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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 I have to admit that I have a soft spot for this album, since it used to play a lot at home when it came out, I was 12 at the time and my older sisters and brother got hooked on this one, so it's part of my boyhood's soundtrack. Purists despise this album saying that it went too pop compared to Renaissance's peak period of 'Ashes', 'Turn of the Cards' and 'Sheherazade', which is true, but the positive counterpart to this is that it also finished removing the last traces of folk which were still noticeable in their previous albums (I'm not very fond of folk you see). While maybe a bit less sophisticated that the older masterpieces, I find this album wonderful and surely better than Novella or Prologue.

The production was much improved and the orchestrations are spot-on, not too intrusive but giving the most symphonic songs a very classical and elegant angle. Annie's terrific voice is as crystal-clear as ever and nearly all the melodies are superb, I actually find the vocal phrases and instrumental sections more beautiful and inspired than many of those in their most crowned albums. The only thing with Renaissance is that it's so sweet and beautiful that it may fool you into thinking that you are listening to something a bit too cheesy and too little prog-rocky (something which happened to several of my teenage prog buddies), but then it's only an illusion. The music composition, the arrangements and the interpretation are very competent and totally deserving of the term symphonic prog-rock.

It has 3 symphonic masterpieces deserving 5 stars: the opening tandem of "Opening out" with "The day of the dreamer" and the closing "A song for all seasons", all three have a place in my all-time prog favourites. "Kindness" is also a great prog track but it's too bad that it is sung by John Camp, I still can not understand how on earth if you have Annie in your band you would still dare to sing anything out of your shower.

Then we have 3 catchy songs (the ones purists despise) in "Closer than yesterday", "Back home once again" and "Northern lights". Yes, they are more pop-oriented, but they are all of them beautiful and I have no problem with them (a complete album with nothing but this kind of songs would probably be something else).

Finally we have "She is love" which on top of being dull is also sung by Camp and in this one he sings even quite worse than in "Kindness". They should have better kept this song for their vault of never-released tracks, but if they wanted to release it anyway, at least sung by Annie it might have been saved. A totally incomprehensible decision by the band.

All in all it does not deserve the 5 stars as a whole but I highly recommend it for its wonderful 3 best tracks and, if you are not too purist or hard-edged, the beautiful rest. Just be ready to push the "next track" button when "She is love" begins.

Gerinski | 4/5 |


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