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Renaissance - Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.18 | 32 ratings

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3 stars Review Nš 288

"Tales Of 1001 Nights Volume 2" is a compilation of Renaissance and was released in 1990. It represents the second part of "Tales Of 1001 Nights Volume 1". As happened with that compilation, it includes tracks from four studio albums of Renaissance too. It has one track from their sixth studio album "Scheherazade And Other Storis", released in 1975, three tracks from their seventh studio album "Novella", released in 1977, two tracks from their eighth studio album "A Song For All Seasons", released in 1978 and two tracks from their ninth studio album "Azure D'Or", released in 1979.

The first track ''Can You Hear Me?'' was originally released on ''Novella''. This is an excellent track to open that album. It's a mini epic track very well performed especially by John Tout's piano and Michael Dunford's acoustic guitar. The beautiful voice of Annie Haslam is perfect, as usual. The arrangements, mostly of instrumental parts, are great, and the addition of orchestral arrangements is fantastic and complete very well this piece. The final result is a great progressive track. The second track ''Touching Once (Is So Hard To Keep)'' was originally released on ''Novella''. It's the epic track on that album. It keeps the same style of the opening track. This is a long symphonic suite, very classical and with great orchestration. It's another excellent track with another fantastique vocal performance of Annie Haslam. This is a very progressive track with several changes and where we can listen to, the sound of a saxophone. The main beauty of this track is its nice melody and its superb orchestral arrangements. This is another great progressive track. The third track ''Midas Man'' was originally released on ''Novella''. This is a beautiful classical track with a folky touch. It's mostly an acoustic track very well performed and with a nice final result. This is essentially a track performed by the acoustic 12 string guitar of Michael Dunford and where we can hear, in some parts, the sound of the tubular bells. Because it's a repetitive track it's considered by many somehow boring. However, I think that is perfectly unfair because it has very good arrangements that can be perfectly audible on any good audio system. The fourth track ''Nothern Lights'' was originally released on ''A Song For All Seasons''. This is a beautiful and catchy track on that album. It's true that it's a more pop oriented track but it's very beautiful and nice to hear. I think it represents a very good pop song, composed with enough quality to can give to us some pleasure when we hear it. The fifth track ''A Song For All Seasons'' was originally released on ''A Song For All Seasons''. This is the epic and pompous track on that album, but unfortunately, it represents the last great Renaissance's symphonic progressive epic. The title track is a truly progressive track and is full of pure joy, melody, sweetness and grandiosity. Again, the vocal performance of Annie Haslam is absolutely irreproachable. This track proves the grandiosity of this great band and closes that album with a golden key. The sixth track ''Jekill And Hyde'' was originally released on ''Azure D'Or''. This is a good track to open that album. Annie Haslam's voice sounds as good as ever. Despite the rhythm of the track be more pop than it was usual, it remains an unmistakable Renaissance's song, as fresh and cool, as always they were. The seventh track ''The Winter Tree'' was originally released on ''Azure D'Or''. This is a great example of a good pop track with excellent musical composition. It combines a nice acoustic guitar work with a beautiful keyboard working. It isn't as good as some of the previous tracks on that album, but it's still is a good track. The eighth track ''Ashes Are Burning'' was originally released on ''Ashes Are Burning''. It's the magnum opus of that album and fortunately it was chosen to close brilliantly this compilation album. This can be considered certainly the lengthiest epic of Renaissance but this can't only be attributed to the length of the track. We all know that it isn't, in reality, the duration of a track that makes of it an epic. "Ashes Are Burning" has everything that an epic must have. It has a very complex musical structure, blending nice melody, excellent individual musical performance by all members and the beautiful voice of Annie Haslam. This is, in reality, a memorable piece of music. It can be considered without any type of doubt as one of the greatest progressive rock tracks ever made, really.

Conclusion: With "Tales Of 1001 Nights Volume 2", Renaissance completed what they began with their previous compilation "Tales Of 1001 Nights Volume 1". Both compilations represent a great introduction to Renaissance's music catalogue, covering their career from 1972 to 1979. With both compilations, Renaissance covered what is considered their golden era and all the albums that are really essential to check their greatest musical career. Of course I'm talking about Renaissance's second incarnation. Who are used to the story of this great band knows that there were two different Renaissance's bands, with two completely distinctive lines up. The original line up, between 1969 and 1971, released two great studio albums, "Renaissance" and "Illusion" that must be checked too. But, in this case, we are only talking about the second Renaissance's incarnation. And in this case, in my humble opinion, all their albums that deserve to be checked are covered. So, as happened with the previous compilation, I'm going to rate it with 3 stars too.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |


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