Some people say that German folk songs are boring – but they have certainly never heard the adaptations of pianist Edgar Knecht.

Some people say that German folk songs are boring – but they have certainly never heard the adaptations of pianist Edgar Knecht.

Between becoming and passing away

Some people say that German folk songs are boring – but they have certainly never heard the adaptations of pianist Edgar Knecht. „Personal Seasons“, the third album of a trilogy inspired by German songs as well as internal and external seasonal cycles, has recently been released. Five of the eight pieces are based on folk songs, the remaining three on seasonal moods – recorded with his long-standing trio, with which Edgar Knecht celebrated ten years of existence in 2018. An anniversary that triggered deep thoughts in him about existential themes such as becoming and passing away – and about the power of music to reflect the emotional states involved. A turning point for the pianist.

Unique symbiosis of classical music, jazz and German folk song

So Knecht left his previous comfort zone and expanded his trio into a temporary quartet, in which trumpeter Frederik Köster provides congenial echoes. Sometimes solemn and carried as in the old Advent chorale „Es kommt ein Schiff geladen“ – sometimes bursting with joie de vivre and urge to move as in Knecht’s Vivaldi homage „Italian Summer“. Subtle and mysterious is the eerily beautiful autumn ballad „Schnitter Tod“ – percussive and South American driving the danceable „Sommerschall“. Knecht’s seasonal cycles oscillate between clearly contoured polarities – which makes „Personal Seasons“ an album of surprising turns and scene changes, but not one that seems arbitrary. Rather, Edgar Knecht and his trio succeed in creating a unique symbiosis of classical music, jazz and German folk song, which is also unparalleled in its aesthetic coherence.

Thomas Haak (NDR info)