Sublimely tender Koch melodies dedicated to 19th century pioneer and visionary aviator Otto Lilienthal, who glided silently on the wind, the birds his inspiration for lifting his wings into the skies. Piano, keyboards, guitar, bass and light percussion. Snuggle into a cozy chair for a carefree hour of flying free.
|1. The New Day 4:06|
|2. Softly Awakening 4:48|
|3. Le Petit Jardin 3:51|
|4. She 4:59|
|5. Distant Memories 5:52|
|6. Silent Star 5:16|
|7. Café Noir 3:13|
|8. Vision Emerging 4:46|
|9. Harmony Found 3:44|
|10. The Color of Spring 3:42|
|11. Anthem 4:08|
|12. Ice Flowers 3:15|
|13. Remember Blue 4:25|
|14. Shades of Rain 2:52|
I had high hopes for Bernward Koch's new album, Silent Star, after thoroughly enjoying the magnificent Montagnola album (released by Erdenklang in 2008). I am pleased to report I was not to be disappointed. Silent Star is Bernward's fifth release for Real Music. The quality of the recording is, as is synonymous with Real Music, top-notch. The album, running to almost an hour in duration, is dedicated to the 19th century pioneer and visionary aviator Otto Lilienthal, the legendary figure behind the development of the hand-glider. If Lilienthal got his kicks from soaring effortlessly through the sky as gracefully as migrating birds, he would surely also give a passing wave of approval to this beautiful collection of mainly piano pieces... music that lifts the spirits and takes the listener on their own special journey. The CD opens with the majestic ‘The New Day’, destined to be a Koch-classic from the very first listen! Like a bird's unfurling wings, the listener embarks on a voyage of discovery. There is a quieter middle section, before the journey continues to its conclusion. ‘Softly Awakening’, as the title would suggest, is a very gentle piece- slow tempo- but very sublime. It has the Koch trademark sound with which his fans will instantly identify. There is an ethereal quality to Bernward's compositions, and none more so than this one! ‘Le Petit Jardin’ is one of my favorite cuts on the entire CD. Extremely melodic and a joy from beginning to end! If the title conjures up an image of a gentle, meandering walk through a summer-inspired garden, then the tender, heart-felt melody will merely confirm your initial impression. ‘She’ is another delicate piano piece, as soft as spring’s blossom, or maybe the summer breeze passing by Lilienthal as he takes to the air. Track five, ‘Distant Memories’ is my top-pick track, and it is an unusual choice for me as it is the only piece on the entire CD with the absence of piano / keyboard (save for a sprinkling of notes towards the end)! It is the sort of composition the Greek maestro Vangelis might create, and I have already mentally penned the remixed version, which involves the introduction of drums half-way through! It's a fascinating piece, with the accordion taking the lead. I absolutely adore it! Maybe I can just add my own drumming to the piece as the composition takes a more dramatic turn, or perhaps Bernward will have some late-evening fun in the recording studio! Anyway, it's over to Bernward to fill in the reader with additional compositional details pertaining to this terrific track: "I did not want it to sound like a real accordion. Quite accidentally, I found a preset sound on my Korg Trinity Plus 'Master Fisa'. I improvised with that at the same time I composed the track. It is enriched with more instruments like Yamaha MO6 (pad) and DX-711D (harp), Roland Alpha Juno 2 (pipe) and D-50 (pad), Korg EX8000 (pad) and MicroKorg (strings), VST-plugins, Atmosphere and Kompakt sampler (both as special pad) and, at the end, a Grand Piano (Yamaha CP-50)." Touchingly, the track is in memory of Bernward's father (1923 - 1973) who played the accordion. ‘Silent Star’ is the title track, and is made for relaxation. Glance at the album's cover whilst listening to this inspiring track, and drift away into your dreams. The tempo increases with ‘Café Noir’. Highly melodic and instantly appealing this arpeggio track reminds me of the sound of Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi. The piece is mainly piano, with two beautiful sections combining piano with stringed instruments, including cello- a match made in heaven. It's another outstanding track for me on this album which is packed with highlights. Bernward explains, "Café Noir is the name of a beautiful café in my area, in a tiny but beautiful village. It's a rebuilt barn with a little stage for minor arts. I have often played at this place." Bernward used a Yamaha CP-50 piano, along with Yamaha MO6 and Roland D-50 as pad, Yamaha DX-7IID Bass, Korg Trinity pan-pad, Kontakt organ, Halion one cello and Roland Juno2 cembalo. ‘Vision Emerging’ has quite a dramatic opening; perhaps it is Lilienthal's sudden realization that his idea is set to become reality. The track develops into another sublime piece. ‘Harmony Found’ is quite an up-beat, feel-good piece of music with a jolly melody and a playful piano. It features a catchy melody, and you might well find yourself whistling along on this part of the journey. Track ten is entitled ‘The Colour of Spring’. The music suggests nature awakening after its Winter slumber, and new life emerging. Bernward's gift for creating melodic compositions once again shines through with this lovely piece. ‘Anthem’ is another inspiring track, and I can imagine this making a super soundtrack for established or aspiring film-makers. The middle section of the piece is utterly beautiful- very simple, but therein lies its appeal. The intriguingly titled ‘Ice Flowers’ opens with a shudder! It has a mysterious, almost haunting, ghost-like quality to it. Film-makers again take note! Perhaps some of that ice melts away as the piece develops. Bernward states that the track title just came to him upon completing the recording of this piece, and indeed ‘Ice Flowers’ was nearly chosen as the album's name by Real Music. ‘Remember Blue’, the album's penultimate track, is certainly different! With a distinctive beat, this one has a light-jazz feel to it. Listen to it with a glass of your favorite tipple as the sun sets and the moon rises in the night sky. ‘Shades of Rain’ returns us to more familiar territory, and closes the album perfectly with a lovely, reflective piece. Bernward Koch has excelled himself once more. He has created a wonderful album of beautifully melodic piano and keyboard music which lifts the spirits as much as Lilienthal's wings lifted him into the air. It is worth noting that the German composer plays all the instruments featured on this CD; Bernward is truly a multi-instrumentalist. I thoroughly enjoyed this album, and give it my highest recommendation. Fans of inspiring, relaxing and original piano music will find much of appeal on Bernward's latest flight of magic.
One of the great charms the music of German composer Bernward Koch has is the skill with which the artist links different sounds synthesized, keyboards, guitars, and percussion. In his previous album (Gentle Spirit), Koch gave us a touch of joy thanks to gentle percussion rhythms that marked the tempo of his beautiful keyboards. In this last work, Silent Star, Koch abandoned the drums and subtle rhythms to focus on dreamy and peaceful melodies inspired and dedicated to nineteenth century aviator and visionary Otto Lilienthal. Koch's piano comes in perfect harmony with brilliant orchestral sounds that touch on some occasions, the classical genre, leaving the imagination and drawing a fantasy world. Silent Star are compositions can enjoy that amaze any listener regardless of their musical taste. Silent Star is one of the best albums where we can hear the composer and pianist Bernward Koch. His passion at the piano and the quality of his compositions are simply outstanding. The different instruments are linked at the right time and with perfect notes and this can only create amazing compositions. Koch takes you to a world full of peace and magic, where the melodies and sounds are part of the context that creates the magnificent compositions. Silent Star is an essential CD for all lovers of good music. Magnificent!. Very highly recommended!
This music comes into your room easily on the weightless wings of aerial harmonies. It drops on you like a warm shower and it is very comfortable to be with these divine melodies. They refresh your soul and arouse very deep and innermost emotions in your heart because the music of Bernward Koch is very natural. It brings your mind into a state of clarity and tranquility. You just want to fly with this music and your flight becomes higher and higher until it seems that soon you will be able to reach the stars shining on the pure blue sky. This is not accidental because Silent Star, the newest album of Bernward Koch is dedicated to the Otto Lilienthal who was a fearless pioneer of human aviation. Bernward Koch is a true master of composition. His keyboard solos are filled with inspiration and beautifully arranged. The orchestrations of Bernward Koch are perfect. In general the sounding of Silent Star is distinguished with refinement. A slight sadness is present in the compositions of the new album of Bernward Koch. One wants to look back and to remember the lighter moments of your life. Tears of refinement may drop from your eyes and you will be more strong and ready for the forthcoming day. When your heart is open the whole Universe is with you…
Bernward Koch is a well-respected German New Age/Ambient Artist. With eight albums to his credit, Silent Star shows off Koch's talent with keyboards, synthesizer and programming. These compositions are inspired by Otto Lilienthal, an inventor and "father of flight" that Koch has always admired. The tunes are light, almost shimmering in their appeal, with the piano melodies adding that special Koch magic that makes his works appealing. This CD has some very catchy melodies that stand out in the fourteen tracks that comprise this album. I really enjoyed the track She; it was gentle and very relaxed. Silent Star was reminiscent of classical piano pieces played in the great halls of old but gave a feeling of drifting and floating through an ambient sky. The Color of Spring was a bouncy and delightful composition that brings to mind daffodils and young children running in fields of spring flowers. This is an enjoyable work that will leave you feeling spirited and playful. The piano is never overpowered by the accompanying synth. Rather, it adds to the work, providing harmony and balance. While I love pure piano, this CD shows how electronic work can fill in and bring to the front exceptional piano work, especially from a very talented composer and pianist. Bernward Koch is one of our best contemporary New Age musicians, and this CD will add to your library of relaxing and pleasurable ambient collections. And if you love New Age piano, this CD was made for you. If you haven't tried Bernward Koch, this is a great introduction to the man and his work.
Silent Star is Bernward Koch’s fifth release on the Real Music label and his ninth album to date. Koch’s longtime fans from around the world will be thrilled with the gentle, beautiful music they have come to love and expect from this German multi-instrumentalist and composer; if you are new to his music, it’s a wonderful introduction. The music was inspired by and is dedicated to Otto Lilienthal (1848-1896), the “father of flight” and an inventor Koch has admired since childhood. Koch composed and recorded the pieces during a very creative period last fall. He wrote thirty tracks and selected fourteen for the album. He also played all of the instruments this time: piano, keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, bass, cymbals, percussion, and programming. Most of the music is very open, free, melodic and soothing, plus a few tracks that are more upbeat and lively - a nice combination. Although the album features a variety of musical instruments, the music is definitely piano-based with the other instrumentation adding washes of color and enhancing the moods. Silent Star begins with “The New Day,” a warm and welcoming piece full of promise and grace. “Softly Awakening” has a more classical style, with steady chords on the left hand and a simple, heartfelt melody on the right; piano and strings create musical magic. “She” is a bit livelier, but just as gentle and sweet - a favorite. “Distant Memories” changes the mood with accordion and bagpipe-like droning sounds telling a different aspect of the story. The middle of the piece is more ethereal, and then the bolder first theme returns and closes the piece. The title track is gorgeous. Atmospheric sounds, strings, and angelic voices suggest vast open space while the hypnotic piano melody soothes and relaxes - love it! “Cafe Noir” picks up the tempo a bit and adds a little more orchestration. Flowing with a gentle sparkle, it evokes feelings of effortless floating through space. “Vision Emerging” is another favorite. I love the magical feeling of freely moving from star to star, savoring the wonder of it all. “Harmony Found” is joyful and innocent with a light touch and faster pace. “The Color of Spring” is soft pastel colors and easy contentment. “Anthem” is my favorite. It begins as a piano solo, adding strings, voices and other keyboard sounds as it gracefully evolves. “Ice Flowers” delivers a chill. The reverb on the keyboard conveys the feeling of being lost and alone, but as the piece unfolds, it becomes warmer and less desolate. “Remember Blue” is a surprise. An upbeat Latin-style rhythm gives it a pop flavor and is likely the most radio-friendly piece in the collection. Warm, energetic, and very catchy, it’s a delight! “Shades of Rain” closes the album on a more subdued note. Slow, graceful and kind of melancholy, it’s a lovely way to end our journey. The release date for Silent Star is September 27, 2011. It will be available wherever Real Music’s releases are sold. It’s a beauty, so check it out!
Silent Star begins with “The New Day,” a somber and serene track that sails on the waves of Koch’s immaculate piano playing. No vocals are needed to make this track properly soar – there is a narrative that weaves itself through all facets of this track. “Softly Awakening” continues many of the same trends that were originally created in “The New Day,” but Koch twists the overall sound to play in a much lighter format. During “Softly Awakening,” listeners have to hear the balance between loud and soft; what results here is something decidedly larger than the sum of its parts. “Distant Memories” sits as the longest track on Silent Star, and it is this additional time that grants Koch the ability to add different sides, influences, and styles that were not heard during the introductory part of Silent Star. “Vision Emerging” provides listeners with the reassurance that an old dog can learn new tracks – where a number of artists allow their albums to gradually wind to a close, Koch’s efforts on Silent Star will keep listeners attentive and focused in until the last strains of “Shades of Rain.” “Shades of Rain” represents another solid addition to Silent Star – this relatively (3 minute) short track contains a great deal of personality. The introductory arrangements contains pathos, a fullness of being that will have listeners continually coming back to the track. If you are a fan of what Koch does on Silent Star, make sure to give his other works a listen. I believe that listening to his earliest discography (especially Flowing, from 1989) will provide listeners with a look into exactly how far he has come. Congratulations to Real Music for releasing Silent Star; it speaks volumes despite focusing on the instrumental side of things. Top Tracks: “The New Day,” “Le Petit Jardin” Rating: 8.5 out of 10
“…Koch dedicates this set to one of the pioneers of 19th century aviation and it really does sound like drifting through a limitless sky that isn’t crowded like now, whether with planes or microwaves, making the blue a little less blue. Far too gentle and soothing a record to describe with words like mind-blowing, this is a mind-blowing set that is the perfect escape hatch for these times we’re living in. By reaching for the heavens of another time and place, Koch really has taken it to the limit this time around. A winner throughout.”
Seldom does the piano resonate with such clarity and distinct tone as on Bernward Koch’s recordings. On Silent Star, Koch combines piano with other instrumental sounds to create a memorable, dreamy and deeply relaxing experience. The recording is dedicated to a 19th-century pioneer aviator, Otto Lilenthal who glided with birds, and it successfully evokes an enticing feeling of nostalgia. Let your self be lifted into gentle, peaceful flight.