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Renaissance - Scheherazade And Other Stories CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.31 | 1076 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
5 stars I try to be stingy with my 5 star ratings. To earn that rating, an album has to be musically excellent nearly throughout, creative, energetic, and have a largely cohesive flow throughout.

Oh, and it also has to represent something unique that I can't find elsewhere in my collection.

That last one's often the standard that cuts off many potential masterpieces for me, but Renaissance's Scheherezade is so alternatingly energetic and achingly beautiful that I can't find the will to nitpick (at least not much!) or to resist.

I only have two potential flaws: I'm not sure that Vultures Fly High fits, and the epic final track does drag a bit in a couple spots toward the middle, but other than that, Scheherezade is a wonderful ride.

A Trip to the Fair starts with an extended piano/bass overture that grips me from the start with its energy, and effectively building the tension before we first hear Haslem in full. The song then moves seamlessly through the mysterious waltzy verse to a pleasant jazzy piano/xylophone back-and-forth section.

Ocean Gypsy is a simpler tune, but the buildup to the climax toward the end is wonderfully done, and achingly beautiful to boot. Also, this piece fits very nicely as a segue into the following epic...

...Song of Scheherezade. One of my top 25 epics of all time, Scheherezade is of mostly high quality throughout, but the absolute highlights are in the opening overture and the closing 6 minute build-up and finale. Here fantastic songwriting--particularly the integration with the orchestra, with quite effective tympani hits, horn accents and string flourishes--combine with passionate playing to deliver prog nirvana, aflutter with texture, countermelody and harmony. Simply wonderful.

As you can tell, I love this album, and I love talking about why. The combination of Annie's voice and the orchestra, coupled with a tight bass/drum rhythm section, with some captivating piano interludes scattered throughout, create a rich and beautiful sound that I have yet to hear elsewhere.

One of my prog treasures to cherish eternal!

Flucktrot | 5/5 |


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