Seven Days Walking, Complete Set
2019 / Decca
Review by Kathy Parsons
Seven Days Walking is an epic seven-disc (or digital) set by Italian pianist/composer Ludovico Einaudi that chronicles time spent walking approximately the same route in The Alps on seven different days. The music conveys both the similarities and differences on each day’s hike due in part to weather changes, changes in the surroundings, and differences in Einaudi’s own perspective. Six of the seven volumes (1-6) include violin, viola and cello (Frederico Mecozzi and Redi Hasa) in addition to Einaudi’s piano; and Day 7 is solo piano that was recorded in a shack in the mountains. After the beautiful tone of the piano in the first six albums, the seventh is quite different from the others. Recorded on an older piano that makes a lot of internal sounds in addition to the music, the atmosphere it creates is a variation of its own. Each of the first six volumes was released individually at one-month intervals, and Day 7 was released as part of the full set. There are a few solo piano tracks on the first six Days, but not many.
Over the course of listening to the full set several times, I heard a lot of repetition in the music, which makes sense since pretty much the same terrain was being covered on each of the seven walks, but I wanted to see just how much repetition there was. There are thirteen different song titles on the seven albums, with some appearing quite often - more than once an album in some cases - and some appearing only two or three times in the whole set, which also makes sense considering it’s unlikely that you’d see “Fox Tracks” or a “Full Moon” on every walk. “Low Mist” appears sixteen times, but the playing times vary from 2 1/2 minutes to just over eight minutes, with a range of playing times between those two for the other variations. “Cold Wind” appears eleven times and varies from under two minutes to just over seven. Some of the pieces have close to the same playing time each time they appear and others vary widely. “The Path of Fossils” (my favorite piece) appears three times in the set, and ranges from 8’16” to 8’51”. My point here is not that the same pieces get played over and over - it is that there are major variations in each version as well as the similarities that make them recognizable as being related.
Einaudi’s music is distinctly minimalistic, getting to the essence of what he is describing with beauty and grace. The strings add tonal color to enhance the sound of the piano, but they rarely carry the melodies. Seven Days Walking is an incredibly ambitious project and one that works really well. It is interesting to note that Ludovico Einaudi is the world’s most-streamed classical composer. He is also launching a world-wide tour for Seven Days Walking in 2020.
Seven Days Walking is available in several different formats, including the full set on vinyl (available 2/14/2020), CD or MP3. You can find it on Amazon, iTunes/Apple Music, and many streaming sites. This set is a musical event, so be sure to check it out!
February 12, 2020
with (unknown artist)