Passaggio, Lavinia Meijer's first release on Sony, is an album of the crossover music of Ludovico Einaudi, an Italian composer and pianist who encouraged the Dutch harpist to record some of his most popular pieces. The playing on this 2013 album is highly polished and appealing, and Meijer demonstrates considerable powers of concentration and precision in performances of her harp transcriptions of Einaudi's keyboard music. Some will find Meijer's renditions emotionally communicative and mood enhancing, and most of the credit for their effectiveness belongs to her, because Einaudi's modal harmonies and conventional patterns tend toward a bland prettiness, or pretty blandness, that's all of a piece. Simple melodies and repeated arpeggiated chords have the instant attraction of minimalist music, and simplicity is often a virtue in the proper context. Sony's recording is clear and close-up, and Meijer has presence in a fairly resonant studio space.
One of those composers whose name you might not be instantly familiar with, but whose music you certainly will be, Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi has been captivating audiences for the best part of two decades with his beautifully delicate and minimal arrangements, many of which have gone on to become soundtrack staples for everything from costume dramas to TV adverts to Hollywood films. Celebrating his increasingly popular output, Islands: Essential Einaudi compiles the Milan Conservatory graduate's most recognizable pieces, with material from his first solo piano record, Le Onde ("Questa Notte"), right up to 2009's synth-based Nightbook (the gothic cello-led title track), alongside a brand new composition, "The Earth Prelude."
The reassuring calm that descends on Day 3 of Ludovico Einaudi’s mountain walks continues to Day 4. “Low Mist,” whispering, gently pulsing, throws off its last vestiges of anxiety, while the bite of the “Cold Wind” has been blunted. The inner peace for which Einaudi searches is surely within reach. But life is never that simple. The wind, although softer, still whistles plaintively through the trees in “Matches,” while Einaudi’s “View From the Other Side” has an air of nostalgia. The subtlety of Seven Days Walkingis its complexity: Einaudi’s continually shifting musical perspectives and emotional openness are both fascinating and heartwarming.