French pianist Grégory Ott began working on «Parabole: Als das Kind Kind war» soon after watching again last May Wim Wenders’ classic film «Der Himmel über Berlin» (Wings of Desire, 1987). Wenders directed this film like a jazz musician, improvising with bold, poetic and allegorical strokes, surrendering to spontaneity and the unknown, without knowing where this process will lead him. Ott was deeply inspired by Wenders’ method of work and sought to offer his own personal, musical interpretation of the film, with a similar kind of freedom, poetic sense and an attempt to move out of his comfort zone in his own solo piano work.
Ott chose the title «Parabole» as a reference to the allegorical and metaphorical figures of the film, and its universal themes of childhood, love, life, and death, and faith in humanity. He recorded 15 short solo piano pieces in October 2020 in one go, all are a testament to the intense and evocative poetic power of the film. Ott’s piano pieces do not correspond with the original soundtrack of «Der Himmel über Berlin», composed by Jürgen Knieper and Laurent Petitgand, or to the songs of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, but do relate to Peter Handke’s poem «Als das Kind Kind war» (Song of Childhood), who conceived the story with Wenders.
Ott succeeded to offer suggestive, contemplative pieces that are characterized by a strong poetic and sometimes playful sense of innocence and wonder. His compositions are rooted in the blues and jazz legacies but attempt to sketch an untimely and much wider and spacious, lyrical and impressionist sonic territories. In a way, the tone and spirit of this inspiring, alternative soundtrack bring to mind an iconic soundtrack for another classic film of Wenders, «Paris, Texas» (1984), composed by guitarist Ry Cooder. Clearly, Ott’s evocative interpretation of the themes of «Der Himmel über Berlin» owes much to the seminal Nordic school ECM, and, again, stressing meditative, romantic lyricism and spacious sound.
Grégory Ott (p)