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Renaissance - A Song For All Seasons CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.65 | 322 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars A Song For All Seasons was released in 1978, and is generally recognised as the last of the "Prog" albums released by Renaissance, although I personally find much merit in later albums. Not all "AOR" is bad.

Anyhow, that is for future reviews. This album, of course, contains the band's best known piece of music in the wider world outside of progressive rock music fans, Northern Lights, which, deservedly, became a smash hit. It contains, in my opinion, everything that is good about this great band, the soaring lyrics of the beautiful Annie Haslam, intricate and detailed songwriting, performed with panache. I fell in love with this track, and, as a result, with the band as a young 14 year old. I remember taking the album home with me on the school bus, with "who the f**k are they?" ringing in my ear!

The remainder of the album is a glorious example of how the best Prog rock bands from this "classic period" began to reinvent their sound, approach to songwriting, and musical commercial nous. Utilising the services of David Hentschel, he of Genesis fame, and the lovely orchestrations of The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the album still sounds wonderfully fresh and vibrant, and stands as a glorious buttress amongst much of the commercial new wave fodder of the day.

It is, in truth, symphonic folk Prog rock personified, only now, with the exception of two longer, "traditional" tracks, the wonderful Day Of The Dreamer, and the title track which closes proceedings, in a shorter form. This does not mean that any of the things which made this great band so vital are compromised. It merely made them more accessible, and that is never a bad thing to this reviewer's mind. The title track is one of the finest pieces of classical symphonic rock ever put to vinyl. Jon Camp's bass lines are simply to die for, and, at their best, as here, Renaissance most certainly gave Yes a serious run for their money in this sub-genre.

Of course, longstanding fans such as I will already have this album, and it is fair to say it still divides opinion. This review is rather directed to younger folk looking to see what they might enjoy whilst trawling through Prog Archives. If you want an immediately, beautifully performed, accessible introduction to the type of pastoral music that earned us lot the derogatory "bloody hippies" title in our schooldays, then look no further.

A joy to return to, four stars for this. An excellent addition to any serious progressive rock collection.

lazland | 4/5 |


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