Review-Jan Vogler & The Knights, Experience: Live From New York

The Knights
Frankfurter Rundschau

You don’t know quite why the audaciously call themselves The Knights for it is a 20th century dedicated orchestral ensemble. They are wonderfully able to strum low notes, glissando and set rhythmic accents by pausing. They especially do that in Kyle Sanna’s arrangement of Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun.” It is by no means the first acoustical rendition of an electronic version of Hendrix’s music, but it is to date the most successful. This version neither neglects his simple harmonic or avant-garde sound. It is very much worth listening to how Jan Vogler plays Hendrix-Cello.

Without Hendrix, this CD would have been a pure Shostakovich album. The centerpiece is the Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major for Cello and Orchestra with Jan Vogler as soloist. The Knights under Eric Jacobsen don’t give Shostakovich the chance to achieve avant-garde prudery. Rather, they chose a very colorful, almost bacchanal interpretation of the music, audible through Vogler’s playing.

All this is imbedded in a collection of Shostakovich’s waltzes, which consist party of film-musical contexts. They allow a glance into Shostakovich’s moldable and useable music. Hendrix is simply an over emphasis of this tendency. This live recording accentuates the impression of expressive freshness. –H.L.