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Focus - Hamburger Concerto CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.25 | 1127 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars In my opinion this is not the best record Focus had to offer. I put on that position the much maligned Focus III. Still , Hamburger Concerto is one of the best symphonic albums out there and certanly the best example of how a rock band could reproduce classical music. I was quite surprised of how much instruments they have used on this record specially by Thijs Van Leer. At that time former drummer Pierre Van der Linden was replaced by Collin Allen. Personally I like Van der Linden jazzier approach more and I think Colin's drums sound too loud on the mix.

This record opens with a little classical tune in the vein of former Focus compositions ( Elspeth of Nothingham comes to mind) named Delittle Musicae. Certanly a good prelude of what's to come on this record. Harem Scarem is a uptempo prog rock tune much in the vein of Hocus Pocus. Although I find some really incredible Akkerman solos and I like Thij's performance here ( weird voices and accordion included) , I find Hocus Pocus to be slightly better. Next comes one of the highlights of the record , the one and only " Cathedrale de Strasbourg" This guys managed to reproduce quite a melancholic feel here and Thij's french vocals seem to place me right in front of the cathedral on a rainy day. Sorry about that but this song always pops us this picture on my mind. Suddenly after one of the best WHISTLING! Solos I have heard the song changes into a jazzy section closing with a church-like singing by Thijs. Truly beautiful. The next one is a classical rework called "Birth" based on Thij's flute playing skills and Akkerman's chops.

Of course , the title track is the core of the record: An epic 20 minute composition that can hold up well against some of the classics. Thij's use of hapsicord gives this epic some kind of medieval or even academic music feeling. I think I am emphasizing much of his work in my review , but I can't help myself since I think this guy is one of the best musicians within progressive music. Jan Akkerman's guitarwork is nothing short of spectacular as well. Back on track , the only flaw I can find on this composition is that due to a particular Akkerman riff ( you 'll notice which one) this song always feels like it's ending. But otherwise " Hamburguer Concerto" is a majestic tune that serves as a vehicle to show how diverse and accomplished musicians those dutchmen were. Finally to close this record a rework of the " Birth" theme only this time much shorter and flute-based. I think this little tune fulfills the objective of losing this album with grandeur , specially because of Jan's guitar solo at the very end.

If you are looking for virtuoso multi- instrumentalists playing music that resembles a symphonic orchestra , then you can't miss " Hamburger Concerto". A true SYMPHONIC ROCK album if there was any.

crimson87 | 5/5 |


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