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  • Jacques: Shockheaded Peter - A Junk Opera
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Jacques: Shockheaded Peter - A Junk Opera

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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 Mar. 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: NVC Arts
  • ASIN: B00000K3HD
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,428 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. The Struwwelpeter Overture 1:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. The Story of Cruel Frederick 4:17£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. The Dreadful Story about Harriet and the Matches 4:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Bully Boys 2:20£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. The Story of the Man Who Went Out Shooting 4:37£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Snip Snip (Suck-A-Thumb) 2:51£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Augustus and the Soup 4:50£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Fidgety Phil 3:40£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Johnny Head-In-Air 3:26£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Flying Robert 5:15£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Shockheaded Peter 2:29£0.79  Buy MP3 

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Feb. 2001
Format: Audio CD
Shockheaded Peter contains the most extraordinary elements. The trilling falsetto of Martyn Jacques delivers lyrics which clunk and jar with the textures of grainy translation. The musical arrangements flit between Camberwickian banjo and accordion to the whirring, yelping, growling, ditties that rattle like Ute Lemper on a bad trip. The grotesque subjects are children who are de-thumbed, incinerated, starved or beaten -- invariably to death.
This freak show of ideas shouldn't work; but it does, and it does so very well. My first listening to this album didn't start very hopefully, but by the time I got to the end I decided that I immediately had to listen to the entire album again. And then again for a third listening. Hoffmann's fairytales are ripe with the darkest shadows of the psyche and here is the music from that place. Compelling.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. J. MCDOUGALL on 6 Feb. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Unfortunately this item will leave the ardent Tiger Lillies fan, such as myself, disappointed. Even worse, it will not encourage a 'newcomer' to explore the music further. The DVD is mildly interesting but don't be fooled into thinking it is a performance of the stage show 'Shockheaded Peter'. It is simply a compilation of material that is freely available on YOU-TUBE. The CD is engineered and mixed so badly that poor Martyn Jacques sounds as if he is singing into a tin can.I assume the idea was to reproduce a Victorian phonograph but it will simply have you fiddling with the stereo settings on your equipment (which the VICTORIANS DIDN'T HAVE....dohhh !). Conclusion....go and see the Tiger Lillies live or buy one of their many other excellent CDs.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is not to everyone's taste,but i found it to be very enjoyable. With good stories and amusing singing and music. You have the best of both worlds, as this disc set offers dvd and cd. Also with this set is an interview which is interesting and entertaining.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
'Mark...marvel...and make little gasping noises!' 27 Mar. 2000
By *LittleChinaGirl* - Published on
Format: Audio CD
'Shockheaded Peter' is one of those delightful theatrical experiences which you literally want to take home and play over and over again, and the soundtrack to this macabre thespian jewel is about as close as you're ever going to get. Vocalist Martyn Jacques' perfectly-controlled falsetto voice borders on the edge of freakish, and accompanied by the sadistically amusing lyrics, and the bizarre orchestrations, The Tiger Lillies create the sinister and yet extremely hilarious atmosphere which is half of the show's success. The tunes are catchy if not always easy on the ear, but Jacque's remarkable crescendos more than make up for it. Along with the carnival-like accordion, the occasional drum solo and the oh-so-macabre hum of the cellist, 'Shockheaded Peter' is a marvellous creation of very dark musical satire. A word of warning, though- don't play it near the cat.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
An Extraordinary Grand Guignol Musical & Theatrical Treat! 31 Mar. 2005
By Jana L. Perskie - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I just experienced a fabulous and most original Grand Guignol theatrical treat - the musical production of "Shockheaded Peter." This inventive musical adaptation of Dr. Heinrich Hoffman's grisly tales, (for children, no less?), of the "Struwwelpeter," (in German it means Slovenly Peter ), is grimmer than the Grimm Brothers at their grimmest, with touches of Lemony Snicket, Stephen King, Edward Gorey and Kurt Weill. Hoffman's book, written in the mid 19th-century and adapted for the stage, combines hilarious melodrama, farce, music hall, carnival freak show, and biting satire. Hoffman, who actually ran a lunatic asylum - no kidding (!) - was unhappy with the children's books available when his kids were young, and so he penned his own stories. Hence "Struwwelpeter," ten morality tales dealing with such travesties as thumb-sucking, fidgeting, playing with fire, and cruelty to animals. It is truly remarkable that these simple stories have been turned into an opera, of sorts, by a troupe of very gifted English actors, designers and musicians, the Improbable Theatre group. But everything about this production is remarkable - especially the music. I bought the CD immediately after the show.

The music, performed by the Tiger Lillies, is both macabre and gorgeous. The lyrics are darkly witty and dreadfully wicked. The trio call their songs, "blasphemous ballads, tragic tales and debauched ditties." This band includes, a ghoulish accordionist/falsetto singer and songwriter, Martyn Jacques, a double bass player and a drummer. They narrate the stories of young lives gone horribly wrong, through song and music, and are often accompanied by mimed action from the cast, grotesque puppets, marionettes, and an enormous monster. Dubbed a "junk opera," I take exception. Mr. Jacques' castrato-like crooning is phenomenal, and the bass player and drummer are extremely gifted. This is a class act all the way! Drums beat out unsettling rhythms, strange noises and cries come out of nowhere, and the throb of a stand-up bass keeps time like the heart in an Edgar Allan Poe story, one minute slow and stable, the next frenzied. Then there are the tension-building, heart-stopping pauses. The three musicians are accompanied, on occasion, by the actors playing a flute, bugle and cello. Influences of punk rock, Victorian music hall, gypsy style accordion folk music, cabaret and even Klezmer permeate the indefinable sound. The group has been together for eight years, and have a huge cult-like following in Europe. They have made several CDs.

This CD includes musical numbers: The Struwwelpeter Overture, Augustus and the Soup, The Story of Cruel Frederick, The Dreadful Story About Harriet and the Matches, Snip Snip, Bully Boys, Fidgety Phil, Johnny Head-in-air, Flying Robert and Schockheaded Peter. A wonderful album, one cannot help but dance at times to these bizarre tunes!

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Castrati Punk Caberet 5 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Imagine if you will, Dame Edith Evans screaming blue murder from the works of the Marquis de Sade, while Tom Waits & Kurt Weill duke it out on the accordion. That should give you some indication of what will greet you within the confines of SHOCKHEADED PETER.

Inspired by H. Hoffmann's STRUWWELPETER, SHOCKHEADED PETER could be considered the musical equivalent of Gory's GASHLY CRUMB TINIES. Naughty little children like "Cruel Frederick", "Harriet" & "Conrad" are burnt, bit, maimed and then buried in perfect Grand Guignol fashion. Though not for everyone, The Tiger Lillies are certainly one of the most original acts around. I suppose musically they could be considered somewhat derivative. In many ways, Brecht & Weill, LA STRADA era Nino Rota & the aformentioned Tom Waits have beaten them to the punch. What sets them apart is Martyn Jacques castrati falsetto and a wicked, wicked sense of humor.

Unlike so many professed Punk bands, these guys aren't afraid to to go for the juggular. They can also be quite moving as evidenced on the ballad, Flying Robert".

Though in essence a soundtrack to a theatrical performance piece, SHOCKHEADED PETER and the Tiger Lillies do something that so rarely occurs on the Great White Way. They take that ol' Berlin Caberet cliche & hold it for ransom. They're also one of the best bands I've heard in 20 years.

Needless to say, since finding their web-site I've been throwing my filthy lucre away on their prolific canon. FROM THE BROTHEREL TO THE CEMETERY being another one of their best. Take one listen & you'll be convinced that the Devil's Circus had indeed hit town.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful 15 Jan. 2000
By Uncle Mike - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have yet to see the play--it's not coming to my town until June--but I'm getting my tickets immediately, if not sooner, simply on the basis of this recording. I'm listening to it as I write ("Fidgety-fidgety-fidgety Phil...") and I can NOT get enough. The Lillies took Kurt Weill, Spike Jones, Tim Burton, and the Brothers Grimm, threw them all in a cuisinart, and came up with pure brilliance. Not for everyone (and that may be the understatement of the year) but it's definitely for some of you. Accordians and falsettos, naughty children and bloody bits. Long live Shockheaded Peter!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A magnificent tour de force 23 Jun. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I saw this show in Los Angeles and was blown away. The translations of the original German stories - these are real bedtime stories, and they are still popular in Germany - are spot on and sparkling. The lyrics included in the liner notes are in both English and German. It's no surprise that the Tiger Lillies were drawn to these twisted cautionary tales that Germans have used for over a century to scare their kids from naughty into nice. It's an interesting cultural choice to mould your children's behavior by insisting that they will end up dead if they don't listen to you. And that is the moral of each of the stories: they're a veritable catalogue of German favorites meant to tell children precisely what will go wrong if they don't behave and listen to mummy and daddy - a sort of Dante's Inferno of children's bedtime stories. The pearl of a translation conveys the meaning of these horrific stories, but the cultural channel from Germany to England doesn't get crossed, and that rips the stories from their German context. This leaves the stories in a kind of limbo that forces the audience to pause over them one by one - something that the one act opera uses to maximum and relentless effect. This is not the suspension of disbelief of typical theatre stock, rather it is the out and out production of disbelief. It's not therapy, but it certainly is shock: the audience was galvanized and mesmerized by the crossed wires of horror and humor.

This is far beyond Brecht's bending of the rules to make social commentary: Shockheaded Peter is electric and ambiguous - and that is one hell of a combination to pull off. Together with the mind-blowing artistry of the puppeteers, and a lovely dollhouse set, the Tiger Lillies sing these twisted stories and pushed the audience's horror into hilarity - and then back again. This is Andy Kaufmann-quality stuff - that edge where you don't know what to believe. Imagine you were five years old and heard these stories: an unwanted malformed baby is buried beneath the floorboards of the stage in the first scene, only to return at the end of the opera as a life-size puppet with seven-foot fingernails; a girl who plays with matches catches her dress on fire and burns up on stage; a boy who goes out in a storm is carried off by the wind, never to be seen again. And then there's the showstopper, literally, where the omnipresent accordion-toting cabaret emcee, Martyn Jacques, won't let the opera continue until the entire audience has sung "Fred ... was ... dead" at least three times at the top of their lungs along with him. The trio seems to know no known musical limits (they do not respect respectable genres, and their monstrous musical forms are well suited to tales of accidental death brought on by a negligence to listen to, and respect, one's elders) and the puppeteers seem to keep moving the limits of their craft, inventing ever new props and puppet types to tell the twisted stories sung by the emcee.

I was lucky enough to see this show at its musical height: the C note being reached by Martyn Jacques when he felt it suited his macabre material. Clearly, the stagecraft was so honed that he had the freedom to punctuate different aspects of the stories as he saw fit to at the moment, and the trio never failed to accomodate his choices. If this is "junk," then everyone in the audience clearly became a collector: the line to buy this CD after the show was as long as the line was to get in to see it. This was quite simply a virtuoso stage performance. Two things are therefore lacking from the CD. First, it really deserved to be a DVD, as this brilliant one act show certainly deserves to be seen more than once (and not only heard), and by more people than were able to see it on tour. Second, the CD does not show the same vocal range of Martyn Jacques as it was evidenced by the show that I was lucky enough to see. Gone are the proliferation of high C's that so stunned the audience, and in their place there is a more moderated and raspy quality to Martyn Jacques' voice. So be it - it is still excellent, and if anything, this is just one more reason to make sure you see the Tiger Lillies live in whatever they are doing. In the case of Shockheaded Peter, seeing is disbelieving. A CD, even one as brilliant as this one is, cannot do justice to an art form that really has no proper name aside from "stunning."

Kat - thank you so much for the CD signed by Adrian Huge, Adrian Stout and Martyn Jacques!
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