Valsanova - Edgar Knecht

Valsanova Edgar Knecht - valsanova
piano solo


1. lauf! (run!)
2. nachts um 3/4 (night-time at 3/4)
3. maria anhören
4. 1625/343
5. thule
6. valse bleu anhören
7. froh zu sein (to be happy)
8. schlaf... (sleep...) anhören


The outstanding talent of artist EDGAR KNECHT for the creative solo piano already manifested in his childhood and with age he consistently accomplished his unique, temperamental piano language. His solo programmes "piamenta" and "@piano.wonderland" are considered to be milestones of the combination between concert grand piano and computer technique. His latest project "valsanova" shows EDGAR KNECHT as a fascinating musical storyteller at the acoustic grand piano. In this production he masterly builds a bridge between tradition and modern age as well.

EDGAR KNECHT (born 1964) studied classic piano under Hellmuth Vivell, transverse flute under Eleonore Kluge and composing under Wolfgang Köhler, furthermore salsa piano under Jorge Guarin and jazz under Klaus Ignatzek. He established himself with manifold concerts as well as a composer for theatre, film, multimedia productions and ensembles. Numerous promotions and awards, among them the "Jugendmusikpreis für Jazz" (Youth Music Award for Jazz) of the city of Hannover and the "Dr.Wolfgang-Zippel-Preis" of the city of Kassel, as well as a number of radio and TV portraits accompany his work.
EDGAR KNECHT is head of his own piano school for classics and jazz and has a lectureship at the University of Kassel.

The Origin of "valsanova"

Answers from EDGAR KNECHT to questions asked by Klaus Schaake:

What is behind the expression "valsanova"?

A range of associations. With "valsanova" I went to search for my own musical roots. An important part of these roots alongside the classical music are our children's songs and traditional music, which I grew up with in a strongly musically influenced family. A lot of these songs groove in three-quarter time, which is generally associated with the waltz. This explains valsa. Nova means that I edit the songs massively and that they form a starting-point for my own compositions. Often I refer only to the emotional core or parts of a theme. That way a completely new, contemporary fresh music evolves.

What are we going to hear with "valsanova"?

A very melodic and rhythmically influenced piano music. Melancholy lyrical ballads, jazz improvisations loaded with emotions and a lot of Afro- and Latin-rhythms.

Which musical traditions does your latest solo project pursue?

"valsanova" is a melange out of jazz, world music and classical piano traditions. At the same time the combination of the elements that have been handed down with a modern contemporary sound are always dear to my heart. In the course of my musical career I got to know and love many styles: classical music during my piano studies, Salsa during the meetings with Cuban and Dominican musicians, Jazz during numerous band projects... New on "valsanova" is the connection of this "World Music" with my own early musical roots. I think a great emotional power arises out of this.

Will one indeed have the possibility to perceive and recognise musical pieces of one's own childhood and youth?

I think it is very fascinating to go and look for familiar elements in my new project, to discover and experience how these elements evolve and are revived to new life. For example I like to let quick three-quarter times mutate into related African 6/8 measure, which results in sensual displacements. A lot of new perspectives come about and all in all I can promise that you will hear these pieces like you've never heard them before.

What does this musical journey from the past to the present have in common with the musician EDGAR KNECHT?

During my musical career I felt more and more like I could achieve a certain level of emotional authenticity, which we appreciate so much in the World Music, only with my own experiences. When I started improvising about songs from my childhood I realised how much this touched me emotionally. When I also felt how naturally these melodies and rhythms connected with my meanwhile much larger musical vocabulary and the musical "world language", the beginning of "valsanova" was made.

You also mentioned a social dimension of your project?

One of the most important experiences during the work on "valsanova" was the insight, how rich and colourful our own range of traditional music and children's songs is, how many beautifully sad ballads or fantastic melodies there are to discover. And what emotional power is created through the combination of the modern global musical cosmos with one's own roots. In Germany, this area is still difficult to access for different reasons, and I'd be happy if "valsanova" contributed a little part to loosen this area.

Many thanks to:
Helga Knecht - Birgit Knebel and Fenja Knecht - Ulrike Brockhaus - Stephan Cobré - Nina Eisenlohr - Klaus Ignatzek - Stefan Jung - Hartmut Schmidt - Ulrich Kramer - Ulrieke Ruwisch - Karlhans Frank - Veronica Kraneis - the Kasseler Sparkasse - the Kulturamt Kassel and many others, who helped to make this project come true.

Recorded at "Atelier für angewandte Pianistik", Kassel, March 2006.
Music composed, performed, produced and mastered by Edgar Knecht.
Coverphoto by Thomas Rosenthal
Graphics by Nina Eisenlohr

The Songs lauf! (run!) ...
- ... hunter run. The story of a huntsman who is in a hurry.

nachts um 3/4 (night-time at 3/4)
- Dreamed in three-quarter time ... woken up at the right moment.

- Favourite song of my late sister. Dedicated to her.

1625 / 343
- Artistic dance on a simple rope.

- Sylt at minus 15 degrees, the sea frozen. The gaze northward: there laid the King's leman.

valse bleu
- Syncopated waltz with a lot of blue notes.

froh zu sein… (to be happy …)
- ... it doesn't take much: African 6/8 meets German 3/4 -> pure joy!

schlaf... (sleep...)
- ...little child, sleep. Old classic in a new negligée.

Edgar Knecht is a versatile, temperamental pianist, who quite naturally demonstrates the different facets of his pianistic expertise on 'valsanova'.
On this CD he succeeds in an impressive way to brush the dust off from old traditional folk songs like "Thule" and "Froh zu sein" (To be happy) through interesting adaptations and surprising twists and helps to bring them to a new undreamt-of, new liveliness.
A refreshingly catchy, but not facile CD-recording that is great fun listening to.

Klaus Ignatzek

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