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Steve Hackett - A Midsummer Night's Dream CD (album) cover

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

3.58 | 153 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars A midsummer's nightmare?

A Midsummer Night's Dream is Steve Hackett's third album of Classical music. It is different from the two first ones, Bay Of Kings and Momentum, in that it features The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra backing up Steve's acoustic guitar. Another thing that makes this stand out from the previous two is that it is conceptual. Like I said in my reviews for Bay Of Kings and Momentum, I prefer to see these Classical guitar albums as making up a parallel recording career of Steve's, rather than as being part of his regular Rock career. It is obvious which one of these is of most interest to the people on this site.

While this is a beautiful Classical album with several lovely passages, I find it overall to be quite unsatisfying. I always think that Steve Hackett is best when he blends all of his diverse influences into one unified whole, rather than focusing on one aspect at a time. Here he, again, goes into Classical music and for me this is not so rewarding as his eclectic Rock albums. There are many Classical guitarists in the world, and many Blues guitarists too, and Rock guitarists, etc. But what is so special about Steve for me is his ability to fuse different styles into something unique and exciting. This ability is put on hold whenever he decides to go into one single direction for a whole album.

One problem with A Midsummer Night's Dream is that it is very long, over an hour of pure Classical guitar. Judging each piece by itself they are mostly very nice, but listening to the whole album is a quite tedious experience. Often the momentum is lost and the album cannot stay interesting for very long. It lacks diversity and any real distinguishing features. It is certainly unfair to call this high quality Classical album a midsummer's nightmare, like I did in the headline for this review. But I could not resist this play on words.

While I prefer this album slightly over both Bay Of Kings and Momentum, I can still only recommend this album to fans and collectors of Steve Hackett and to people with a strong special interest in Classical guitar music. For fans of Prog in general, I recommend sticking to Steve's Rock side.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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