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Pierrot Lunaire

Prog Folk

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Pierrot Lunaire Pierrot Lunaire album cover
3.59 | 83 ratings | 16 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ouverture XV (3:19)
2. Raipure (4:45)
3. Invasore (4:21)
4. Lady Ligeia (2:39)
5. Narciso (5:13)
6. Ganzheit (2:33)
7. Verso il lago (0:53)
8. Il re di Raipure (3:47)
9. Sotto i ponti (7:22)
10. Arlecchinata (3:25)
11. La saga della primavera (3:38)
12. Mandrangola (2:15)

Total Time 44:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Arturo Stalteri / piano, organ, vocals, spinet, Eminent, celesta, percussion
- Vincenzo Caporaletti / acoustic, classical & electric & 12 string guitars, bass, drums, flute
- Gaio Chiocchio / sitar, mandolin, vocals, guitar, Hammond organ, cymbals, timpani

- Laura Buffa / vocals (10)

Releases information

LP It ZSLT 70025 (1974)

CD It/BMG ND 74114 (1989)
CD MPR MPRCD 007 (1997)
CD BMG 74321 98331-2 (2003)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy PIERROT LUNAIRE Pierrot Lunaire Music

PIERROT LUNAIRE Pierrot Lunaire ratings distribution

(83 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

PIERROT LUNAIRE Pierrot Lunaire reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars Delicate captivating Italian prog with some real sumptious melodies and classic touches. Without a question PIERROT LUNAIRE would be the perfect CD to order this summer as you relax listening to some great prog sucking back the odd beverage. PIERROT LUNAIRE combine all the classical elements with superb Italian progressive rock flare. PIERROT LUNAIRE are highly techincal yet soft and melodic with a theatrical feel throughout. Instrumentation is abundant and highly skilled with loads of great grand piano, synth, guitar and bass throughout. Vocals are in Italian as you would expect which are rich and full of harmonies. Living true to their title PIERROT LUNAIRE is full of great classical - symphonic prog waiting to be discovered... Highly recommended!
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Asone would expect it , this album might have influences of Arnold Schoenberg's series of early 20th century classical song. Well not really, you might want to check out the second and much different sounding album for that. On this one , we find some sort of folk-rock (very acoustic and at times slightly medieval) full of delicate ambiances sometimes reminding me of Hoelderlin's Traum (the german band whose debut is one of my top 20) and in some case also of Genesis's Tresspass. Most numbers are short acoustic pieces that sometimes let you wish they had developped the theme a little more - in that respect Lady Ligeia (my fave on this album) is way too short.

An absolute plus in any proghead collection.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Pierrot Lunaire started their recording career with a really interesting album. The predominantly acoustic instrumentation, the delivery of pleasant melodic lines all throughout the repertoire, and the lack of a specific drummer (guitarist Vincenzo Caporaletti handles drum duties in some pieces) are the clear symptoms of a bucolic orientation of the band's prog offering, not unlike Celeste, for example. But we mustn't be led to believe that this is just pastoral music: just like their fellow countrymen of Celeste, PL introduces a disturbing touch of dissonance and density that makes the pleasant turn into mysterious here and there. And yet, the disturbing ingredient is integrated softly and naturally into sonic whole, without breaking its bucolic basic essence. Somehow it enters the spectrum as a nuance of fog or a breath of chilly air that at first seems to shake the overall purity of a virgin landscape. but no, that hazy cloud and that unexpected winter breeze serve actually as a subtle source of complementation for the general serene tendency of the music, and an added color that acts as a hint of some sort of potential tension that remains hidden underneath. All this can be perceived in 'Ouverture XV', 'Invasore', as well as the syncopated 'Lady Ligeia' (the mean bass lines and the soaring string synth layers effectively wrap the piano motif) and the delicately somber 'Narciso'. 'Arlecchinata' includes some exulting piano and organ interludes between the recurring main motif statements. Here we also have 'Raipure' and 'Il Re di Reipure', which portray the group's bucolic tendency more frontally, serving as an effective showcase for the typical Mediterranean feel. The same goes for the high-spirited 'Sotto i Ponti', which kind of reminds me of the acoustic side of early PFM. The closing instrumental 'Mandragola' is the weirdest piece in the album: upon an almost martial piano-bass basis, a series of harmonies delivered by frantic organ and synth harmonies and some mean guitar leads, the motif marches on until an acoustic coda (a brief classical guitar reprise of the previous track) comes in as a source of extreme contrast. In conclusion: "Pierrot Lunaire" is a very good album that should have a place of honour in any good prog collection. I add an extra half-star to the rating.
Review by soundsweird
2 stars After hearing some of their second album on the radio, I mail-ordered both albums. Well, I do like "Gudrun", but this debut just doesn't do much for me. Good musicians and promising instrumentation, but that's about it. Melodies are either simplistic or non- existant. Of course, if you're into semi-improvised jamming, or "noodling", as I like to call it, then there's plenty here for you. Several tracks start out just fine, but become static or include an annoying instrument or riff. I'll say it again: life's too short to listen to pretty good music, prog or not. If there was one great song, I'd keep the disc. There isn't.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Very few Italian bands are categorized in the prog-folk genre. And this ''Pierrot Lunaire'' (whose name sounds more French than Italian) displays a wide range of good prog feelings: folk (but not too much), symphonic and most of all genuine Italian prog like in the excellent opener and well titled ''Ouverture XV''.

This debut album (but there will only be two unfortunately) is of a very decent length in comparison with most of the Italian productions in these ancient times and the music flows very nicely from one song to another. From folk (''Raipure'') to the psyche-medieval ''Invasore'' (what a blend)!

The genuine delicacy of Italian prog being available as well in this debut. Even if short, the almost classical ''Lady Ligea'' is a beautiful keyboards oriented tune which should offers great delights to all prog ears.

The band investigated some more the acoustic psyche roots and performed ''Narciso''. A sweet trip but not too fancy to tell the truth. So far, it is the weakest track from this effort, but not too many damages are made either.

Some Andean feel is provided by the catchy fluting during ''Il Re Di Raipure'' which breaks the lesser interesting mood showed in some previous tracks. I guess that a song as ''Sotto I Ponti'' should bring all the fans of folk, symphonic and Italian music all together: it combines all elements each one would like to hear. The highlight.

Most of this work is pleasant to listen to; once in a while some weakness but overall this album fully deserves three stars (maybe seven out of ten).

Review by Warthur
2 stars Avant-folk group Pierrot Lunaire prove on their debut album that "avant" doesn't have to mean "dissonant" or "ugly". Tempering their electronic experimentations with gentle acoustic folk melodies, there are points where their debut becomes placid to the point of being tedious - I'm not sure Narciso really needed to be as long as it is, for instance - but when the album comes alive and the synths blare forth there's hints of something more exciting. Still, they're only hints, and on balance the album suggests musical directions which could be interesting to explore more than it actually thoroughly explores them. Later albums from the group would be tighter and more together.
Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A strange little thing this one. Italy's Pierrot Lunaire's self-titled first album sits as a wedge between several familiar styles without really conforming to the standards of any of them. Of these styles, folk and the wide spectrum of Rock Progressivo Italiano are definitely the most predominant. Not the strangest or most revolutionary of combinations, but there you have it.

They do however manage to present this package in their own particular and often unique little way. It never really feels comfortable in the prog folk idiom in which it finds itself placed, even though I can certainly see why Pierrot Lunaire is where it is. The music comes across as mostly rather gentle and soothing, with tender, crisp folk melodies and lovely "watercolour" instrumental richness, harmony and warmth. An array of guitars (acoustic, 12-string, electric) and prevalent, warm and pleasant keyboards such as organ and piano tend to do that to an album. With additions of mandolin, sitar and celesta these feelings are further enhanced. All of this is presented with an unusual, but refreshing naiveness and earnestness that is both endearing and easy to digest.

Folk'y, nimble acoustic and electric guitars are all over the place, serving as textural backdrop or playing the sweet and delicate pastoral melodies you immediately pick up on as a first impression. Piano, being a favourite instrument of mine, is also given a big role: cheerfully rollicking, gently phrasing, begging for your attention in the same discreet, lovely and rejuvenating way as falling rain (thank you, Pierre!) or just dominating melodically in the fresh sumptuousness only the piano can bring to music. There is often an air of joyful urgency and expectancy in the music, a youthful impatience and happiness that drives the music. A touch of spring, perhaps? Sometimes it positively surges with bouncy bass lines, energetic acoustic guitar, that rollicking piano mingling with other melodies and other instruments coming to the fore only to drift away into the backdrop again. At times there are more hard-hitting pieces and shades of murkier emotions, a bit more menace and dark energy in the chord progressions and melodies, but it is never really threatening or ominous, just a bit of coldness and/or heat (or to continue with the spring theme - a late frost or a grass fire) now and then. On the whole, it is a fairly dynamic and expressive set of songs.

What lurk as a bit of a constant shadow over the record is the, in my opinion, sometimes rather bland rhythmic constructions and the simplicity of the underlying main motifs that shine through the decidedly stronger musical topping. Partly, this is surely due to the lack of a dedicated drummer, but it reaches further than that, being, as it is, at the basic structural AND melodic core of the album. No added drummer can remedy that, but it could at least give the music more of a much needed backbone on some of these compositions. It is just a bit clumsy and cumbersome, a little too sterile and strict at times. The underlying guitars and (especially) bass make up for it a lot of the time, but it still is a weakness in my eyes.

I also feel that on repeated listens, being washed over by beautiful melody upon beautiful melody with beautiful harmony upon beautiful harmony coupled with the general positive and pleasing vibe of it all can become a little bit grating. There is a tendency for the simple-yet-effective and expected to get the upper hand a little too often, be it dynamically or melodically. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it really is not good enough for it to be a great album in my book. Sure, there is drama to be found, but always a bit toned-down and mellow, staying away from the more flamboyant and heartfelt. No need for an entire album to be like that, but I find myself looking for something a little more red-blooded.

Regardless of shortcomings, I treasure Pierrot Lunaire. It is a wonderful pick-me-up, and if I am looking for an album of this type the energy, earnestness and sometimes heart-achingly beautiful melodies found here are very hard to beat.

3 stars.


Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An eclectic mix of adventurous folk music, classical sophistication and avant-garde daring, the debut self-titled album from 1974 by Italian act Pierrot Lunaire is a unique little treasure in a sub-genre filled with so many daring and thrilling works. The three musicians on this album present an evocative and unpredictable collection of sounds and styles that head in endless different directions, a true case of musical multiple personalities. Classical piano meets with sitar, Hammond organ serenades mandolin and acoustic guitar dances with flute for a range of both vocal and instrumental pieces that also frequently blend medieval, psychedelic and rock music in a subtle and distinctive fashion, with a constant shadow hanging over the music to bring just a hint of unease and edge.

The opening `Ouverture XV' is a softly stirring fanfare of organ, gentle acoustic guitar strums and murmuring bass slinking along the backdrop, with beautiful cascading spectral piano throughout a real highlight. `Raipure' is a rollicking but tasteful folk tune with instrumental breaks that pair sprightly piano over subtle little soloing bass eruptions, almost like they're duelling together. Tracks like `Invasore' are `Narciso' are psychedelic acid-folk ballads with groaning raga-rock sitar drones, drowsy wasted vocals and drifting synths. Ghostly classical piano, pursuing bass and spectral synth veils permeate the beautiful instrumental interlude `Lady Ligeia' (but what a shame about the abrupt cut-off ending!), and `Ganzheit' is a quietly melancholic instrumental acoustic lament to close the first side.

Acoustic interlude `Verso il Lago' opens the second side with some welcome romantic flavours that also carry on into the mandolin and recorder folk ballad `Il re di Rapure'. The seven minute `Sotto I Ponti' is one of the best pieces on the album, where the extended length allows the group to really stretch out. What starts as a shimmering 12 string acoustic ballad with a weary vocal lurches to life and beautifully transitions into a warm sunny mellow pop-rocker, where some fiery drumming, thick upfront bass and frazzled quick guitar brings an added punch to the second half. `Arlecchinata' alternates between dark moody male narrated passages and ethereal wordless female wisps that dance between around mischievous piano runs. Medieval flavours emerge through the emotional piano and acoustic guitar pirouettes of `La Saga...', and `Mandragola's strangled maniacal electric guitar soloing over booming pounding piano and a stomping intimidating beat closes the album in a dramatic manner!

While it would have been nice to hear more of the pieces extended and developed even further, Pierrot Lunaire's singular, unique mix of folk, classical, psych and experimental music is fascinating to discover. This album is less bombastic and symphonic that what many of the other Italian acts playing challenging progressive music from the time were presenting, but it's absolutely no less ambitious or inspired. Best enjoyed with a good pair of headphones to ensure you pick up all the most careful and tiniest of subtle details, `Pierrot Lunaire is endlessly captivating and utterly essential.

Four and a half stars.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
5 stars Another bizarre, or lunatic wall of sound, let me call. The first shocking shout should define the destiny of this album completely I'd felt via a quick listening to it, and got sure it be quite correct ... their dry acid folk with avantgarde sweetness drives us crazy obviously, along with kinda killer sleeve.

Their freaky trip begins through the instrumental masterpiece and the most depressive music treatment "Ouverture XV", followed by "Raipure", that is pretty impressive under their soft, smooth, but a tad distorted sound cloud with an acoustic guitar and voices play ... this cool wind reminds me of early folksy essence of RPI legends. Another dry skin folk rock "Invasore" goes forward through an ethnic fruity atmosphere with impressive sitar chops. And their incredible avantgarde power explodes just in the following instrumental one "Lady Ligeia". The mysterious appearance of Arturo's piano play can be called as Folk Progressivo Italiano. Via "Narciso", an acid folk where hypnotic percussion sound is amazing, "Ganzheit" sounds very fantastic, even only with simple acoustic guitar phrases and rhythmic percussion footprints. Another great creation.

Contrary to the previous madness, "Verso il lago" is a beautiful guitar premier indeed, inappropriate for such an acidity. Yes, our feelings might be knocked down soon via the following one "Il Re Di Raipure", in that the first flute (with ring keys?) wind blow be brilliant. This creation is basically beautiful but sometimes sounds of an eccentric scape as well, regardless of its acoustic folksy appearance. As if we would flit over the blue sea ... nothing under our feet but anacatesthesic feeling. On the other hand, for the first time in this album we can enjoy a simple folk rock like Dylan in "Sotto I Ponti", where piano phrases are gorgeous as usual. Oh yeah "Arlecchinata" could be mentioned as the highlight on the latter phase, featuring fully female risky chorus and keyboard-based spacey sound shower like gems in a kaleidoscope. A slowtempo folk dessert is "La Saga Della Primavera", followed by the last madness "Mandrangola", where almost all of their avantgarde acid folk elements (except some pop thingies) get fused, merged, unified, and exploded together, quite suitable for the epilogue of this drysweet theatre.

In conclusion, there might not be anything special nor innovative in this creation I've felt, but it's another incredibleness such a bizarre, eerie, lunatic approach would be heard deeply beneath this avantgarde acid folk one. Fantastic really.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars I remember this band being discussed enthusiastically on some prog forum or other many years ago and, not being familiar with Arnold Schoenberg, I had incorrectly assumed that their name was simply a not especially clever reference to "Au Clair de la Lune" and my friend Pierrot as the lyrics go, which may well have been Schoenberg's intent. I thus banished any further thought until recently, when the prog folk team admitted Kay Hoffman's sole release into our untrimmed dandelion patch, and it was noted that several members of PIERROT LUNAIRE had performed on it well after their own band appears to have ceded to the petulance of the industry. This seemed like the logical moment to dive back into their history. After a unsatisfying brush with the avant garde "Gudrun", I decided to sample this debut, and have been lounging in my own little paradise of RPI meets folk for some undetermined period. Luckily Pierrot has lent me his plume for this review.

This remarkably mature and adventurous work plays on the subtleties of strummed acoustic guitar, delicately plucked electric guitar, flutes, gentle to spirited vocal passages, warm and elegant piano tones, and the occasional glimpse into what would become "Gudrun". The opener "Ouvertura" could have fit on myriad RPI releases of its day but it does serve notice of the group's abilities. "Raipure" is a delightful acoustic ballad which is only eclipsed later by the uplifting "Il re di Raipure" which sounds more South American than European. While PFM and ERRATA CORRIGE have been accurately referenced, some of these arrangements, like on "Invasore", may have influenced the earnestness of SENSITIVA IMMAGINE a few years later.

The two longest tracks, "Narciso" and "Sotto i Ponti" both allow the band to explore a dreamy meandering mood and a patiently building romantic suite respectively. The latter seems to presage LE ORME's "Florian" before tastefully electrifying as it winds down, but I think this is more fully realized than anything on that late 1970s album. Another height is scaled on the penultimate "La Saga della Primavera" with its hypnotic piano- acoustic guitar interplay. The album would have been better served to end here rather than on the screechy "Mandrangola" but I suppose they needed to advertise their intent to go all loopy on us in a few short years. Add in a reference to LE ORME's pending "Radiofelicita" for its accelerated not quite coda.

At turns both accessible and complex, indeed often simultaneously, "Pierrot Lunaire" is a mostly gentle always evocative amalgam of folk based prog that manages to be both structured and free form, hence ideal night music for any phase of the moon or life. Oh, and here is your pen back buddy.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Another hidden treasure: Pierrot Lunaire (self-titled debut). I don't know why, but I was attracted by this strange album cover. At the first track, Ouverture XV, this Italian prog folk open your eyes to an unexpected gem. The flute, the sitar, the mandolin, the string and acoustic sound is ... (read more)

Report this review (#965533) | Posted by VOTOMS | Monday, May 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first of two albums of this Italian band is such a piece of colection. The arrangements seems to be so simple but they are really complex and full of little delicious details, specially on strings because the album is full of guitars, sitars and mandolins. Really difficult to categorize be ... (read more)

Report this review (#81170) | Posted by progadicto | Wednesday, June 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I was totally surprised by this album. Beatiful instrumentation! I like every single song on this album. Can't understand why it's not as good rated as PFM, BSM and other italian prog bands. Although, I'd been giving too many five stars ratings (it must be because I'm a prog enthusiastic!). If so ... (read more)

Report this review (#51205) | Posted by | Monday, October 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ****1/2 The debut album of this group offers a blend of symphonic, folk rock and classical. There are also touches off avant-garde that would greatly evolve in the next album. The overall sound is rather pastoral, though not as pastoral as with a group like Celeste, and with some renaissance/bar ... (read more)

Report this review (#39672) | Posted by geezer | Sunday, July 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hmm...I don't think you can go wrong with this abum, if you are into the more pastoral side of Italian prog. Their second album, Gudrun, seems to get all the attention, but after MANY listens to both I find myself putting this one on more often. First off, they may as well have been recorded ... (read more)

Report this review (#19679) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Difficult to categorize this album with symphonic rock, progressive and avant-garde elements. However regardless of the genre one places it in, it is the distinctive sound drawing from a broad spectrum of influences provides for aworthwhile listening experience. Reccomended for the eclectic ear. ... (read more)

Report this review (#19674) | Posted by NucDoc | Thursday, October 30, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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