Personnel includes: Steve Hackett (guitar); Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett steps into Anthony Phillips territory on this classical instrumental album inspired by the Shakespeare play, which grew into a CD-length suite recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The music is a hauntingly beautiful mix of Elizabethan, Romantic, and Modern influences, all of it highly melodic and very animated -- in contrast to most efforts in this vein by progressive rock musicians, the different sections don't loiter, and never luxuriate in their own beauty, but move forward, with well-defined and animated development, and very, very careful gradations of texture. The orchestra never overwhelms Hackett's guitar, and it is never used to hide less-than-interesting composition, because there isn't any of the latter. In all, this could be the most serious and compelling of all of Hackett's solo ventures, and one that justifies the whole field of progressive rock, if it got him to this point, crossing swords with Felix Mendelssohn et al. ~ Bruce Eder