2011 / Real Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
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!
September 10, 2011