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Wallenstein Stories, Songs & Symphonies album cover
3.25 | 58 ratings | 8 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Priestess (4:15)
2. Stories, Songs & Symphonies (9:52)
3. The Banner (6:00)
4. Your Lunar Friends (11:20)
5. Sympathy For Bela Bartok (5:18):
- I (1:32)
- II (1:55)
- III (2:31)

Total Time: 36:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Bill Barone / electric & acoustic guitars
- Jürgen Dollase / grand piano, Mellotron, Roland SH1000 synth, vibes, lead vocals
- Joachim Reiser / violin, percussion
- Jürgen Pluta / bass, percussion, vocals
- Harald Großkopf / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Harald Großkopf

LP Kosmische Musik ‎- KM 58.014 (1975, Germany)

CD Ohr ‎- CD 14294 (1993, France)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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WALLENSTEIN Stories, Songs & Symphonies ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

WALLENSTEIN Stories, Songs & Symphonies reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars This one is a stinker and very pompous and totally missed Procol Harum tribute( even the awful cover was paying a bad tribute to the English sleeve artwork of Shine On Brightly) . What were thinking Dollasse & Có. when they did this dreadfull project. They even managed to approach the appex of pomposity and bad taste : Arthur and The Knights Of The Round Table by Mr. Wakeman himself( the man with the star-sprinkled cape). Stay away from this unless you just got offended with this review (and you are still reading) , then run to your closest specialist and order it.
Review by Neu!mann
3 stars Wallenstein's fourth and last truly Progressive album may not be the best introduction to old style Classical Rock for anyone not accustomed to the clichés of the early 1970s. Modern listeners are cautioned to approach it as they would any antique museum piece, forgiving the now dated splendor and occasional histrionic overkill to better appreciate the age and rarity of the artifact itself.

You'll have to also overlook some of the most awkward and embarrassing amateur cover art ever forced on an undemanding public, and the best of luck. I don't know what's worse: the cosmic Santa Claus (or whatever he is) piloting his astral sled across a rainbow-strewn galaxy, or the piano bursting with hallucinogenic flowers and mushrooms.

It's a shame, because the music itself measures up to anything else being produced at the time, in Germany or elsewhere, although the unsympathetic production doesn't do it any favors, rendering what might have originally been full-blooded performances into thin, toothless facsimiles. Odd how the group's fourth album, in 1975, should sound so primitive compared to their debut, produced in the dark ages of studio sophistication circa 1971.

This was certainly the most overtly orchestral effort yet by Jürgen Dollase and company, as befits a band that liked to call itself (to their eternal shame) "The Symphonic Rock Orchestra". Dollase's vocals are, as always, an acquired taste, but his hand at the grand piano is strong and sure, without any of the empty pyrotechnics practiced by other keyboard wizards at the time. Joachim Reiser's violin is more conspicuous than before, and guitarist Bill Barone is even allowed a few understated jams, notably in the long middle section of the title track.

The music, unlike the group's earlier efforts, is entirely upbeat and optimistic, which of course will date it badly to jaded post-modern ears. The album even opens with something approaching an unapologetic pop song ("The Priestess"), which never fails to put a smile on my face, even with the (deliberately?) dopey lyrics.

It's not essential listening by any stretch of even the most open-minded imagination, but the album is something more than just a guilty pleasure or a rose-colored stroll down memory lane. And even such a small part of our collective Prog heritage is worth preserving, isn't it?

Review by Tom Ozric
3 stars This time around, German proggers Wallenstein took their classically inspired music to the extreme - even milking the sub-label for themselves as a 'Symphonic Rock Orchestra' for all it's worth - in rather large lettering on the cover. The compositions do have strong classical leanings whether they promote the fact or not, especially in Jurgen Dollase's Piano playing and Joachim Reiser's Violin. Piano is the lead instrument throughout the album, with some faint Mellotron touches and Synthesizer effects. 'The Priestess' is a rather pompous little track, featuring some brief twists and turns within its 4 min duration. Dollase's vocals are soft and polite, though he is a better keyboardist than singer (kind of re-iterates what another reviewer has stated but it's an obvious fact). The title song, 'Stories, Songs and Symphonies' is the choice track off the record, it lasts nearly 10 mins and features an excellent instrumental passage, driven along with a mid-tempo groove that's topped-off with some tasty piano work and guitarist Bill Barone gets to shine with some searing licks. 'The Banner' kind of passes by, quite forgettable really.

The long piece, 'Your Lunar Friends', starts out with a mysterious and spacey atmosphere, some pretty piano lines and bubbling Synth effects backed with a cool Bass groove, Reiser's ever-present violin adding the classical ingredient that goes hand-in-hand with their 'Sympho-Rock Orchestra' tag. The bulk of the song tends to meander a little, with subtle dramatics here and there. 'Sympathy for Bela Bartok' is a 3-part track (lasting just over 5 mins) and actually show-cases some quite complex interplay between piano and violin during part 1, part 2 is a slow, sombre section which merges into the uptempo 3rd part where Reiser's violin takes the spotlight again. Sadly they couldn't follow-up the fantastic 'Cosmic Century' with another, equally exciting release, though. 3 stars.

Interesting to note that the somewhat twee, pastel coloured cover-art was done by the drummer, Harald Grosskopf, who ended up joining Manuel Gottsching in his later ASHRA projects, with stops along the way to help out electronica whizz KLAUS SCHULZE.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars With this album Wallenstein delivered maybe the last good testament of their career, the next releases are almost pop, and never much intrested by prog conesurs, including myself. So, Stories is the last truly symphonic album of these not so well known german prog band. Far from being bad , but with a lack of vein, and sometimes even mellower than the predecesors, this album is not something great, but not bad. I always considered music of Wallenstein to be a crossing between Birth Control, Aunt Mary or in places Beggars Opera. Even the voice of Dollase is weaker in places, to mellow, and without to much vein, it's like the members are tiered to play and sing anymore. In the ens to me these is a good album, more like 2.5 rounded to 3 with some fine moments like the opening track The priestess and Stories, songs & symphonies, the rest are ok, but no more than that. Not recommende like Mother univers, the best album they ever done, but worth some spins from time to time.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I wonder why this album usully gets negative reviews. I find this quite interesting, atmospheric and original. Indeed, there are some weak points, including the accented vocals for most reviewers, but I believe that all the tracks of the album are at a quite high level as prog compositions. True, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1283894) | Posted by psychprog1 | Thursday, September 25, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Stories, songs & symphonies" is the German band Wallenstein's fourth studio album and in some way it's their most symphonic album so far. It was released 1975, almost fourty years ago and had an intriguing cover art work where we can read the name "The Symphonic Rock Orchestra Wallenstein" an ... (read more)

Report this review (#1161160) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, April 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Titled "The Symphonic Rock Orchestra", Wallenstein, on this, their fourth studio effort, show us that they had not lost track of what makes for a great Wallenstein record, and in the same breath, produce some refreshingly newer creative elements that make Stories, Songs and Symphonies delightful. ... (read more)

Report this review (#919054) | Posted by presdoug | Monday, February 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A good album of this German band. In 70 decade, progressive world more comercial try made a fusion betwen classic performances and rock performances and this album is a try of made a rock opera but they realy don't now that it's not opera but ajust a classic fusion. Some orchestra sounds made ... (read more)

Report this review (#269673) | Posted by João Paulo | Friday, March 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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