David Ianni: ‘Adieu’

Selected & Reviewed by ANDREW EALES

New from Universal Edition, Adieu is a short and highly accessible solo piano piece by Luxembourgish composer and pianist David Ianni. Composed in homage to Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg following his death in April 2019, the piece is suitable for players at upper intermediate to early advanced level.

Let’s have a listen to the piece and take a quick look at the UE publication…

Who is David Ianni?

Presenting himself as a “musical ambassador for his home country, but also for the European Idea”, David Ianni is a classical pianist and the composer of more than 120 works, including compositions for the piano and sacred choral music.

Ianni has released several albums of his piano music, as well as two albums with the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz, which were awarded platinum status in Austria.

David is an official Steinway artist and his music is now exclusively published by Universal Edition. His music has been performed throughout Europe, India and Japan.

His 2018 album My Urban Piano drew particular attention when it spawned a series of nine music videos, produced in various different European Capitals of Culture. He has recently followed this with a new solo piano album, Farewell Prayers, which concludes with the composition Adieu.


Here is a video of the composer playing his Adieu:

In his introduction to the score, Ianni says,

“On 23 April 2019, Grand Duke Jean of Luxemburg died at the age of 98. Moved by this news, I composed Adieu, a musical homage to the beloved head of state in my country. The piece’s 98 bars begin with the grand ducal family’s anthem, the so-called ‘Wilhelmus’. At first, it is played in unison, before being repeated in canon with the left hand. After this prologue follows the main theme: a broad melody that expresses esteem and gratitude for the late Grand Duke. After the theme’s repeat in a solemn crescendo, we once again hear the ‘Wilhelmus’ before both melodies are combined in the closing section.”

Listening to the Farewell Prayers album, I was quite taken by Ianni’s fusion of classical piano sensibilities with a more contemporary popular composing style. I certainly found Farewell Prayers more interesting and appealing than much of the music currently being released in this “crossover” field.

The Score

Universal Edition’s score arrives with a striking, colourful cover, vividly printed on soft, textured card:

Inside, the score is printed on soft, off-white paper. There is an expected title page, short Preface in German, English and French, and the score itself takes four pages, completing this slimline book.

The notation itself is generously engraved in UE’s house font, and includes plenty of performance directions, but no suggested fingerings.

In terms of difficulty, Adieu would suit early advanced players (around UK Grade 6). The piece is written in the key of F sharp major; it includes legato octave melodic passages and requires frequent finger substitutions in the RH, as well as large stretches in both hands. Use of legato pedalling and a good control of balance are necessary throughout.

To Summarise…

David Ianni’s Adieu is a heartfelt and enjoyable miniature which could undoubtedly appeal to a very wide audience. If you enjoyed listening to it above, and can play confidently at the required level, I can wholeheartedly recommend UE’s beautifully presented score.

I hope that we might quickly see more fruit from the publishing relationship between UE and Ianni; while Adieu is a delightful piece on its own, the Farewell Prayer album includes many other highlights.

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Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a widely respected piano educator, published composer and author based on Milton Keynes UK.

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