Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Hamburger Concerto (Focus, 1974)

This 20 minute suite is the title track of one of the most known and appreciated albums in the Dutch Progressive history. It's a successful mix of different genres and inspirational sources, incuding classical music of course, and especially from the baroque era, but also jazz, blues, psychedelia, and even flamenco. The miracle here is that even with such a heap of ideas and so many serious sources involved, the track is unpretentious and enjoyable, pretty and fluid.

Here's the line-up for this song: Van Leer, Akkerman, Ruiter & Allen.

Also, you'll find here an unusual quality for a prog band: humour. Joking with the two meanings of hamburger, the six parts of the suite are titled like in a burger menu: Starter / Rare / Medium I / Medium II / Well done / One for the road. And the music goes on the same, playing with religious chants and pipe organs without any fear and providing a proper space for the band members' skills. As you may imagine, Thijs van Leer's keyboards and Jan Akkerman's guitars take the leading role, but this is a choral track in all senses and the listener enjoys a real band playing a real masterpiece.