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The inspiration for Ludovico Einaudi's I Giorni
was a 12th-century folk song from Mali about a hippopotamus who was cherished by the residents of a nearby village but killed by a hunter. "The song," writes Einaudi in his succinct liner note, "is sung as a lament for the death of a king or a great person or for the loss of a loved one." The result is a tender and introspective set of 14 piano pieces, performed on this recording by the composer himself.
I Giorni comes hot on the heels of Eden Roc, released just eight months earlier, which demonstrates Einaudi's popularity. I Giorni is the Italian composer's second all-piano disc, the first being Le Onde.
Einaudi's piano compositions, staples of the Classic FM diet, owe more to the music of Satie and Michael Nyman than to his former teacher Luciano Berio. Indeed, several movements of I Giorni, "Quel che resta" in particular, contain more than a passing reference to Nyman's soundtrack to The Piano. The pervading mood is melancholic and soporific--this is music to wind down to and let wash over you. --Rebecca Agnew