Filled With Light
2017 / Real Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
German composer and multi-instrumentalist Bernward Koch is one of the most enduring artists in the New Age genre. A classically-trained musician, he signed his first deal for an instrumental project under his own name in 1989. His debut album, Flowing, was released in the US in 1990, and several albums of a jazzier nature followed. In 1997, Koch signed with the SF Bay Area based record label, Real Music, and they re-released Flowing that same year. Many albums later (Filled With Light is his ninth release for Real Music, plus many compilations), Koch’s distinctive keyboard/piano/flute sound continues to delight listeners looking for music for relaxation, stress relief and to lift the spirit. The warm, delicate charm of Koch’s music is a constant in all of his releases and is something his fans have come to rely on.
Filled With Light is a collection of twelve original pieces. Koch performs on piano, keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, bass, glockenspiel and cymbals. Koch’s wife, Christiane Bohm, often adds her grace to the music with her beautiful flute playing. Christoph Koch, Bernward’s brother, plays 12-string guitar, cajon, drums, percussion, and bells.
Filled With Light begins with “Summer Anthem,” a very gentle piece with a simple piano melody and pastel washes of synth strings - a lovely start! “Crystal Light” seems to give a nod to the immortal JS Bach with keyboard, various instrumental sounds, and ethereal choir voices - heavenly! “Free” feels the way I imagine floating on a fluffy white cloud would feel like, gently drifting in a clear blue sky. “Provence” is a beautiful duet for piano and flute - poignant and a bit haunting, it’s a favorite. I don’t like heights, but I love the serenity of “Treetop Glide” and the warm, cozy blanket of sound it provides. “Elfin Dance” is by far my favorite piece on the album. Darker and more mysterious, it’s a slow minor-key waltz for piano, keyboard, flute, guitar and glockenspiel. Love it! “Quiet Day” returns to a very peaceful mode with piano and strings soothing the soul. “Tidal Flow” is another favorite with its compelling rhythms, guitar, keyboard and bass. This one also has a slightly mysterious feeling and is absolutely gorgeous! “Underwater Sunbeams” expresses the heavenly beauty of light making its way into the water. Very ethereal with occasional bright sparkles, it’s a wonderful way to end this magical album.
Longtime fans of Bernward Koch’s music will find much to enjoy in Filled With Light. If you are not yet familiar with his music, this is a great place to start! The album is available from www.RealMusic.com, Amazon, and iTunes. Recommended!
October 20, 2017
Review by Michael Debbage
Review by Kathy Parsons