Best Einaudi Songs: 10 Works by the Minimalist Pianist and Composer
January 25, 2022, 3:38 p.m. | Updated: January 25, 2022, 4:04 PM
Einaudi is known for his simple yet hauntingly beautiful minimalist works for the piano and his stunning film music. Here are some of the best music he has written so far.
Ludovico Einaudi is an Italian composer and pianist. He was born on November 23, 1955 in Turin and studied music at the Conservatories of Turin and Milan.
He perfected his art and experience with two legends of 20th century avant-garde composition: Luciano Berio and with Karlheinz Stockhausen.
He composed many works for ballet, stage and screen, and in 1982 he won a scholarship to the Tanglewood Music Festival. This is where he comes into contact with new trends in American minimalist composition. He had quickly embraced the style and ethos of the genre, developing his now instantly recognizable minimalist voice.
In 1992, he released Stanzewhich he describes as “a journey to the essential, in search of maximum intensity with the bare minimum”, an album of harp music on which he collaborated with harpist Cecilia Chailly.
Four years later, Einaudi continues with his first solo album, The wave, which attracted international attention. Here are some of his other great works to date.
Read more: 11 of the most relaxing piano pieces
A lesser known Einaudi piece, Stanze is a 16-movement piece for harp, recorded for the first time by Italian harpist and composer Cecilia Chailly. The two musicians have collaborated to create a work that they describe as “a journey to the essential, in search of maximum intensity with the bare minimum”.
It’s minimalistic and beautiful, with each movement representing a different room (“stanza”) in the same house.
The Wave (1996)
The wave was Einaudi’s first solo album, and the first to carry his name worldwide.
Inspired by the stories of English literary great Virginia Woolf, it’s the first collection to truly demonstrate the Italian minimalist master’s ability to aspire to beautiful simplicity – choosing harmonious touches, wrapping pretty note patterns around them and repeating them to the point of extreme calm.
The title song The wave (‘Waves‘) is melodious and contemplative.
Eden Rock (1999)
This turn-of-the-decade gem is named after hotels and regions of the same name and contains music that would later be used in the 2006 film, It’s England.
The album’s strings are played by Quartetto David and Djivan Gasparyan appears playing the duduk, an ancient Armenian double-reed instrument.
I Giorni (2001)
With the I Giorni collection, Einaudi captures very well the strength of The wave and runs with it. Or, more accurately, gently floats. ‘I Giorni’ means ‘The Days’ and was inspired by a trip the composer made to Mali.
In 2011, broadcaster Greg James played the title track on mainstream radio, and it entered the UK charts at No. 32 on June 12 of that year.
Doctor Zhivago (2002)
Einaudi’s music has featured in many films. Einaudi composed the score for the 2002 film adaptation of Doctor Zhivago.
He composed an incredibly beautiful and moving soundtrack for Boris Pasternak’s 1957 epic novel.
In his 2006 collection, Einaudi expanded his piano sonic world and embraced the full power of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra when recording.
Highlights of to becomewhich means ‘to become’, include the title track, and the monumental and moving ‘Primavera’.
Book of Night (2009)
In 2009, Einaudi released his album night book. The composer himself rightly describes the project as a nocturnal work, one that “casts the piano like a shadow, in all directions”.
The piece ‘Nightbook’ itself is idiosyncratically Einaudi – decidedly simple and repetitive, yet deeply poignant.
The Water Diviner (2014)
The water diviner is an Australian film, directed and starring Russell Crowe, which follows a desperate Australian farmer who travels to Turkey just after World War I to find his three sons who never returned.
Einaudi’s original music for the film is typically piano-driven and minimal, evoking both the landscapes and the deep emotion of the plot it accompanies.
Seven Days of Walking (2019)
In 2019, Einaudi embarked on an ambitious project to release seven albums in seven consecutive months, and the exquisite Seven days of walking was completed in September.
The seven albums of music of sublime beauty and meditative calm were inspired by a winter walk in the Alps.
In January 2022, Einaudi released their first full solo piano album in over 20 years. A true pandemic passion project, Submarine was born out of free-thinking and the lack of time pressure granted to the composer by confinement.
Einaudi described the making of the album: “It came naturally, more than ever before […] I had no filter between me and what came out of the piano; it was very pure. The title Underwater is a metaphor, it is the expression of a very fluid dimension, without outside interference.