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RENAISSANCE

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Renaissance picture
Renaissance biography
There were two groups under the banner of RENAISSANCE. The first group included Keith and Jane RELF (vocals) and came from the YARDBIRDS ashes. The second and better known incarnation produced some of the best music that I have ever heard. Annie HASLAM's five octave range fit perfectly with the classical/orchestral rock (lot of piano playing & full symphony orchestra backup) created by the other members. The quick description I usually give is they are sort of like the old MOODY BLUES with a an incredible female vocalist. The soprano voice of Annie and the piano virtuosity of John TOUT allied to the beauty and refreshing melodies, the refinement of the arrangements gave their music its magnificent splendour.

My favorite RENAISSANCE albums are "Ashes Are Burning" and "Turn of the Cards". I also recommend "Novella", "Scheherezade and Other Stories" and "A Song for All Seasons" are must haves. I would add "Live At Carneige Hall" and "King Biscuit Hour Parts 1 and 2" as their 'prime' material. Plenty to fill a day with class, power and ethereal delights. The best introduction to the band would be the "Tales of 1001 Nights" compilation, which together contain of the band's best material from 72 through 80. Also the very first album from '69 is essential. After 1979, the band moved towards a more pop direction, like many other bands did in the late 70's.

Renaissance official website

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Buy RENAISSANCE Music


Ashes Are BurningAshes Are Burning
Import
Repertoire 1995
Audio CD$7.54
$5.91 (used)
Turn of the CardsTurn of the Cards
Import
Repertoire 1994
Audio CD$6.27
$6.00 (used)
Academy Of Music 1974Academy Of Music 1974
Cleopatra 2015
Audio CD$10.97
$10.96 (used)
TuscanyTuscany
Import
REPERTOIRE 2011
Audio CD$7.61
$7.60 (used)
Live at the Carnegie HallLive at the Carnegie Hall
Import · Remastered
Repertoire 2008
Audio CD$8.93
$32.00 (used)
Live at Carnegie HallLive at Carnegie Hall
Import
Repertoire 1994
Audio CD$8.80
$5.81 (used)
Scheherazade And Other Stories-The Deluxe EditionScheherazade And Other Stories-The Deluxe Edition
Remastered
Friday Music 2015
Audio CD$20.18
$19.96 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Renaissance Sings David Ingles - Arranged & Conducted by Rick Powell - 1977 LP USD $14.40 Buy It Now
Renaissance Illusion - Through The Fire (NEW CD) USD $15.86 Buy It Now
ANTIQUA/TURNER -EL SIGLO DE ORO:SPANISH SACRED MUSIC OF THE RENAISSANCE 2CD NEW+ USD $25.34 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE & BAROQUE MUSIC: ENGLAND, FRANCE, FLANDERS, GERMANY NEW CD USD $23.15 Buy It Now
AKERCOCKE - RENAISSANCE IN EXTREMIS NEW CD USD $18.21 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE & BAROQUE MUSIC: ENGLAND, FRANCE, FLANDERS, GERMANY USED - VERY GOOD USD $21.04 Buy It Now
Renaissance A Song For All Seasons 1978 Vinyl LP Promotional Copy USD $19.99 Buy It Now
BEN WEBSTER At The Renaissance Chrome Cassette Fantasy Berkeley California Jazz USD $33.00 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE Turn Of The Cards AIRAC-1533 CD JAPAN 2009 OBI USD $150.45 Buy It Now
NEW Sacred Music in the Renaissance, Vol. 2 (Audio CD) USD $33.31 Buy It Now
HOLOCROSS s/t 1988 US ORG Private Pressing METAL LP Pittsburgh NEW RENAISSANCE USD $50.00 Buy It Now
NEW Renaissance Radio (Audio CD) USD $24.98 Buy It Now
LA MAURACHE, MELUSIDE un bal renaissance UNIDISC LP EX++ USD $24.00 Buy It Now
NEW A Musical Journey into the English Renaissance (Audio CD) USD $25.73 Buy It Now
Renaissance Ensemble V. NESTEROV Madrigals & Songs LASSO, GABRIELI * MELODIYA USD $29.90 Buy It Now
NEW The Tallis Scholars - Renaissance Giants (Audio CD) USD $24.22 Buy It Now
JAMAALADEEN TACUMA - RENAISSANCE MAN - OBI JAPAN LP USD $39.99 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE PRESENTS NIC FANCIULLI 2XCD USD $5.91 Buy It Now 19m 33s
THE GOLDEN VIRGINS - RENAISSANCE KID - 7" VINYL SINGLE - MINT USD $3.29 Buy It Now 30m 50s
?FREESHIPPING?RENAISSANCE?ILLUSION+4?JAPAN MEGA RARE OOP SHM-CD NEW?UICY-20130 USD $45.00 Buy It Now 49m 48s
Spanish Mexican Renaissance Vocal Music Hilliard Ensemble EMI (2CDs BOX) OOP USD $79.90 Buy It Now 1h 15m
The Renaissance EP CD (2001) USD $3.26 Buy It Now 1h 16m
Audio CD Light & Spirit - Sacred Renaissance Music - Christian, Hans - USD $7.24 Buy It Now 1h 16m
Renaissance America vol. 1 mixed by Dave Seaman (CD 1999) USD $26.46 Buy It Now 1h 52m
JAZZ 3 CASSETTE Lot- Ornette Coleman Quartet & Branford Marsalis Renaissance USD $8.00 Buy It Now 2h 4m
WALTER GERWIG laute RENAISSANCE HARMINIA MUNDI LP JAPAN USD $15.67 Buy It Now 2h 43m
Big Band Renaissance:Evolution Jazz 40's>Smithsonian Box Set UNUSED Cassettes A1 USD $25.00 Buy It Now 2h 45m
RENAISSANCE A Song For All Seasons LP Japan P-10525W RARE Like NEW USD $45.00 Buy It Now 2h 52m
RENAISSANCE - Illusion SHM-CD mini-LP UICY94095 (Japan) RARE NEW USD $45.00 Buy It Now 2h 54m
RENAISSANCE - 2 SHM-CD Set mini-LP "Prologue" & "Ashes Are Burning" (Japan) NEW USD $95.00 Buy It Now 2h 55m
new/sealed CD: Salacious Chansons and Other Renaissance Ribaldry, 717794357226 USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3h 23m
Renaissance by Lionel Richie (CD, Mar-2001, Island (Label)) USD $16.74 Buy It Now 3h 25m
CHIMURENGA RENAISSANCE - Girlz With Gunz - Vinyl (LP + MP3 download code) USD $20.97 Buy It Now 3h 26m
RENAISSANCE - LIVE FILLMORE WEST 1970 USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $13.40 Buy It Now 3h 27m
The Renaissance 12" Vinyl LP SEALED, Cover NM R7077 USD $19.45 Buy It Now 3h 33m
ENRICO RAVA QUARTET-RENAISSANCE-JAPAN MINI LP SACD J76 USD $40.50 Buy It Now 3h 34m
RENAISSANCE - LIVE FILLMORE WEST 1970 NEW CD USD $15.75 Buy It Now 3h 34m
RENAISSANCE-DELANE LEA STUDIOS 1973 VINYL LP NEW USD $24.56 Buy It Now 3h 34m
JEFF BERNAT - MODERN RENAISSANCE NEW CD USD $36.60 Buy It Now 3h 35m
Audio CD A Touch of Renaissance - Mistress Bawd - Free Shipping USD $5.95 Buy It Now 3h 36m
MILLER,MARCUS-RENAISSANCE CD NEW USD $14.72 Buy It Now 3h 41m
Renaissance - A Song For All Season - 1978 UK - Warner Bros - K 56460 - Vinyl LP USD $6.55 Buy It Now 3h 42m
THE ALFRED DELLER CONSORT MADRIGAL MASTERPIECES LP VANGUARD RENAISSANCE VG+ USD $5.99 Buy It Now 3h 48m
RENAISSANCE NOVELLA MINI LP CD OBI USD $12.90 Buy It Now 3h 49m
CALLIOPE (RENAISSANCE BAND)/CALLIOPE - SWINGS (NEW CD) USD $16.02 Buy It Now 3h 50m
PIVA: RENAISSANCE SONG (NEW CD) USD $6.80 Buy It Now 3h 50m
LOVE & RECONQUEST: MUSIC FROM RENAISSANCE SPAIN (NEW CD) USD $12.42 Buy It Now 3h 50m
RENAISSANCE - RENAISSANCE [REPERTOIRE] (NEW CD) USD $9.66 Buy It Now 3h 52m
RENAISSANCE - ILLUSION (NEW CD) USD $13.05 Buy It Now 3h 52m
MUSIC OF THE POLISH RENAISSANCE (NEW CD) USD $8.92 Buy It Now 3h 52m
FAUN - RENAISSANCE USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $31.28 Buy It Now 3h 52m
RENAISSANCE ASHES ARE BURNING MINI LP CD OBI + BONUS TRACK USD $12.90 Buy It Now 3h 53m
Renaissance by Stephen Scott/Stephen Scott Trio (CD, Feb-1995, Verve) USD $16.74 Buy It Now 4h 15m
M People - Renaissance 7"- 74321 19413 7 - Ex USD $4.30 Buy It Now 4h 16m
The Da Vinci Collection-Music of the Renaissance USD $5.63 Buy It Now 4h 16m
Renaissance Mix Collection 2 - John Digweed RARE 3CD Sasha Bedrock Global GU USD $19.84 Buy It Now 4h 19m
FAUN - RENAISSANCE NEW CD USD $30.82 Buy It Now 4h 20m
Sasha & Digweed - Renaissance Mix Collection 3xCD Bedrock Global GU Balance USD $39.69 Buy It Now 4h 23m
Virtuoso Music for Flute & Guitar: Renaissance Dances (CD, Oct-1995, Curb) USD $13.98 Buy It Now 4h 26m
Chorearum Collectanea INSTRUMENTAL DANCES OF THE LATE RENAISsance HUN LPX 11498 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 4h 29m
NICE CONDITION ASWAD RENAISSANCE 1988 CD USD $5.09 Buy It Now 4h 42m
Renaissance: Music For Inner Peace * by The Sixteen (Choir)/Harry... USD $18.53 Buy It Now 4h 42m
Renaissance - Back Home Once Again 7" - K 17012 matrix A1/B1 - Ex USD $8.59 Buy It Now 4h 57m
Collegium Terpsichor - Dances of the Renaissance [New CD] France - Import USD $8.19 Buy It Now 5h 10m
Renaissance-Music from Advent to Christmas -Vinyl Lp-Free UK Post USD $16.67 Buy It Now 5h 12m
Renaissance - Azure D' Or LP Embossed Sleeve - WB 56 633 - VG+ USD $11.89 Buy It Now 5h 15m
KONRAD RAGOSSNIG, TANZMUSIK DER RENAISSANCE, CLASSICAL LP, EX.EX.ARCHIV 1972 UK USD $2.63 [0 bids]
5h 17m
DEEP DISH - Renaissance Ibiza - 2 CD - Limited Edition - BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED USD $47.95 Buy It Now 5h 22m
Renaissance Choral Music For Christmas - Nonesuch Records LP - Germany H-71095 USD $11.99 Buy It Now 5h 32m
ILLUSION Renaissance Out Of The Mist 1977 VINYL LP UK Import ISLAND Jane Relf USD $15.00 Buy It Now 5h 36m
Renaissance Wedding Gift, New Music USD $13.03 Buy It Now 5h 40m
Jewels of the Renaissance Era - V/A Compact Disc USD $20.65 Buy It Now 5h 52m
Renaissance Vocal Music~English/Italian Madrigals~French Chansons SEALED USD $16.96 Buy It Now 6h 19m
RENAISSANCE Scheherazade & STORIES JAPAN TO THE ORIGINAL LP IN A OBI SEALED CD USD $127.49 Buy It Now 6h 21m
NEW Luv N Haight Edit Series Vol 4: Black Renaissance (Vinyl) USD $23.46 Buy It Now 6h 22m
Collegium Terpsichor - Dances of the Renaissance [New CD] France - Import USD $8.13 Buy It Now 6h 24m
Blue Heron Renaissance Choi...-V 2: Music From The Peterhouse CD NEW USD $17.67 Buy It Now 6h 25m
Renaissance & Celtic Harp 1998 by Stephanie Claussen USD $11.60 Buy It Now 6h 25m
An Ars Antiqua Renaissance by Dorothy Amarandos USD $30.00 Buy It Now 6h 29m
The Kanes : Welcome to the Renaissance CD USD $4.12 Buy It Now 6h 41m
Harlem Renaissance - High in Love [New CD] Duplicated CD USD $13.05 Buy It Now 6h 44m
Stanley, Adam : Requisite Renaissance CD USD $4.99 Buy It Now 6h 48m
Unknown Artist : Renaissance CD USD $5.81 Buy It Now 6h 51m
Guillaume Dufay: Domweihmotette 1973 LP Medieval, Middle Ages, Renaissance LP USD $24.00 Buy It Now 6h 52m
Renaissance Christmas : Renaissance Xmas CD USD $4.00 Buy It Now 6h 59m
Harlem Renaissance - High in Love [New CD] Duplicated CD USD $12.63 Buy It Now 7h 9m
A Song For All Seasons Renaissance SRK6049 33RPM Record 032017RR USD $16.74 Buy It Now 7h 11m
James Tyler Music of the Renaissance Virtuosi - James Tyler Nigel North Lutes USD $28.00 Buy It Now 7h 26m
Josh Rosenthal - Renaissance [New CD] USD $10.99 Buy It Now 7h 42m
Unknown Artist : Renaissance CD USD $4.49 Buy It Now 7h 49m
2 X Renaissance Hammersmith Odeon, London Tickets USD $3.96 [0 bids]
7h 49m
Danger Deluxxe : Renaissance CD USD $5.49 Buy It Now 7h 52m
The Art Department - Renaissance the Mix Collection - New CD USD $15.86 Buy It Now 7h 53m
Unknown Artist : Wind Riders - The Renaissance of the Nat CD USD $4.00 Buy It Now 7h 59m
Renaissance Love Songs 1997 by Jacob Heringman; Catherine Bo - Disc Only No Case USD $3.03 Buy It Now 8h
Branford Marsalis ?- Renaissance 1987 UK LP USD $6.55 Buy It Now 8h 6m
Time Life  Classic Rock  Rock Renaissance III 3  22 Obscure Songs  60s  Minty CD USD $20.00 Buy It Now 8h 8m
Renaissance - Novella [1CD, Korea Version] Annie Haslam USD $9.00 Buy It Now 8h 17m
THE RENAISSANCE - SEASONS - RARE 1977 STILL SEALED LP ! ! ! ! USD $12.95 Buy It Now 8h 18m
THE RENAISSANCE - SOMETHING GOOD IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN - ULTRA RARE 1976 SEALED LP! USD $27.95 Buy It Now 8h 22m

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RENAISSANCE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RENAISSANCE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.73 | 301 ratings
Renaissance
1969
3.06 | 215 ratings
Illusion
1971
3.71 | 382 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.22 | 633 ratings
Ashes Are Burning
1973
4.08 | 556 ratings
Turn Of The Cards
1974
4.31 | 1047 ratings
Scheherazade And Other Stories
1975
3.72 | 345 ratings
Novella
1977
3.62 | 310 ratings
A Song For All Seasons
1978
3.00 | 178 ratings
Azure D'Or
1979
2.41 | 115 ratings
Camera Camera
1981
1.61 | 102 ratings
Time-Line
1983
2.13 | 65 ratings
The Other Woman
1995
2.89 | 53 ratings
Ocean Gypsy
1997
2.16 | 59 ratings
Songs From Renaissance Days
1997
3.03 | 96 ratings
Tuscany
2000
3.27 | 117 ratings
Grandine Il Vento [Aka: Symphony Of Light]
2013

RENAISSANCE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.25 | 201 ratings
Live At Carnegie Hall
1976
3.80 | 55 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 1
1997
3.68 | 52 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 2
1997
3.84 | 24 ratings
BBC Sessions
1999
4.08 | 11 ratings
Day of the Dreamer
2000
2.45 | 12 ratings
Unplugged - Live at The Academy of Music, Philadelphia USA
2000
3.19 | 14 ratings
Can You Hear Me
2001
3.32 | 12 ratings
Mother Russia
2002
3.90 | 10 ratings
Live + Direct
2002
3.50 | 38 ratings
In The Land Of The Rising Sun
2002
3.20 | 11 ratings
British Tour '76
2006
3.19 | 14 ratings
Dreams & Omens
2008
4.15 | 25 ratings
Turn Of The Cards & Scheherazade And Other Stories - Live In Concert
2011
3.91 | 2 ratings
Past Orbits Of Dust: Live 1969/1970
2012
3.14 | 15 ratings
DeLane Lea Studios 1973
2015
4.05 | 10 ratings
Academy Of Music 1974
2015

RENAISSANCE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.89 | 22 ratings
Song of Scheherazade
2008
3.97 | 13 ratings
Kings And Queens
2010
4.70 | 8 ratings
Live at the Union Chapel
2016
3.91 | 4 ratings
Live at the BBC Sight & Sound
2016

RENAISSANCE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.57 | 12 ratings
In the Beginning
1978
4.00 | 3 ratings
Rock Galaxy
1980
3.44 | 30 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1
1990
3.21 | 30 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2
1990
3.45 | 16 ratings
Da Capo
1995
2.53 | 5 ratings
Innocence
1998
2.57 | 4 ratings
Trip To The Fair
1998
3.83 | 3 ratings
Songs For All Seasons
2002
4.00 | 2 ratings
Heritage
2003
2.00 | 4 ratings
Midas Man
2003

RENAISSANCE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Island
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Prologue
1972
3.00 | 2 ratings
Northern Lights
1978
1.20 | 7 ratings
Faeries (Living At The Bottom Of My Garden)
1981
3.57 | 16 ratings
The Mystic And The Muse
2010

RENAISSANCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 DeLane Lea Studios 1973 by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 2015
3.14 | 15 ratings

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DeLane Lea Studios 1973
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by rogerthat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Annie Haslam, vocalist of Renaissance, earned the sobriquet of Queen of progressive rock for her incredible exploits. But even she had to start somewhere. Given that her first proper band experience (excluding the cabaret band she was in earlier) was with Renaissance, she was still finding her feet in the early years. While her innate talent and classical training gave her a headstart, the contrast with her mid 70s peak is pretty stark.

As it is, unfortunately, on this album. On the face of it, the track selection alone should make this album, taken from a 1973 concert at DeLane Lea studios, a winner, even within the cornucopia of Renaissance live albums. Let It Grow, At The Harbour and Sounds of the Sea aren't on any official live releases of the band, though the former did make it to Annie Haslam's solo live album Brazilian Skies. Further, Andy Powell and Al Stewart guest on Ashes Are Burning, making it one of only two recorded live performances which have the guitar solo (the other being the Academy of Music concert).

But, as said above, Annie is yet to attain the sheer, frightening perfection she would only a couple of years down the line. There are pitch issues but I wouldn't mind them so much if not for another issue that really spotlights them: her attack. At this point, her attack is still a bit harsh and it makes her singing sound stiff (in comparison to what she would go on to do). If you were to compare her performance of Carpet of the Sun here to the one on Midnight Special in 1977, it is particularly evident. There was, after all, a point of time when even a singer as great as her was worried about getting it right. Ironically, this fear pushes her into committing more errors than she would in concerts from later on where she simply cut loose.

Not to worry, Annie's B minus game is still pretty damn good and the vocalese coda of Sounds of the Sea is especially gorgeous, with an unexpected twist at the end. There is also the mesmerizing coda of At The Harbour to savour. And as in so many other shows, she raises her game come time to perform Ashes Are Burning. The musicians perform their parts impeccably well and with feeling, which too forgives a lot. The sound isn't awesome but it will do. So what gives?

Just that there isn't a compelling reason to add one more Renaissance live album to your collection here. Not unless you are particularly fond of the rawness of bands in their early days, say like the popular music reviewer George Starostin. Me, I do like the rawness but only when it adds to the energy of the performance. Rawness can also mean hesitation and lack of confidence and there's more of that here. Renaissance gave better concerts than this one and plenty of them. But if you do get this album, you won't regret it.

 Scheherazade And Other Stories by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.31 | 1047 ratings

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Scheherazade And Other Stories
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by RossJWarren

5 stars I belive this to be the very best album from the classic line up. Sadly at the time it failed to click with the public, and the band remained critically mostly highly respected but there was no breakthrough into mega sales. However this is one recording that really rewards repeated listening. There absolutely no filler here, you are left wanting more. The only criticism I could honestly come up with is that perhaps the lyrics to Trip to the fair, might be a little repetitive, the story is not toled well. However this hardly distract from the opening track which is excellent. Annies voice is wonderful throughout, and utterly captivating during Oceanne Gypsy. The 2nd side is as good an example of symphonic prog you could wish to hear. THe vocals drive the story nicely. Can anyone else` hear the theme that Lloyd-Webber borrowed for his requiem in here?

Such an important recording should be found in all good progressive rock collections, I cannot see any good reason not to award all 5 Stars, as this one truly deserves it.

 Scheherazade And Other Stories by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.31 | 1047 ratings

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Scheherazade And Other Stories
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars Symphonic crossover prog?: 8/10

I would have never expected that the rather folksy and vocal and piano oriented RENAISSANCE (at least here) could be so appealing. This formula made me apprehensive because (for some reason) female vocals and classical piano are my biggest turn-offs. Luckily, we're talking about Anne Haslam and John Tout (respectively), which does present a much greater variety than I could ever expect.

The opener, A Trip to the Fair is initiated by a melancholic, dramatic piano, followed right after by the main section where Haslam's vocals are prominent. Her timbre is mezzo-soprano, although easily prone to attending higher notes; her voice is robust and powerful, really similar to HEART's Ann Wilson. Loved it. There is a short jazzy interlude, followed by a powerfully symphonic end. Right away, the introduction of RENAISSANCE's strong points (vocals + piano) is optimal.

Truth be told, for as progressive as they might, by definition, be, throughout the first three tracks there is little to call "innovative". The lack of instrumental prominence and heavy folksy tone is perhaps one of the clearest examples of the relative "simplicity", even with the usage of various keyboards and (mildly) complex arrangements. Of course, this didn't depreciate the album, but I assume crossover prog fans will enjoy it much more than symphonic prog ones.

However, we still haven't spoken about the high point, which is Song of Scheherazade - the full blown symphonic nine-sections suit that honors RENAISSANCE's labeling.

I can imagine sometimes song epics can feel boring. Twenty minutes of music can be tiresome if done unwisely. Perhaps RENAISSANCE was afraid that pianos and vocals couldn't entertain the crowd for so long. Therefore, the best option naturally is to literally make a movie-song. I mean it. The sections are (almost) perfectly divided into what could be "scenes". For instance, the introduction sounds terrifyingly a lot to what could be the soundtrack of a 60s Hollywood movie with the same name. Picture this: static shots of Muslim spearmen wandering on desert hills; lavish (Turkish) villages with sprawling markets shown by a helicopter shot, yadda yadda yadda. This is by no means a flaw, it's so cool actually. It's a surprising burst of adrenaline of a band that was sounding so soft until very little ago. The story is told linearly. There are many mood variations, ranging from slower but no less melodramatic parts to nice symphonic-jazz parts with a healthy dose of flutes and "epic" brass. The outro is terrific: atop the emotional symphony in the background, a choir (lead by Haslam, of course), powerfully chants Scheherazade's name. Maybe she killed the Sultan. Oops, spoilers.

The first side is not dull by any means, but calling it compelling would be a stretch. Worth of three stars for me. However, Scheherazade's brazen, blatant cinematographical pretension and its success doing so raise the bar quite a lot. I'm conflicted on the rating - whether 8 or 9 out of ten, so this might change in the future. What won't change for is my recommendation that any symphonic fan should grab a copy of this to enjoy the astounding Song of SCHEHERUAZAAAAAAAAAAAAAADE...

I mean it, it's pretty good.

 Live at the BBC Sight & Sound by RENAISSANCE album cover DVD/Video, 2016
3.91 | 4 ratings

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Live at the BBC Sight & Sound
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by rogerthat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Repertoire Records has previously dug out the De Lane Studios and Academy of Music concerts of Renaissance for official release. In comparison, this 'Live at the BBC Sight & Sound' package includes material that fans are well acquainted with. It draws from the previous BBC Sessions CD and adds, as the main attraction, video of the concert performed by Renaissance at the Hippodrome, London in 1977 as part of the Sight & Sound in Concert series. However, this main attraction has already been available, 'unofficially', on youtube for a few years now, something that the band acknowledged while promoting this release on their facebook package.

I was excited as this was the only colour footage taken from a live performance given by the band in the 70s. And it is a beautifully shot concert, way ahead of all of the band's DVDs including the recent ones in that aspect, covering the band from a whole variety of angles. However, when I saw the nervous look on Annie Haslam's face in the first close up shot in the concert as they perform Carpet of the Sun, I began to have misgivings. After a somewhat glaring misstep (hard to be too harsh when somebody's got a voice like that) towards the end of that song, her confidence seems to drop even more and she wears a kind of anxious and downcast look through the rest of the show, for the most part. The wide variety of giggles and grins sported by her in shows over the years attest to how unusual it is for her to be that aloof while performing. I didn't mind the show on the whole but I was also not overwhelmed and just said to myself that you can't have it all. Maybe best quality audio and video had to come at the (slight) expense of musical quality and show(woman)ship.

So I decided to play the audio CD version of the concert, just to see if the audio was better on it as compared to the DVD (it was). And I began to get a different impression of the concert, indeed of Annie's singing. On video, she looks tentative, perhaps weighed down by her perfectionist streak and perhaps also battling a throat that was protesting the workload she had imposed on it. But, on audio, I heard beautiful, confident and expressive renditions, as always. Yes, with those little missteps hither and thither, but it is much harder to notice when the sheer quality of her vocal delivery overwhelms you.

Turns out the Sight & Sound concert is another fine example of Annie's quiet resilience. Perhaps she may have been embattled by inner demons and may have completely abdicated the role of frontperson for this show to the more composed Jon Camp but she was still striving to give her best song after song and did not disappoint the eager fans who had turned up to watch the show. I could finally put in perspective the enthusiastic cheering from the crowd after every song. No, it is not that they were forgiving. It is that she and the band as such had truly mounted a wonderful show, in spite of the somewhat scripted quality these Sight & Sound shows have compared to less high profile performances by Renaissance (or other bands). My pick would be Ocean Gypsy but don't miss John Tout's wonderful piano work on Mother Russia. There are some fine, subtle variations in there that he's sneaked in unobtrusively without altering the spirit of the composition.

He is bolder still on the 1975 Sight & Sound show, also performed at the Hippodrome, shining especially on Ashes Are Burning, where he attempts a modest harmonic expedition rather than trying to play fast. No, it's not the second coming of Dave Stewart but it's still the most interesting keyboard solo I have heard from John Tout on this track. He's on a roll as such on this show and some of his best work on Ocean Gypsy can also be heard here. Annie is in finer voice, that is to say more like her usual, frighteningly invincible self and knocks Ashes Are Burning in particular out of the park. If I haven't said much if anything about the others, it's only because there isn't much to add except to say they are all in reliably good form, just as fine as on any of the other shows from the 70s.

The Paris Theater show is also a fine set but there's little to add because the song selections overlap, barring Song of Scheherzade. It is a more by-the-book set compared to the 1975 show. There is also a little trio of songs performed as part of 'BBC Sessions' first released on radio in 1978. Of these, Day of the Dreamer turns out best and has some lovely bass playing by Camp, especially in the slow second verse.

So, is it worth it at the end of it all? If you are only interested in the DVD, maybe not, because you necessarily have to buy the full compilation of Renaissance's BBC appearances. Maybe they could have (and can still) release the DVD as a standalone purchase. But if you don't have the earlier BBC Sessions release, it is well worth the money. Not only because the performances are good but because the recordings are top notch too, easily better than Live at Carnegie Hall or Live at Albert Hall. You do miss the orchestra here, but as I have said in other reviews, the orchestra was never a quintessential aspect of Renaissance's live shows, only a special addition in a select few shows. If you want to hear Renaissance the way they usually were, except a bit more formal, this is a fine place to start.

 Live At Carnegie Hall by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 1976
4.25 | 201 ratings

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Live At Carnegie Hall
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 114

"Live At Carnegie Hall" is the debut live album of Renaissance and was released in 1976. It features songs from all their studio albums that were attended by the new Renaissance's line up, until then, which corresponds too, to their musical golden era. The release of this live album was taken from a live show recorded at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1975, which was performed with the backing of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Carnegie Hall is a famous New York theatre better known for its classical performances than for rock concerts. Curiously, or maybe not, this was the local chosen by Renaissance to present this live performance. Sincerely, I'm convinced that this local was purposeful and not by chance, because their sound is so close to the classical music that made a complete sense to play this live show in that place.

However, Renaissance was for some unknown reasons always more popular in the USA than in Europe. So, it was quite natural to record their classic live album over there. "Live At Carnegie Hall" featured songs from their four previous studio albums, and proved that the band could pull off their complex and orchestral compositions and arrangements very well on stage, too. When I say "their four previous studio albums", I mean the first four studio albums from their second line up, "Prologue", "Ashes Are Burning", "Turn Of The Cards" and "Scheherazade And Other Stories". So, it not includes "Renaissance" and "Illusion", the two debut studio albums that belong to their first and completely different line up. Anyway, these four albums are in general considered their four best studio albums, at least three of them, "Scheherazade And Other Stories", "Turn Of The Cards" and "Ashes Are Burning", for this precise order.

About the performance of the line up on this album, Annie Haslam is the obvious starting point with her pure five octave range that she uses so well. To the keyboardist John Tout lacks, perhaps, the stage presence of Rick Wakeman, but his playing is a key part of Renaissance's instrumental sections. The acoustic guitarist Michael Dunford is equally retiring. He composes the bulk of the material with the non playing lyricist Betty Thatcher. The bassist Jon Camp is all over the play and often his runs are more like lead than part of the rhythm section making a perfect interplay with the energetic drumming of Terence Sullivan. It's the interplay between both that gives the band such a vibrant energy.

The tracks performed on this live set were "Prologue" from "Prologue", "Can You Understand", "Carpet On The Sun" and "Ashes Are Burning" from "Ashes Are Burning", "Running Hard" and "Mother Russia" from "Turn Of The Cards" and "Ocean Gypsy" and "Song Of Scheherazade" from "Scheherazade And Other Stories". About the live performance of them, the title track from "Prologue" kicks it all off, and is followed by strong versions of "Ocean Gypsy", "Can You Understand", "Carpet Of The Sun", "Running Hard" and "Mother Russia". All these versions may not add anything that the studio recordings didn't have, but it's still great to listen to them in a live setting. The band also talks and comments a lot between the songs, adding a very interesting and familiar magic live atmosphere that far too many live albums lack. These are all tracks included on the first record. The second record in the set is taken up by only two tracks. First we have, of course, their great suite "Song Of Scheherazade". What is really very interesting about this track is that the album itself was actually still not released when the band played it here. So, you can imagine that the audience must have gotten some quite enormous expectations for it after listen to this track for the first time, that night. But the real highlight of the album is the fantastic 23 minute version of "Ashes Are Burning". This is one of the best performances the band ever caught on vinyl, and Camp delivers some of the most beautiful bass playing I've ever heard from him. In reality, "Live At Carnegie Hall" remains as one of the best live albums from a progressive rock band in the 70's.

Conclusion: There are some bands that are equally good performing on studio or live and Renaissance is one of those cases. "Live At Carnegie Hall" has great live performances, the repertoire chosen is magnificent and the live sound quality is excellent. All of these factors contribute that "Live At Carnegie Hall" be one of the best live albums ever made. This album is simply amazing and it has true fantastic musical live moments and basically it represents some of the best material from their golden era. All their musical performance is absolutely irreproachable, but the live performance of the second part of the concert is completely unforgettable. The 30 minutes of the "Scheherazade" suite is absolutely amazing and particularly the live version of "Ashes Are Burning" is, for me, even better than the original studio version. It's the highest musical moment of this live set. "Live At Carnegie Hall" is, perhaps, the best way to describe Renaissance's music for those who aren't yet familiarized with the typical sound of the band. This is one of the best postcards of the group and subsequently, one of the best musical works that can introduce anyone into their music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Grandine Il Vento [Aka: Symphony Of Light] by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.27 | 117 ratings

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Grandine Il Vento [Aka: Symphony Of Light]
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars A fitting Tribute to Michael Dunford, and a Great Return to Form.

It took a long time. Thank goodness for crowd-funding. Like so many other wonderful 70s bands, record company pressure forced a change in their sound. You first hear it in 1979's Azure D'Or (although still a decent album), but the changes would continue with Camera Camera and degenerate to the point of no return in Time Line (where the band's time line literally ended, for a long while). For some reason, it took Renaissance much longer than other bands for the two key members to get back together to make a new album (both Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford tried their own separate versions of Renaissance in the 1990s, but those don't cut it). I am very glad they finally did. Michael Dunford passed away during the recording of this album, after writing most of the material. It is a testament to his strengths as a composer that this material is as good as it is. Annie Haslam writes all the lyrics here, which are (mostly) very good, and although her voice has aged she sounds very good for a 65 year old. She has that same presence, and is still able to hit those (very) high notes.

Musically and stylistically, this album comes closest to A Song for All Seasons. The song "A Symphony of Light" opens the album, and (on the first release, before the bonus tracks) the song "The Mystic and the Muse" closes it. These are the two best and most musical songs, as well as the longest and most progressive, on the album. In between are a number of songs of mixed quality, with most of the album fairly soft, slow and mature. (So, again, in its structure it mirrors A Song for All Seasons). Some of the other tunes are quite good. "Blood Silver Lake Moonlight" is probably the third-best tune, and features a duet with Annie Haslam and John Wetton. In also find "Waterfall" to be quite musical, as well as parts of "Grandine Il Vento" and "Air of Drama". On the other hand, I find "Porcelain" and "Cry to the World" to be weak, in the same way that some of the songs in the middle of A Song for All Seasons are weak (that is, a bit too cheesy, with some trite lyrics). Three bonus tracks were added to the initial release, with two of these explicitly written as tributes to Michael Dunford and recorded after his death ("Immortal Beloved" and "Renaissance Man") although the third also sounds like a tribute to my ears ("Tonight"). These are all decent. Of these three, I like "Tonight" the best musically, but all three fit very well with the rest of the album, and together add up to a very fitting tribute. I agree that this is the best Renaissance album in almost 40 years. Who knows if Renaissance will make another album, but even if this turns out to be their last it is a great gift to the world. All taken together, I give this album 7.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to (high) 3 PA stars.

 Camera Camera by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.41 | 115 ratings

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Camera Camera
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

2 stars Things Get Dicey...

Under strong pressure to produce a hit, Renaissance, now reduced to only three members, gave in and went full-hog into the early 80s new wave sound with an eye on radio play. The result is, shall we say, less than flattering. Unlike Azure D'Or, which kept its dignity and class even in the face of a complete change in sound, Camera Camera just comes across as crass. Even the photos on the album show them pandering. Of course, this being Renaissance, there is still some decent music on this album, but it is dwarfed by the majority of tunes which are generally quite bad. There are basically three songs here that I like and can listen to: "Tyrant-Tula", "Okichi-San", and the closer, "Ukraine Ways". The other 6 tunes range in quality from throwaway downward. But even these three decent tunes are not good enough to warrant making this part of your Renaissance collection. I give this album 3.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to low 2 PA stars. Only for dedicated fans and archivists.

 Azure D'Or by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.00 | 178 ratings

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Azure D'Or
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars A Change in Sound, but still OK.

This is the album where Renaissance gave in to the record company, and began writing directly for radio exposure, melding a distinctly early British new wave sound into their own style. The result is that if you did not know in advance, you might not realize this is Renaissance when you hear it. All of the songs here are short and poppy, and use lots of synth. Saying this, this is the best of their new wavey albums, and I don't think any of these songs are bad. They won't turn you off. But most of them are not that good either. The best tracks are the opener and the closer, "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Flood at Lyons" - these are really the only memorable tunes. Some other tracks, including "Winter Tree", and "Only Angels Have Wings" have some charm too. There is one decent instrumental too, "Discovery", which would have been a great introductory section to an extended epic, but alas it just ends instead of morphing into another tune like would have happened on one of their earlier albums. The general effect is one of a nice pleasant album but one you don't really remember or care about too much. Definitely not as bad as the two albums that would follow this one. I give this album 5.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates as low 3 PA stars.

 A Song For All Seasons by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.62 | 310 ratings

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A Song For All Seasons
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Mixed, but still rooted in their classic sound.

This is the last Renaissance album to contain the classic sound of their previous albums. The late 70s found record companies pushing artists to produce more hits and to adapt to the new sounds that were coming out on the radio (whether punk, disco, or new wave). While Renaissance would do this on their next album (Azure D'Or), A Song for All Seasons avoids such temptations, but it is still clear that they have compromised, mainly by mixing shorter more catchy songs among their longer extended compositions. The result is an album that is both is a mix of Novella (and its extended symphonic approach), and of a more 70s-contemporary AOR approach with a bunch of four-minute tunes meant to please the record company execs. The structure is in the form of a sandwich. The good (extended) compositions come at the beginning, and end, of the album, with the shorter AOR pieces in the middle. Of course, the three best tracks are the ones in the former mode. These are "Opening Out", "Day of the Dreamer" and the title track "A Song for All Seasons", which although only three tracks they take up more than half of the album (since these are the longer tunes). These are the tracks that make the album worth getting. Of the middle/shorter tracks, I find only "Northern Lights" does anything for me. The other songs are not bad though - nothing off-putting, just too fluffy and mainstream-AOR sounding for my taste (unlike later albums like Camera Camera and Timeline, which contain some actually bad songs). I give this album 6.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to mid 3 PA stars.

 Novella by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.72 | 345 ratings

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Novella
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars High Quality, if Slower.

Building on the symphonic approach they developed on their previous album (Scheherazade and other stories), Novella continues with extended pieces that develop over multiple sections, and that use the interaction between the music and lyrics to wax philosophically about life. This album has been faulted by some reviewers for being slow, and for sure it is slower (in tempo, and in getting to the punchline) than their earlier albums. It leans more on the progressive symphonic build-ups, and less on standard rock approaches. But what they sacrifice in rocking edge, they gain in subtlety and compositional development. This is the most mature-sounding album in the whole Renaissance catalogue. They very clearly are not interested here in commercial success, but instead on making lasting quality music. And it works. The album begins with "Can You Hear Me?", a tune which both harkens back to their earlier pieces like "Can you understand" and to the first tune on their previous album "A Trip to the Fair", in that it couples ambivalence and questions in the lyrics with pensive musical arrangements to create a piece of music that makes you think. This approach continues throughout the album, with "The Sisters", "The Captive Heart" and "Touching Once" all building on the pensive atmosphere. ("Midas Man", in the middle of the album is also pretty good, but not quite in the same league). It is true that I (also) would like to have heard more diversity in terms of tempo and soloing - this would have lifted the album even higher, perhaps into the five-star territory. Alas it does not, and does not reach the heights reached on their previous album. But it is still excellent as it is, among the best of Renaissance's albums. I give it 8.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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