Exposé Online banner

Steve Hackett with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra — A Midsummer Night's Dream
(Camino CAMCD22, 1997, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1997-10-01

A Midsummer Night's Dream Cover art

Here I am beset by another serious classical work by guitarist Steve Hackett on the new classical label, Angel (which also released Jon Anderson's Change We Must and Ian Anderson's Divinities). Written and performed on nylon string guitar by Steve with supportive accompaniment from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the music is directly based on the written work of Shakespeare making this project even more highbrow and even (here's that dreaded adjective) pretentious! But all grandiose descriptions aside, this disc is chock-full of beauty, grace and elegance. String arrangements have been thoroughly worked to provide adequate support for the lead instrument without choking the songs to death (very common in work of this kind). Steve's emotive guitar phrases brush through several courses within the 18 songs. At times several of the pieces are very lush, with support from brother, John Hackett on flute. When compared to his other solo guitar works such as Bay of Kings, this release compares favorably, but there is no melody or chord change which distinctly rings in my head when trying to recall the passion inherent in this work. I'd say the disc is blurry but rigidly focused on themes of Puck, and gaiety in the fairy kingdom. The nonsense inherent in the great bard's oratory has been transcribed into a non-vocal interpretation without few signposts to relevant parts in the story. Also as part of the disc packaging is another distinctly exceptional artwork from Kim Poor graces the front of the disc. Play it when you invite your grandma over for tea if you still have one!


Filed under: New releases, Issue 13, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): John Hackett, Steve Hackett

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

NoVox - NoVox – First off, this disc has to have one of the weirdest and most provocative cover images ever! Now beyond the graphics and on to the music. Some may remember the Dutch quartet Cliffhanger who put out...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues