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Renaissance - Novella CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 435 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The benchmark had been put very high with the 3 previous albums "Ashes Are Burning", "A Turn of the Cards" and "Scheherazade" and surely this is why "Novella" is frequently rated quite lower, but in truth this is also a wonderful album and a worthy enough successor of the "magic 3".

The opener "Can You Hear Me" is archetypal of the music Renaissance was making in that period, what we can call "orchestral symphonic pop" (nothing at all of commercial pop, but I do not dare using the term "symphonic rock" since there is nearly nothing of rock in here, not even one clean electric guitar, the only electric instruments being the bass and soft keyboards). A long suite with plenty of classical influences, many dynamic changes with the drums constantly coming in and out, alternating very soft passages with more upbeat ones, in the same style as the previous albums. As usual the bass of Jon Camp is also very good.

"The sisters" is a soft orchestrated ballad featuring all the instruments and nice nylon guitar fills, with a slightly melancholic feeling. Musically it is not outstanding but the vocal melody is very beautiful and the absolutely gorgeous voice of Annie makes it shine.

"Midas Man" became the most played song of the album but for my taste is the weakest. It's based on strung acoustic guitar supported by the other instruments and orchestra, the drumming limited to a bass drum marching beat.

"The Captive Heart" is a very soft ballad featuring only piano, the lead voice of Annie and some backing vocals by the guys. The classical piano intro is superb and the vocal melody and Annie's angelical voice are again extremely beautiful.

The last song "Touching Once" retakes the style of the opening track, again a long symphonic suite with substantial orchestration, but this one with a more theatrical, Broadway-musical feel. Some sections sound like it could be a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar. Again good dynamics with many mood and tempo changes, vocal interplays and also a sax solo.

Maybe the compositions are a bit less memorable than those on the previous 3 albums and less catchy than those on the follower "A Song For All Seasons" but this is still a great album full of beautiful melodic orchestral symphonic music with unbeatable vocals.

The production is good but not bright enough for my taste, something that would be much improved in "A Song For All Seasons".

Gerinski | 4/5 |


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