Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Tree Tales By Bernward Koch


Tree Tales


Bernward Koch

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Bernward Koch has been on my personal music radar ever since the release of Walking Through Clouds back in 2005, however the artists musical linage can be traced back much further to 1989, a time of great change in the world of music, skip forward to today and we are celebrating the release of this his brand new album Tree Tales, and what a beautiful journey we are about to embark on indeed.

The gateway opens as we turn The Key and take a step into a lush world of colour and tranquillity; one thing to know about a Bernward Koch experience, is that you will always get complete consistency throughout the whole of any project he undertakes, and at its conclusion you will feel relaxed, calmed and quite a peace.

From its mellow beginnings we move to a track entitled Inner Light, this would be one of my personal favourites from the release as I adore the interplay between major and minor so very much on any arrangement.  Here Koch does just that, and brings us, an offering that is both sincere and soothing.

Lonely Pinwheel is a fascinating track; there is a certain hymnal quality about its construction that I found most intriguing, but a piece never the less, that creates a steady onward movement within its overall presentation.

Just the title alone sets the scene with ease here; this next piece is blissful and called Warm Fall Sun. The soft palate of sounds behind the keys of Koch, are like watching an early morning October mist rise into the ether, this is a tranquil musical moment of genius that reminded me greatly of days of old, and artists like Mike Rowland and Stephen Rhodes.

The melody in this next piece will remain with you for hours after even just one listen; the piece is called Hidden Dream, underneath the layers of textured beauty lays a gem of a composition, one that contains a slightly mysterious ethic, and perhaps even a film score segment too, a very special creation can be sourced here from the artist.

Many create music about a lone tree, but I believe this is the first time I have seen one brought into existence about a Single Young Tree. I adored the hovering intensity here, whilst the artist almost carved out a presentation on the keys of such an imploring nature, one could feel the wind, one could sense the delicacy of this new tree, all in all, this for me was a remarkable performance by Koch, one that will stay in my heart for a long while to come.

When you reach the song Sweet Memory, you will have graced the half way marker, this colourful piece will allow you a moment of musical reflection, one that is done with such a beautiful hand on the keys, if this one doesn’t move you, I’m not sure will.

Hills And Bushes begins our downward decent from the green vales of musical magic, this is indeed a composition that contains a steady onward purpose, there is also something quite moving about the track as well, its under-pinned and respectful narrative, is dramatic in parts, but in the way you would gaze over a vast land from a great vantage point, a halcyon musical moment indeed.

The lightness of touch here on Free In The Air was so very palpable, whilst listening to this song I gazed from my studio window and watched a swift rise majestically upon the thermals, and thought to myself, this song is certainly a great soundtrack for this event; the freedom one finds here is so very calming, and so very effortless.

Beech Woodland is a piece that also moved me greatly, at times the piece wanders down the footpaths of nature with an almost classical feel to it, then it seems to drift into a reflective eddy, thus manifesting somewhat of a cinematic texture to its proceedings, without doubt this was one most enticing and colourful compositions on the album.

As we drift slowly down the stream we come across a sight so very pretty indeed, as we gaze upon A Rare Flower. This piece for me shows all the skill and expertise of Bernward Koch as he pulls from his magic hat of talent one of the most delightful tracks off the release, everything is perfect here in this world of trees, and a composition like this that floats on the cadence of the day, is a memory filled opus that will never be forgotten.

The skill set of Koch shows its many qualities on this next offering, as he brings us a slow and aged composition that offers up much knowledge and comfort and called Dark Old Trees. Whether or not it’s just that I am getting old myself now, but I loved this track with a passion, it contains wisdom, perception and sagacity, whilst the performance gives us a slow and carful presentation, it also delivers us one of the most meaningful arrangements on the album thus far.

Sleeping Leaves is out penultimate offering, where did the time go? It seemed just moments ago we set off on this journey of trees with Bernward Koch, for the artist to manifest an anthem like arrangement like this, at this juncture of the album is nothing less than genius. The bass here was also a vital cog in the wheel of brilliance, and for me it became a track that I just wanted to hit repeat on many times over, perfect in elevation and such a gentle crescendo too, an outstanding offering indeed, one for some strange reason reminded me of Pavane for a Dead Princess by Tomita, composed of course by Ravel originally.

The final parting gift from the album would be the piece Autumnal Landscape, our voyage has seemingly taken us to the very hem of winter, there is nothing quite like the beautiful scene of a late October nature panorama, and here on this moving construction of crafted cleverness, Bernward Koch leaves us with a picturesque and magical musical offering, the perfect choice to end the release with.

Tree Tales by Bernward Koch has to be the artist’s best work thus far, it’s his 15th album, and still like the trees, he grows, matures and constantly pulls masterful performances and creative compositions from his hat of magical manifestations. Here is an album that any listener seeking solace, comfort or perhaps a sanctuary of peace, would be glad to have in their collections, as Tree Tales by Bernward Koch is the epitome of all the is good in the world of creative instrumental music in the 21st century. 

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