Many readers of
this review will have experienced the pain, the
trauma, the ordeal of cancer, either directly
themselves or vicariously through a loved one. Christine Rayner
is no exception, contracting breast cancer as she
did in 2000. Happily, the former Primary School
teacher has now recovered and since
discovering the piano music of Ludovico Einaudi, has
been giving recitals of his music to audiences to
help alleviate stress and facilitate calmness, as
well as generating funds to aid vital research.
The rise in
popularity of Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi is
His music found
its way onto the popular and influential British
radio station 'Classic FM' around the turn of the
millennium, and immediately drew a
huge response from listeners.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Rayner regrets she was not one of those listeners at
She did not discover Einaudi's sublime compositions
until 2009 when she first came across his signature
piece, 'Le Onde' (The Waves). "On first hearing
the beautiful 'Le Onde' in 2009, I was captivated.
This piece touched me deeply, and playing his music
has since become a vital part of my life".
Christine feels that the relaxing qualities of
Einaudi's music would have been of great help to her
during that traumatic time: "The calming
influence of many of Einaudiís works creates for me
a sanctuary in which the stresses of daily life have
no place. His music would undoubtedly have inspired
and uplifted me during the dark months of my
chemotherapy eleven years ago, and I regret that it
was unknown to me at that time."
features fourteen of Einaudi's most well-known
compositions taken from various albums spanning his
career. Christine's interpretations are faithful to
the originals, retaining their natural beauty and
melodic appeal, with subtle differences to the
discerning ear. The album has the blessing of the
master himself who states, "It's very nice when
music can help other people, and I wish all the best
to Christine Rayner's beautiful project." Fans
of Einaudi will doubtless enjoy these solo-piano
versions of their favourite recordings as much as
new listeners will be mesmerized by their
The album opens
with 'Nuvole Blanche' (White Clouds) from the
original album Una Mattina. The piece captures the
softness of the fluffy clouds, with the sun
penetrating through on occasions. A lovely piece.
It was inevitable
that Christine would include 'Le Onde'- the piece
that has meant so much to her. The repetitive nature
of the waves lapping gently onto the shoreline is
captured here, with Einaudi originally inspired by
the words of novelist Virginia Woolf in her book
entitled 'The Waves'.
(Gentle Drug) is another selection from Una Mattina,
and has soporific qualities from start to finish.
'Stella del Mattino' (Morning Star)- originally from
I Giorni- is more up-beat, with a quicker tempo. It
is light and full of hope. 'Rose' is a personal
favourite, originally appearing on Divenire. As I
listen, I can visualise this majestic flower slowly
unfurling, with morning dew glistening on its delicate
petals from the rising sun.
'In Un Altra
Vita' (In Another Life) is the album's sixth track
and is taken from the album 'I Giorni', as are the
subsequent two tracks. I find it quite a reflective
piece, perhaps contemplating what might have been
had circumstances been different. Following on from
this is 'La Nascita delle
Cose Segrete' (The Birth of Secret Things) which is every
bit as beautiful as the title would suggest.
'I Due Fiumi'
(Two Rivers) to me conjures up images of tributaries
and trickling streams converging into a gently
flowing river as it starts it long, meandering
route down the valley, sometimes separating
between rocks to follow its own journey, just as we
do in life. It features a lovely melody,
irresistible in appeal.
'Come un Fiore'
(Like a Flower) is from the Una Mattina album, and
the piece is full of optimism- despite the
elements, the flower remains strong and firm, now
swaying gently from side to side in the soft
summer's breeze. Whatever life may throw at oneself,
it can be overcome. 'Reverie' means to be lost in one's
own thoughts, and this is the likely outcome to
listeners of the album's ninth track, this time from Nightbook. 'Resta con Me' (Stay with Me) takes us
back to Una Mattina and, whilst more upbeat than the
previous composition, still manages to relax and
entertain in equal measure.
'I Giorni' (The
Days) from the album of the same name, is one of
Einaudi's most recognised and popular pieces, and it
is not difficult to understand why with its melodic
appeal. Indeed, quite recently this was number
thirty-two in the UK singles tracks thanks to
repeated air-time on national BBC radio. I
particularly like the climax to this piece of music.
another selection from Una Mattina. The title is a
diminutive of 'lion' in Italian, and the ensuing
music is full of emotion.
album ends with 'Melodia Africana IV' (excerpt),
bringing the listening experience to a perfect
conclusion. Short, reflective, but delivering a
message of hope.
Rayner's take on the compositions of Ludovico
Einaudi is exceptionally good. She allows the notes
to breathe, the recording quality is top-notch, and
she herself is clearly a talented pianist who
perfectly captures Einaudi's minimalist style. It is of little
wonder then that following her recitals, she was
inundated with queries regarding the origins of the
pieces being performed. Such was the level of
interest that as well as directing them to the music
of the great man himself, she investigated the
possibility of recording her own interpretations of
these classic pieces. In late November 2011, the
vision became a reality with the release of 'The
Calm of Einaudi', and the ensuing album is one I
would recommend to all visitors to Piano-Heaven.
listener, this is a win-win album. As well as over
an hour's glorious piano playing (the piano used is
a K.KAWAI RX-3), purchasing the
album from HMV generates at least £1.00 for various
cancer charities, and if purchasing from Christine's
own website (www.braveamazons.com),
£2.00 will be donated to one of four cancer
charities from which the purchaser can select:
Cancer Research UK
Breakthrough Breast Cancer
Children with Cancer UK
Marie Curie Cancer Care
album for an excellent cause. Pure piano-heaven.