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ALICE IN WONDERLAND

Neuschwanstein

Symphonic Prog


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Neuschwanstein Alice In Wonderland album cover
3.73 | 59 ratings | 7 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. White Rabbit (1:17)
2. Gate To Wonderland (2:13)
3. Pond Of Tears (2:45)
4. Old Father's Song (8:31)
5. Five-O'Clock-Tea (6:49)
6. Palace Of Wonderland (12:05)
7. The Court Of The Animals (5:01)
8. Alice's Return (2:05)

Total time 40:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Weiler / 6- & 12-string electric guitars, narration
- Thomas Neuroth / piano, organ, synth
- Klaus Mayer / flute, synthesizer
- Rainer Zimmer / bass
- Hans-Peter Schwarz / drums, percussion

Releases information

Recorded Live-in-studio, April 1976

Artwork: Thierry Moreau

CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4468 (2008, France)

Thanks to Prog-Brazil for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NEUSCHWANSTEIN Alice In Wonderland ratings distribution


3.73
(59 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (32%)
32%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

NEUSCHWANSTEIN Alice In Wonderland reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A few years before Neuschwanstein conceived their masterpiece "Battlement" (to many, including myself, one of the best symphonic prog albums ever from Germany), the band had already written an album-worthy set of tracks that, together, made the concept of a progressive opus inspired by Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland". I suspect that this was done when the band was still a 5-piece (before the arrival of Frederic Joos), but you can tell that by then the fivesome had found out their own voice within the realms of symphonic prog rock. There aren't too many lyrics in "Alice in Wonderland", and most of them are narrated. The opener is literally an intro that comprises brief atmospheres based on floating piano washes and eerie cymbals, until the instrumentation settles in for 'The Gate to Wonderland', lyrically structured across a prominent presence of bucolic ambiences provided by the playful flute lines and the elegant interventions on synth (orchestration and solo). All in all, it is mostly a second intro, and a "third intro" arrives with the slightly more mysterious 'Pond of Tears', which is where the synth layers become more relevant, and also there is a more noticeable presence of the guitar phrases alongside the ever haunting flute lines. The melodic display is definitely more ambitious than on the preceding track, but it still feels like a sequence of amalgamated snippets than a track with a power of its own. Track 4 is the first piece in this concept that benefits from a proper development - it starts very lyrical, like a symphonic journey with heavily pastoral accents, but soon the piece reveals a colorful imagery of sound that alternates density and lightheartedness in an ultimately symphonic fashion. Influences from Camel, Novalis, Eloy and Focus' introspective side are (or seem to be) very transparent here, with some touches of early 70s Jethro Tull. Regarding the sense of magic delivered through the global instrumentation, you can also tell that there are also coincidences with what Happy the Man were doing at the time on the other side of the Atlantic for their "Death's Crown" project - it is no wonder, since this album's tracklist and that HTM project were both conceived as musical bases for visuals and theatrical deliveries. 'Five O'Clock-Tea' is segued to the last notes of the preceding track's enthusiastic closing portion, bringing back a ceremonious note that works really well due to the clever architecture that ordains the various moods and motifs. This is the sort of grandeur that I wished earlier for tracks 2 and 3 - at this point, the musical ideas are becoming gradually more robust. After a brief sung section, the track shifts toward a sense of sheer, dramatic intensity without losing its melodic drive. The last section is a joyful imitation of cabaret-oriented jazz, which makes an efficient contrast against the solemn note that signals the start of the following track 'The Marching of the Queen - Palace of Wonderland'. The band's ability to create beautifully crafted melodic developments of motifs and the easily flowing transitions comes to its full fruition on this one - even though you won't find as many dramatic shifts than on previous tracks, this one never gets boring or monotonous. The portions where the band gets to Celtic and Renaissance territories, the sonic beauty becomes irresistibly sublime. 'The Court of the Animals' starts with the mandatory narration over a piano sequence (electric and grand, simultaneously): some more amazingly beautiful melodies and textures get in, and then some exciting interludes bring warm Tullian airs. The closer 'Alice's Return' wraps up the concept with a reprised motif. All in all, "Alice in Wonderland" is not as gloriously genius as "Battlement", but it is not a disposable progressive album at all; no, it is an excellent addition (albeit with a not too great sound production) to any good prog rock collection. 3.90 stars!
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A huge name of the symphonic scene in German, NEUSCHWANSTEIN were formed in 1971 in the city of Volklingen in the district of Saarbrucken.The big forward step for the band came in 1974,when they won a musical competition in Saarbrucken,adapting on stage a rock form of Lewis Carroll's ''Alice in wonderland''.The album was re-issued on Musea in 2002.

A stunning story-telling prog rock release,''Alice in wonderland'' contains dreamy Symphonic Rock,interrupted in a few moments by spoken parts,which try to get the listener into the tale-atmosphere of the album.The sad thing, for those unfamiliar with the German language, is that all lyrics are written and sung in NEUSCHWANSTEIN's native language...but musically you will be rewarded to the maximum by the album's pure beauty and symphonic splendour.From the dominant moog solos and driving organ (NOVALIS similarities are evident) to the classical piano ans light harpsichord,all musical soundscapes are created by the heavy ans inspiring use of keyboards by the Klaus Mayer/Thomas Neuroth duo.The guitar echoes are trully melodic and inspiring yet carefully presented and mid-70's ELOY and even better ANYONE'S DAUGHTER are good reference points.However it's the flute work of Neuroth in here which will leave totally speechless!From the melodic interplays with the keyboards to the strong driving parts,Neuroth ''catches'' the best periods of CAMEL ,GENESIS and FOCUS (at least in the flute parts) and throws them into the mix to make the sound even richer and more symphonic.

''Alice in wonderland'' is oversaturrated in melody, interplays and calmness and it is marked by my side as one of the most important releases from a German Symphonic Rock band.Absolutely essential,followed by 4 shining stars!

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is a bit of prog archaeology on the part of Musea. See, for a good long while Neuschwanstein were seen by much of the prog world as one-album wonders, with only the Battlement release to stand as evidence of their existence. However, the lucky few who had seen Neuschwanstein live back in the day knew that there was more to it than that - that they'd also developed a conceptual stage show based around the classic Alice In Wonderland story, and had indeed first come to the notice of the German prog scene by winning a competition with this creation. This album consists of demo recordings made in 1976 of the music and narration of the stage show.

Much like Happy the Man's Death's Crown or Soft Machine's Spaced, then, this is an archival release of material originally intended to accompany a visual performance on stage - and as with those releases, it's a little flawed as a result. Listeners will likely find the recording quality very frustrating; there's clearly some very nice Genesis-esque pastoral prog being played here, but with that appalling background hiss in the way it simply doesn't sound as good as it might have had it been recorded to a professional studio standard. And the occasional narration breaking up the instrumentals is a bit obtrusive and hurts the flow of things.

Uiltimately, listening to a piece like this you are only getting half the picture; like the albums I've mentioned (or, for that matter, Pink Floyd's The Wall), this was created with a particular visual experience in mind, and without those visuals the material is somewhat hampered. On top of that, the recording quality just cuts the album's legs out from under it. It's a testament to Neuschwanstein's talents that it still sounds pretty good despite all that, but this is very much a shiny curiosity rather than a long-lost classic.

Review by VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review Nš 349

Neuschwanstein was a progressive rock band from Germany and was formed in 1971 in the city of Volklingen in the district of Saarbrucken. The name of the group is derived from Neuschwanstein Castle which is a Romanesque revival palace built by Ludwig II of Bavaria in Bavarian Alps as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner. It became a huge name of the symphonic progressive rock scene in Germany. Today, it has been regarded as a legendary band by all prog rock fans, like other bands of the 70's. The founders of the band were Thomas Neuroth and Klaus Mayer, who had an interest on the music of Rick Wakeman. The band did covers of the keyboardist, in the beginning, and King Crimson.

Neuschwanstein drew attention for the first time in 1974 when they won a musical competition with an adaptation of "Alice In Wonderland". Between 1974 and 1978 Neuschwanstein earned certain fame in their native homeland, the Sarre, because they were the opening act for several prog rock German bands, such as, Novalis and Lucifer's Friend.

In 1978 they released "Battlement". It was released independently and sold all the 6.000 copies. Besides the good reception at the time, the album became stronger with time and today is considered a mythical album. The music produced by the band is melodic with magnificent arrangements with detailed and an interesting orchestration. In 2009, was released a CD with the original recordings made in 1976 of the musical adaptation by Neuschwanstein of "Alice In Wonderland". The album was released with the same name. Personally, I'm very glad this album finally was released.

So, "Alice In Wonderland" is the debut studio album of Neuschwanstein and was recorded in 1976 and released in 2008. As I said before, this is a conceptual album about "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland", commonly shortened to "Alice In Wonderland", a novel written by the English writer Lewis Carroll, in 1865. It tells a story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults and children too. It's considered one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre.

The line up on the album is Klaus Mayer (flute and synthesizer), Roger Weiler (narration and 6 & 12 string electric guitars), Thomas Neuroth (piano, organ and synthesizer), Rainer Zimmer (bass) and Hans-Peter Schwarz (drums and percussion).

As a conceptual album, the music flows naturally. Despite "Alice In Wonderland" be practically an instrumental album, there are vocals, namely a narrative voice where Weiller tells the story of "Alice In Wonderland", in all due shortly in German, and in between, there is instrumental music heard. And this is especially marked by Mayer's flute and keyboards that recall at this stage of the band's history, especially to Wakeman. This isn't strange because the idea of "Alice In Wonderland" was inspired by the project to create a work that could compete with Wakeman's "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth". In addition, the guitarist Weiler was a big fan of Genesis, especially of "Supper's Ready". The Genesis' influence was also reflected in the non musical stage show. The band used bizarre costumes and background projections for the stage, like Genesis. Musically, the album contains dreamy symphonic progressive rock, interrupted in a few moments by spoken parts, which try to get the listener into the tale's atmosphere of the album.The sad thing, for those who aren't familiar with the German language, like me, is that all lyrics are written and sung in their native language. But, musically you will be rewarded to the maximum by the album's pure beauty and symphonic splendour. From the dominant moog solos and driving organ, the similarities with Novalis are evident, to the classical piano and light harpsichord, all musical soundscapes are created by the heavy and inspiring use of keyboards by Mayer and Neuroth duo. The guitar echoes are truly melodic and inspiring yet carefully presented and Eloy and Anyone's Daughter are good reference points. However, it's the flute work of Neuroth that makes the difference here. From the melodic interplays with the keyboards to the strong driving parts, Neuroth "catches" the best periods of Camel, Genesis and Focus, at least in the flute parts, and throws them into the mix to make the sound even richer and more symphonic.

Conclusion: "Alice In Wonderland" is a great album and an historical document. Fans of early times of Novalis, Eloy, Holderlin and of course Anyone's Daughter, will love it. All these bands helped to create the German contribute to the progressive rock music. "Alice In Wonderland" has forty minutes of very interesting music with strong melodic lines, joyful interpretation of batch delicate guitars, great warp painted by synthesizer sounds, with its dynamic flute solos. If we can judge this album on its own merits, we can conclude that Neuschwanstein has made a beautiful and a very warm sounding album in the genuine symphonic rock musical tradition with a classical undertone and very pleasant vintage keyboards. The fans of the 70's of Genesis, Camel and Focus will be pleased with it too. Listen to it and enjoy it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars Musea mentioned that the CD release (1992) of Neuschwanstein's Battlement was one of their best selling items. In the booklet of Battlement you can already read about the epic composition Alice In Wonderland (based on Lewis Caroll's famous book) that has been put on this CD: in 1974 it was premi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1910606) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Saturday, March 31, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, I simply love it In fact, is currently within my Top Three albums, which are Kayaks bard of the unseen and Genesis Foxtrot. Maybe I am totally cought and "spoiled" by the somewhat naive charme and originality of this album. I also very much like their more adult next (and untli ... (read more)

Report this review (#280627) | Posted by herrkaiser | Wednesday, May 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Slightly frustrating. This German band has recreated the story of Alice In Wonderland with German spoken words inbetween the music. The main leading instruments is flute and keyboards. Guitars adds texture when needed. The music is mostly a symphonic floating sort of new age. It is beautif ... (read more)

Report this review (#216216) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, May 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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