some of Phil Glass' Solo Piano but without all the overtly hypnotic seriality. Delicate and ethereal, the song's nonetheless palpable and extends into Run, wherein the Orchestra I Virtuosi Italiani first slowly, warily, creeps in until raising up a full-blown environment. Orbits, however, may be the best example of tempering the two modes into a threnodic tension you don't want to see resolved, to instead have it extend for half an hour in Gavin Bryars fashion. Einaudi's music is fare for contemplation that every so often raises into exaltation, into a vivacity akin to awakening to a completely new sunset fraught with vibrating possibilities…but mostly it's music to think, reflect, and dream upon. Go ahead and dive into Glass' magnificent twangling and enneagramatic convolutions, but, when you want to come down from that high, when mind and body say "Enough! My heart's ready to burst!", then Ludovico Einaudi's the guy you're seeking.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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