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Focus - Hamburger Concerto CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.25 | 945 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Well done!

With their fourth studio album, the Dutch progressive rock band Focus created their second masterpiece (the first was Moving Waves). With this album they returned from a more jazzy approach on Focus 3 to a more classic-oriented format.

The album starts with Delitiae Musicae, a short, medieval-sounding piece for lute and alto flute that lasts for just one minute and a few seconds. This delicate track seems almost lost on the album because it is blown away swiftly by the ballsy intro of Harem Scarem, remotely reminiscent of Hocus Pocus. This is a powerful track with some more quiet passages inbetween featuring flute or accordeon. There is some rather pointless guitar jamming in the fifth minute of the track.

La Cathédrale de Strasbourg is a quieter track with Thijs van Leer in a starring role. It has some church organ in it and Thijs van Leer singing (translated) "The cathedral of Strasbourg, ding dong, the nostalgia reveals itself", followed by some whistling in the middle part of the song. Birth closes the first side of the album with Jan Akkerman performing some beautiful guitar solos.

Hamburger Concerto, the 20-minute epic on side two, is the pièce de résistance on this album. It is divided into six parts, of which the central four are named after meat temperatures. The epic starts with some classic-sounding keyboards alternated by an electric guitar theme that serves as a chorus in the first four or five minutes. In Rare we can also hear a few notes from a Dutch children's song (The Owl Sat in the Elm Trees) incorporated. Medium I features some glossolalia and yodeling in which Thijs displays his wide-range vocal abilities, while Medium II has Jan's guitar on the foreground. Well Done starts with the overdubbed voices of Thijs singing two stanzas from the Rei van Klaerissen, a poem about the Massacre of the Innocents, taken from the history play Gijsbrecht van Aemstel. This tragedy was written by the Dutch poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679). The sung melody was written by a Dutch 17th century composer of whom the identity is uncertain. Hereafter follows the grand finale with guitar solos, followed by ARP synths, the chorus from the beginning of the epic and a Big Ben-like chime.

This album is one of the masterpieces of Dutch prog and recommended to anyone who likes classic prog. My rating: 5-.

someone_else | 5/5 |


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