Seven Days Walking - Day 1
2019 / Decca Records/Universal
Review by Kathy Parsons
Seven Days Walking - Day 1 by Ludovico Einaudi is the first album in a seven volume set that will be released one volume per month over a seven month period through September 2019. A physical boxed set of all seven albums will be released in December 2019. Einaudi is the most-streamed classical artist of all time with more than one million streams a day and more than two billion streams overall. He was commissioned by Greenpeace to perform his “Elegy for the Arctic” while floating on a platform in the Arctic Ocean as glaciers melted around him. His music has been used in a variety of films, television and other media. He has performed concerts all over the world and will be embarking on a major tour of North America in May and June 2019.
All seven volumes of Seven Days Walking were recorded in Germany and London in September and October 2018 with Einaudi on piano, Redi Hasa on cello and Federico Mecozzi on violin and viola; two of the eleven tracks are solo piano. Einaudi explained that the idea for the series occurred to him as he was listening to the recordings of the first sessions. Each variation seemed to have its own personality “with subtleties so distinct from one another that I was unable to choose which I preferred…. I associated everything with walking, with the experience of following the same routes over and over, discovering new details each time.” Einaudi’s music is often very understated, so it will be fascinating to hear how these pieces change and evolve over the seven albums. I cross-referenced the first three volumes, and most of the titles are the same (a few change from album to album) with the designation of which “day” the variation comes from as part of in the title.
Seven Days Walking - Day 1 begins with “Low Mist, Var. 1,” a very slow, open piece that feels very much like the stillness and softness of walking in a dense, low fog. “Low Mist” follows, and begins as a very quiet and mysterious piano solo. Einaudi’s use of the dampers and una corda pedal of the piano softens the impact of the hammers hitting the strings and creates a very atmospheric sound. The cello and viola enter and enhance the feeling of swirling mists. It sounds to me like the piano is muted slightly on “Gravity,” again softening the percussive nature of the piano. Alternating very quiet and subdued passages with sections that are much darker and and more dramatic, it’s a favorite. “Matches” is a very quiet and understated piano solo that expresses warmth and contentment. Light and very delicate, the magical “Golden Butterflies” makes it easy to envision the fluttering wings of these lovely creatures. “A Sense of Symmetry” is a peaceful and serene duet for piano and cello. “The Path of the Fossils” is another favorite and is also the longest piece on the album at over eight minutes. Very dark and mysterious, the piece ranges from almost a whisper to a powerful intensity, keeping the repeated patterns in constant change - a dynamic and fascinating piece! The second piano solo, “Ascent,” is much lighter and calmer. The album closes with a second variation on “Low Mist” that has a chilly atmosphere, but is less minimalistic than the first two.
Seven Days Walking - Day 1 is a fascinating project and I’m really looking forward to following the whole series! If you are new to Ludovico Einaudi’s music, this is a great place to start. If you are a longtime fan, you won’t be disappointed!
May 18, 2019