Experience: The Ludovico Einaudi Story
19.08.2021, by Luca Testoni
A podcast recorded entirely in English offers a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes of Ludovico Einaudi’s music, and the reasons for his international success.
«Space is what Ludovico gives you with his music. He allows you to go wherever you want, because his music is in itself space».
New Zealand actor-director Russell Crowe, who chose Einaudi to write the score for his directorial debut “The Water Diviner”, is not the only artist to express admiration for the “maestro”. His words, and those of many others, are now gathered in the compelling podcast “Experience: The Ludovico Einaudi Story”.
A podcast recorded entirely in English, about two hours long and divided into three parts (“Ascent”; “View From The Other Side”; and “Solo”), in which Ludovico Einaudi talks about himself, his family, his most significant friendships (from Italo Calvino to Luciano Berio); a podcast offering an interpretation of the reasons behind the international success of Ludovico’s trademark music: minimalistic yet accessible piano compositions that are able to convey emotion and a strong sense of peace to millions of listeners around the world.
The narrating voice is provided by Joe Dempsey, the British actor seen in “Game of Thrones”, as well as in the TV series inspired by “This is England”, Shane Meadows’ seminal movie on the themes of friendship and racism. Meadows himself was the first director to use pieces by Ludovico Einaudi for a movie score. Many followed his example: from Èric Toledano, who wrote and directed the French blockbuster comedy “The Intouchables” with Oliver Nakache, to Chloe Zhao, Oscar winner for “Nomadland” who discovered Einaudi by watching his “Elegy For The Arctic” video on YouTube, not to mention Florian Zeller, director of “The Father”.
«One day, while listening to Classic FM, I stumbled upon an instrumental piano piece I really loved. I thought it was perfect for my movie, but I didn’t know who the composer might be. Luckily I heard the same piece again on a taxi driver’s radio as we drove from the airport after a trip, and I found out it was by Ludovico Einaudi. What a relief. Yes, his music is relief», explained Meadows, who soon after his discovery joined Einaudi at the composer’s Milanese home, to flesh out the details of a score that would become a watershed moment in the Turin-born composer’s career.
And speaking of Classic FM, the same British station paved the way for Ludovico Einaudi’s music to enter the British market. Nick Bailey, a legendary Classic FM presenter, was the first to broadcast Einaudi’s album “Le Onde” on British radio. Its hypnotic melodies immediately won over his listeners, left speechless by the beautiful music composed by this Italian with a hard-to-pronounce name. Soon after, Greg James, a BBC Radio 1 DJ averaging five million listeners a day, turned Einaudi’s “I Giorni” into a pop hit. This happened in June 2011. Nine years later, in the midst of the pandemic chaos, the melodies stemming from Ludovico’s fingers were among the most requested from online streaming platforms. His musical minimalism, after all, is what captures you, winning your heart and taking you away, reminding you how much simpler and purer our world could be.
«Einaudi’s music was an inspiration for my writing and a veritable tonic for my brain», said best-selling American fantasy writer Leigh Bardugo. «I like that his pieces never point in a clear direction, but rather leave many doors open».
«Einaudi’s greatness? His humbleness and ability to listen», agreed two of the composer’s longtime collaborators, Malian kora master Toumani Diabate and German electronic artist Robert Lippok.
«When I first started out I sought to find a place of my own in music, by putting together avant-garde, classic, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Stravinsky», Ludovico reveals. We’d say that he more than reached his aim, don’t you think?