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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.

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Ashes Are BurningAshes Are Burning
Repertoire 1995
Audio CD$8.72
$11.98 (used)
Azure D OrAzure D Or
Imports 2011
Audio CD$6.99
$7.99 (used)
Turn of the CardsTurn of the Cards
Repertoire 1994
Audio CD$7.44
$7.42 (used)
Scheherazade & Other StoriesScheherazade & Other Stories
Audio CD$8.01
$3.95 (used)
Live at the Carnegie HallLive at the Carnegie Hall
Import · Remastered
Repertoire 2008
Audio CD$9.45
$9.44 (used)
A Song for All SeasonsA Song for All Seasons
Repertoire 2012
Audio CD$12.61
$6.00 (used)
Camera CameraCamera Camera
Repertoire 1999
Audio CD$7.99
$5.46 (used)
Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2
Sire 1990
Audio CD$26.47
$1.75 (used)
Tales of 1001 Nights, Vol. 1Tales of 1001 Nights, Vol. 1
Sire / London/Rhino 1990
Audio CD$22.58
$4.73 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
NEW African Renaissance 3: South Sotho & Tswana (Audio CD) USD $42.21 Buy It Now
NEW Sinners & Saints: The Ultimate Medieval and Renaissance Music Collection USD $26.56 Buy It Now
Praetorius: Nativitas Renaissance Christmas - Pickett DECCA SEALED USD $19.98 Buy It Now
Time Line Renaissance Audio CD USD $49.99 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE - Tales of 1001 Nights, Vol. 2 (CD, 1990) USD $2.95 Buy It Now
RÉMI,BOLDUC : Renaissance CD USD $14.98 Buy It Now
Renaissance ?- Ashes Are Burning LP ST-11216 / 1973 Rock Prog Rock USD $5.99 Buy It Now
Renaissance ?- Prologue LP SMAS-11116 / 1972 Gatefold Prog Rock USD $8.99 Buy It Now
Unknown Artist : Renaissance CD USD $4.49 Buy It Now
Mother Earth Blues, Vol. 1 by Various Artists (CD, Apr-2011, Renaissance Records USD $7.85 Buy It Now
Duo Live Oak : Piva: Renaissance Songs of Spain & Italy CD (2004) USD $4.97 Buy It Now
1972 Capitol Records SMAS-11116 Renaissance "Prologue" Used USD $8.00 Buy It Now
PHILIP JONES BRASS ENSEMBLE: Renaissance Brass-1976LP USD $8.99 Buy It Now
NEW Oxford Camerata "Renaissance Masterpieces" (Audio CD) USD $14.82 Buy It Now
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RENAISSANCE - Novella vinyl LP Prog Near Mint USD $8.00 Buy It Now
SERAPHIM LP Guide to Renaissance (VG+) box set 3xlp stereo USD $9.95 Buy It Now
Playing with Fire: The Art of the Renaissance Instrumentalist (CD-1995) NEW USD $15.91 Buy It Now
At Home with Renaissance Christmas 2005 Holiday (New CD) Factory Sealed! USD $5.98 Buy It Now
SONGS and DANCES of the RENAISSANCE, Capella Antiqua Munchen - RUHLAND LP NM/EX USD $9.99 Buy It Now
August Denhard - Meeting Place: Medieval & Renaissance Music Lute [New CD] USD $13.90 Buy It Now
Out of Print CD - RENAISSANCE MAN - Hans Zimmer - Varese Sarabande USD $11.99 Buy It Now
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RENAISSANCE - "Azure D' Or" LP - 1979 ORIG 1st US PROMO w/ Inner Sleeve - No UPC USD $10.88 Buy It Now
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ZRG 823 Renaissance Brass The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble 1976 Argo Stereo NM/EX USD $13.96 Buy It Now
LP PROMO Village People Renaissance 25S31 Casablanca Japan Vinyl 3427 USD $1.00 [1 bids]
Scheherazade & Other Stories, Renaissance CD | 4009910508022 | New USD $13.64 Buy It Now
A Song For All Seasons, Renaissance CD | 4009910114629 | New USD $12.09 Buy It Now
Renaissance - 3 LP's - Live At Carnegia Hall - Scheherazade - Ashes Burning USD $22.99 Buy It Now 51s
SOWETO STRING QUARTET_Renaissance_used CD_ships from AUSTRALIA_L5 USD $9.39 Buy It Now 12m 15s
Various Artists-Renaissance Classics (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $6.58 Buy It Now 14m 56s
William Byrd Motets Michael Howard The Renaissance Singers NM Westminster LP USD $15.00 Buy It Now 36m 28s
ALAN STIVELL: Renaissance De La Harpe Celtique LP USD $39.99 Buy It Now 1h 25m
Popular Renaissance Music CD NEW USD $17.92 Buy It Now 1h 30m
Renaissance Favorites for Guitar - David Russell Compact Disc USD $21.11 Buy It Now 2h 4m
RENAISSANCE - In Land Of Rising Sun: Live In Concert - 2 CD - Live - SEALED/NEW USD $53.95 Buy It Now 2h 20m
VICTORIA DE LOS ANGELES spanish melodies of the renaissance HMV FALP 729 LP EX+ USD $18.00 Buy It Now 2h 31m
TUFF LUCK "NEW Renaissance" U.S. 1987 Vinyl N/M LP Rock Metal NRR18 WOW!!! USD $25.99 [7 bids]
2h 55m
LIGHTSEEKERS Flying Free + 1 JAPAN CD Adagio Revolution Renaissance Heavenly USD $28.99 Buy It Now 3h 32m
AA.VV. ?CD Dance Or Die - The Renaissance Of Dance Music Sigillato 8019991860892 USD $49.24 Buy It Now 3h 39m
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Fig Tree Renaissance - CD (FT100 Fig Tree 1994 Australia) USD $7.82 Buy It Now 4h 20m
Shirley Rumsey - Music Of Italian Renaissance (CD Used Like New) Rumsey (GTR) USD $9.33 Buy It Now 4h 30m
TOM MIDDLETON (mixed by) Renaissance 3D TREBLE CD ALBUM NEW - STILL SEALED USD $9.08 Buy It Now 4h 33m
Renaissance Dances: David Munrow, The Early Music Consort of London, CD | 00946 USD $12.27 Buy It Now 4h 44m
Aswad - Renaissance - 20 Crucial Tracks - 1988 - Vinyl - Soul USD $6.99 Buy It Now 4h 45m
Renaissance, Lionel Richie CD | 0731454822220 | Acceptable USD $2.36 Buy It Now 4h 54m
Renaissance Tour Dates Original Advert 15 X 11" Poster Size 27 Feb 1975 USD $18.15 Buy It Now 5h 5m
Renaissance by Young, David USD $3.47 Buy It Now 5h 19m
Art Department - Renaissance The Mix Collection New 2 CD Set USD $15.94 Buy It Now 5h 28m
Q-tip The Renaissance USD $4.50 Buy It Now 5h 33m
Fabio Antonio Falcone - The Renaissance Keyboard: Music By Cavazzoni; A (NEW CD) USD $11.51 Buy It Now 5h 59m
Renaissance Presents Pacha - Ibiza CD (2004) NEW USD $5.59 Buy It Now 6h 5m
RENAISSANCE Azure D'or JAPAN CD WPCR-16304 2015 NEW USD $173.93 Buy It Now 6h 9m
Motet Masters of the Renaissance (CD, Mar-1996, Gloriae Dei Cantores) USD $10.99 Buy It Now 6h 13m
Dalai Lama Renaissance 2009 . EXLIBRARY USD $14.61 Buy It Now 6h 19m
Renaissance America vol. 1 mixed by Dave Seaman (CD 1999) USD $27.94 Buy It Now 6h 21m
Renaissance - The Mix Collection (Sasha & John Digweed) (3CD 2004) USD $34.93 Buy It Now 6h 21m
KONRAD RAGOSSNIG / TANZMUSIK DER RENAISSANCE / ARCHIV 2533 111 / 1972 / EX- USD $41.90 Buy It Now 6h 35m
RENAISSANCE RENAISSANCE island later pr Lp MINT USD $30.72 Buy It Now 6h 57m
Various - Renaissance Ibiza 2001 - Bar, Club, Beach Life - CD ALBUM (ref 1112) USD $8.37 Buy It Now 7h 5m
FAIL EMOTIONS Renaissance JAPAN CD GOME-31 2014 NEW USD $83.50 Buy It Now 7h 22m
Renaissance Hammersmith Odeon, London 10/8/78 Ticket USD $1.40 Buy It Now 7h 31m
The Association - Renaissance (CD) - Beat 60s 70s USD $16.22 Buy It Now 7h 36m
RENAISSANCE- NORTHERN LIGHTS K17177 UK 1978 USD $1.38 [0 bids]
7h 42m
Three Renaissance LPs. EX USD $9.50 Buy It Now 7h 58m
Renaissance by Soweto String Quartet (SSQ) [South Africa Imp. - BMG 1996] - MINT USD $6.27 Buy It Now 8h 37m
Various - Renaissance Anthems 2002 - At The Bar, Club... - CD ALBUM (ref 1113) USD $8.37 Buy It Now 8h 59m
Renaissance - Northern Lights - Vinyl 7" - Excellent Condition USD $5.59 Buy It Now 8h 59m
English Renaissance John Themis Vinyl Record USD $13.90 Buy It Now 9h
Instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance Cassette Tape Vanguard USD $13.99 Buy It Now 9h 5m
Renaissance by David Young CD New Age Easy Listening 2003 Universe (G) #E23 USD $6.40 Buy It Now 9h 12m
RENAISSANCE A Song For All Seasons JAPAN CD WPCR-1447 1997 OBI USD $56.79 Buy It Now 9h 15m
RENAISSANCE Tuscany TOCP-65591 CD JAPAN 2000 NEW USD $201.29 Buy It Now 9h 29m
Renaissance 1975 Programme USD $38.42 Buy It Now 9h 37m
BEHZAD - GYPSY RENAISSANCE - 1998 cd is excellent condition USD $8.65 Buy It Now 10h 3m
CASSETTE: RAY CHARLES Renaissance POP EASY USD $12.56 Buy It Now 10h 9m
CAMERATA HUNGARICA Renaissance Dances & Songs HUNGARY Lp USD $24.90 Buy It Now 10h 14m

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RENAISSANCE discography

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

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

3.73 | 308 ratings
3.06 | 220 ratings
3.71 | 389 ratings
4.22 | 641 ratings
Ashes Are Burning
4.08 | 563 ratings
Turn Of The Cards
4.31 | 1059 ratings
Scheherazade And Other Stories
3.72 | 347 ratings
3.63 | 313 ratings
A Song For All Seasons
3.00 | 181 ratings
Azure D'Or
2.41 | 116 ratings
Camera Camera
1.61 | 104 ratings
2.13 | 67 ratings
The Other Woman
2.88 | 55 ratings
Ocean Gypsy
2.15 | 59 ratings
Songs From Renaissance Days
3.03 | 97 ratings
3.27 | 117 ratings
Grandine Il Vento [Aka: Symphony Of Light]

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

4.25 | 204 ratings
Live At Carnegie Hall
3.80 | 55 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 1
3.68 | 52 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 2
3.84 | 24 ratings
BBC Sessions
4.08 | 11 ratings
Day of the Dreamer
2.45 | 12 ratings
Unplugged - Live at The Academy of Music, Philadelphia USA
3.19 | 14 ratings
Can You Hear Me
3.32 | 12 ratings
Mother Russia
3.90 | 10 ratings
Live + Direct
3.50 | 38 ratings
In The Land Of The Rising Sun
3.20 | 11 ratings
British Tour '76
3.19 | 14 ratings
Dreams & Omens
4.15 | 26 ratings
Turn Of The Cards & Scheherazade And Other Stories - Live In Concert
3.91 | 2 ratings
Past Orbits Of Dust: Live 1969/1970
3.14 | 15 ratings
DeLane Lea Studios 1973
4.05 | 10 ratings
Academy Of Music 1974

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

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

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

2.57 | 12 ratings
In the Beginning
4.00 | 3 ratings
Rock Galaxy
3.45 | 31 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1
3.21 | 30 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2
3.45 | 16 ratings
Da Capo
2.53 | 5 ratings
2.57 | 4 ratings
Trip To The Fair
3.83 | 3 ratings
Songs For All Seasons
4.00 | 2 ratings
2.00 | 4 ratings
Midas Man

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
3.00 | 2 ratings
Northern Lights
1.20 | 7 ratings
Faeries (Living At The Bottom Of My Garden)
3.57 | 16 ratings
The Mystic And The Muse


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

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 | 1059 ratings

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 | 1059 ratings

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

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 | 204 ratings

Live At Carnegie Hall
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nş 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

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 | 116 ratings

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 | 181 ratings

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
3.63 | 313 ratings

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 | 347 ratings

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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