By Selena Puente
Sometimes you hear a piece and it affects you so deeply that it grows around you like flowers or soft peat moss on a rainy day. The music of Ludovico Einaudi has this ethereal effect, and makes you want to wrap yourself in the music.
Whenever I listen to my most cherished album of his, “Divenire,” washes over me like a soft and lush soundscape, creating colors that had never graced my eyes before. Usually, whenever I listen to classical music, streams of pale yellow swerve alongside deep burgundies, and pale pinks mingle with bursts of baby blues that spot and blossom like hydrangeas. But Einaudi’s music added a brilliance behind all these colors and opened up a world where these colors built on top of structures.
The effect Einaudi’s music has had on me is best described by the renowned American composer, Aaron Copland: “My discovery of music was rather like coming upon an unsuspected city —like discovering Paris or Rome if you had never before heard of their existence. The excitement of discovery was enhanced because I came upon only a few streets at a time, but before long I began to suspect the full extent of this city.” Anyone who has been to Rome can understand this majesty. I guarantee you that this composer’s music has the power to open up these worlds in your mind if you let it in.
Einaudi’s 2006 release, “Divenire,” is an album that graces the world of modern classical music. The translation of the title reveals exactly what one can expect; in case you have not yet had the opportunity to sneak a couple of Italian classes into your schedule, “divenire” means “to become.” The album grows as a mix of piano and orchestra, and the element of becoming can be felt from one song to the next. If you just want a taste of this process, I recommend listening to “Primavera.” It translates to “Spring,” and although it bears a completely different character than Vivaldi’s “Spring,” I think it might be a better representation. The sprightly sixteenth notes of Vivaldi’s work and the unforgettable melody are sublime, but they also seem most at home when they are in the background at a tea party. But Einaudi’s “Primavera” captures the essence of Italia, and the listener imagines dark, dark dirt ( in italiano: sporcizia scura scura) and the thaw of winter melting, almost able to see rosy-cheeked Persephone ascending from the Underworld to be reunited with the loving arms of Demeter.
If you want a purely practical reason to listen to Einaudi’s music, I can at least guarantee that listening to it in traffic will relax you, and possibly perk your overall spirit. After all, music has an innate power to “soothe the savage beast,” and Einaudi’s music does this splendidly.
Recommended Albums: I recommend starting with “Divenire.” Einaudi gets more experimental as his career progresses, but I think this album is lush and unforgettable. My favorite tracks are “Primavera,” “Andare,” and the title track “Divenire.”
For fans of: Philip Glass, Explosions in the Sky, and Brian Eno.