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Focus - Hamburger Concerto CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.24 | 980 ratings

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4 stars This is another great album that Focus released during their classic period where they clearly were on top of their game. I've always though that this was a live album, mainly due to its title, but that doesn't mean that I now like it any less. Hamburger Concerto ranks among the band's top albums, although I wouldn't exactly place it on the top of my list. The main appeal here is the record's consistency where every new track adds something new to the overall style without tramping the same ground twice.

The biggest highlight moment for me is the intro to Harem Scarem that always gets my pulse going. It's true that the song was clearly designed to be a new stab at the success that was generated by Hocus Pocus. Unfortunately the lightning wouldn't strike twice for Focus but at least this track is just as exciting and even more so! The rest of the music on Hamburger Concerto progress in a similar fashion as on Moving Waves. Some might look at the two album's track listings and see very clear similarities between the two, although the biggest difference is that, by this time, Focus was a much more experienced band.

Birth is the second biggest highlight for me here. The groovy progression of the track is excellent and I often compare it's placement on the album with that of Focus II on the band's second album, making it an unofficial addition to the series. Still, it's the album's title tracks that makes or breaks the overall opinion of this album for me. Even though it might seem like a new stab at a lengthy composition like Eruption, which is not helped by the fact that both tracks have short yodeling moments that remind me strongly of Hocus Pocus. Hamburger Concerto is actually much more structured composition-wise. There are clear themes highlighted all throughout the track and the instrumental arrangements are top notch. Still, this performance has never been one of my favorites. It's a great achievement for Focus but cannot really match any of the other epics from that same era.

Hamburger Concerto was unfortunately enough the last great album by Focus and closes this chapter of the Dutch Symphonic Prog with a bang. I highly recommend this album to any serious fans of the '70s Symphonic Prog movement, even though it's not a huge favorite of mine.

***** star songs: Harem Scarem (5:52) Birth (7:46)

**** star songs: Delitae Musicae (1:13) La Cathédral De Strasbourg (4:59) Hamburger Concerto (20:19) Early Birth (2:54)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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