Ludovico Einaudi’s music continues to divide opinion, often derided by those whose preferred music is less accessible, while fêted by fans and adored by enthusiastic pianists, students and audiences around the world. And along the way, his music has perhaps nowhere found a wider (or more lucrative) embrace that in the movie theatre…
Cinema appeared as a CD album about a year ago, and features 28 of Einaudi’s memorable works from film and television, including tracks from the Oscar-winning ‘Nomadland’ and ‘The Father’. The sheet music folio from publishers Chester Music is now with us, the subject of this review, in which I will also consider a separate publication of the music from the Nomadland soundtrack…
Greatest Hits and Beyond…
In two senses, this new music book offers a “greatest hits” selection.
Firstly, it includes just 17 of the 28 tracks from the CD album rather than the complete selections, and secondly, most of this material has appeared in previous publications:
- Golden Butterflies
- Berlin Song
- Love Is A Mystery
- Main Theme from The Third Murder
- The Water Diviner
- Time Lapse
- Cold Wind Var. 1
- Histoire Sans Nom
- Due Tramonti
- Le Onde
- L’Origine Nascosta
For the early advanced pianist (around UK Grade 6-7), the teacher or more experienced player who wants to explore the music of Einaudi but isn’t sure where to begin, Cinema certainly offers a representative starting point that includes several classics alongside some lesser-known, contrasting music.
For completists, however, the pickings here are lean, although the Main Theme from The Third Murder has not to my knowledge appeared elsewhere.
The CD album features two previously unreleased recordings: the title track from Russell Crowe’s 2014 movie The Water Diviner, and My Journey from The Father. The sheet music publication includes The Water Diviner, but fans may be disappointed by the absence of My Journey.
Lastly, to the best of my knowledge appearing for the first time here, is the gorgeous Histoire Sans Nom, lifted from Einaudi’s lushly Barber-esque soundtrack to Roberto Andó’s film Sotto Falso Nome (the whole soundtrack should be required listening for all those who remain wilfully ignorant of the range of Einaudi’s work).
Most of the other pieces included in the collection have appeared both in their original album folios and subsequent anthologies, with many featured in the earlier Ludovico Einaudi Film Music piano collection available here.
‘Cinema’: the publication
The presentation of this keenly-priced new collection is generous. The 17 pieces are allowed to spread across 100 pages, cleanly engraved on quality white paper. The binding is stapled (unusually for a music book with this number of pages) but seems made to last and sits nicely on the music stand.
Neither fingering nor pedalling are included, and as is typical for Einaudi scores, performance directions are few. I would recommend using the score in conjunction with the original recordings; in some cases the standard notation doesn’t convey the voicing or rhythmic fluctuations which are so necessary for the successful realisation of Einaudi’s music.
A good example that illustrates this point: Due Tramonti needs to be studied in conjunction with the original audio (available on the Eden Roc album), or else the player (and teacher) will remain unaware of the regular pauses and spaciousness intended here, but not notated.
Somewhat frustratingly, the book neither lists the albums on which the pieces originally appeared nor the movies and TV shows in which they were used. It is interesting to reflect that some of these pieces were composed specifically to accompany film scenes, while others were selected from the composer’s previous works.
To the annoyance of some, Einaudi’s music remains difficult to categorise either within the classical canon or without it. On the evidence of this superb compilation, perhaps the classification “cinematic” will be agreeable to all.
Golden Butterflies and Petricor reappear in another recent publication from Hal Leonard: the soundtrack album from the Oscar-winner Nomadland.
They are joined in this 48-page folio by two more Einaudi pieces, as well as music by Ólafur Arnalds, Tay Strathriane and the song Answer Me, My Love, the famous Nat King Cole recording of which memorably appears in the film.
- Oltremare (Ludovico Einaudi)
- Golden Butterflies (Ludovico Einaudi)
- Epilogue (Ólafur Arnalds)
- Answer Me, My Love (Winkler/Rauch/Sigman)
- Dave’s Song (Tay Strathairn)
- Petrico (Ludovico Einaudi)
- Low Mist (Ludovico Einaudi)
A small anomaly is that the version of Low Mist included on the soundtrack and listed on the cover is from Day Three of Seven Days Walking, while the score within is listed as being from Day One and matches that version. Comparing the two on record however, there is little to distinguish them.
The original soundtrack also includes pieces by Donnie Miller, Paul Winer and Cat Clifford which are notably absent here. What remains is, however, certainly intriguing.
That this quirky mix of music made a significant contribution to the evocative ambience of this impressive film is undeniable. As a music publication in its own right, it will most likely appeal to fans of the movie who don’t own copies of these pieces elsewhere. It can easily be recommended to this target audience.
The book itself is tastefully presented with the film’s sombre image on the front cover, well-spaced and clearly engraved music within, all durably produced and again staple-bound.
In short, this is another quality product that is likely to bring much pleasure to pianists with a penchant for fresh, accessible contemporary piano music.
All products featured on Pianodao are independently selected by Andrew Eales.
However, when you buy something through the site’s retail links, Pianodao may earn a small commission, without affecting the price you pay.
Andrew’s essential handbook of practising tips:
PIANODAO includes more than 600 articles and reviews,
which are free for everyone, everywhere to access and read.
Please support the site by making a small donation.