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

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

3.59 | 156 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars (I got this as a cassette some years ago. I can't say it's been played a lot but the same fate would be with just about any taping of classical music, no matter how great I considered the music itself. I listen to that genre from radio daily, and occasionally from my CD's. The other effect of the cassette format is that I have never 'learned' to follow this work trackwise, like I more easily would have with a CD.)

And pure classical music this is; an orchestral suite for acoustic guitar. Surely Hackett had shown in his 'rock' recordings how the classical guitar is close to him, but here he's composing for/ working with a philharmonic orchestra for the first time. And he succeeds absolutely well, though it is clear that he has composed primarily for the guitar, backed up by the orchestra which is not present in all tracks at all. But before judging the work from that point of view one has to remember the essence of guitar as a classical concert instrument: it is a 'weak' instrument that tends to sink behind the orchestra, and it can be physically hard to play a guitar concerto. With over an hour's duration this would be a notable task for the soloist (and a bit tiring for the audience - rewarding too, no doubt), but maybe it was thought as an album rather than a concert number.

The liner notes follow the Shakespeare play, making the music a coherent whole. Hackett owes nothing to Mendelssohn or anyone who has composed this play. He has captured the fairytale-like atmosphere much better. This is beautiful music for an adult cultivated taste, a celebration of fairies, midsummer night's magic and an acoustic guitar. At least it works well as a peaceful background music for reading. (I don't give full rate as I can't entirely disagree with Rick's negative points. Good but not as exciting - especially for the arrangement - as it could be.)

Matti | 4/5 |

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