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GRANDINE IL VENTO (SYMPHONY OF LIGHT)

Renaissance

Symphonic Prog


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Renaissance Grandine il Vento (Symphony of Light) album cover
3.30 | 90 ratings | 14 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Symphony Of Light (12:09)
2. Waterfall (4:44)
3. Grandine il Vento (6:30)
4. Porcelain (6:41)
5. Cry To The World (5:44)
6. Air Of Drama (5:21)
7. Blood Silver Like Moonlight (5:16)
8. The Mystic And The Muse (7:48)

Total Time 54:16


Additional tracks on "Symphony of Light" album:
9. Tonight
10. Immortal Beloved
11. Renaissance Man

Lyrics

Search RENAISSANCE Grandine il Vento (Symphony of Light) lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Annie Haslam / vocals
- Michael Dunford / guitar
- Rave Tesar / keyboards
- David J Keyes / bass guitar, vocals on "Air Of Drama"
- Jason Hart / keyboards, accordion
- Frank Pagano / percussion

- John Wetton / vocals on "Blood Silver Like Moonlight"
- Ian Anderson / flute on "Cry To The World"

Releases information

Released on Symphonic Rock Recordings in 2013

CD Red River Entertainment 61528 (2014, entitled "Symphony of Light", with 3 additional tracks, different artwork)
Digital album available via iTunes

Thanks to raph1 for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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Symphony of LightSymphony of Light
Red River Entertaint 2014
Audio CD$7.29
$8.00 (used)
Live at Carnegie Hall/ The Deluxe Anniversary Edition (2 CD) (Original Recording Remastered)Live at Carnegie Hall/ The Deluxe Anniversary Edition (2 CD) (Original Recording Remastered)
Remastered
Friday Music 2009
Audio CD$16.22
$10.99 (used)
Turn of the CardsTurn of the Cards
Import
Repertoire 1994
Audio CD$6.42
$8.42 (used)
Ashes Are BurningAshes Are Burning
Import
Repertoire 1995
Audio CD$6.01
$8.42 (used)
Renaissance Live In Concert Tour 2011Renaissance Live In Concert Tour 2011
Box set
MRI 2012
DVD Audio$10.44
$18.12 (used)
Scheherazade & Other StoriesScheherazade & Other Stories
Hybrid SACD - DSD
Audio Fidelity 2014
Audio CD$16.09
$21.31 (used)
In the Land of the Rising SunIn the Land of the Rising Sun
Import
REPERTOIRE 2011
Audio CD$7.27
$8.54 (used)
CD a song for all seasons ~ USD $13.25
CD ashes are burning ~ USD $14.50
CD illusion ~ USD $15.01
LP live at carnegie hall ~ USD $14.89
CD novella ~ USD $13.25
CD prologue ~ USD $7.32
CD renaissance ~ USD $14.50
CD renaissance ~ USD $15.01


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RENAISSANCE Grandine il Vento (Symphony of Light) ratings distribution


3.30
(90 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
16%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (34%)
34%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

RENAISSANCE Grandine il Vento (Symphony of Light) reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rogerthat
COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
2 stars The first track off Grandine il Vento that I listened to was The Mystic and The Muse. Fans who have kept track of the activities of the latest incarnation of Renaissance would be familiar with the EP titled The Mystic and the Muse which, of course, had the eponymous track among two others. While the other two tracks had evoked Annie Haslam's solo work for me (and I don't mean that in a glowing light, to be clear), The Mystic and The Muse was very promising. Dark and full of twists and dramatic dynamics, along with lots of vocalise delivered by Annie. Think the title track of A Song for All Seasons or Touching Once (Is So Hard To Keep). When I watched the impressive performance of said track in the 2011 concert video, I liked it even more but the other two tracks left me with mixed impressions and expectations from the (then) upcoming album. That is very much what Grandine il Vento delivers, except more of the Annie-solo kind of tracks in spades.

It was said in the run up to the album that the band had experimented with a lot of styles, including African music, and that it was one of their most exciting albums. There are indeed sounds and instruments on Grandine il Vento that you have never heard before...on a Renaissance album. Trouble is, if you have been even modestly in touch with developments in pop and rock music over the last three decades, you wouldn't find it particularly new, except for the reason that it's on a Renaissance album.

That is, a track like Porcelain evokes typical pleasant pop music (probably intended for the adult contemporary market) that incorporates (ostensibly) African percussion. But you don't really get a Renaissance-perspective of African influences.

Of course, what is a Renaissance-perspective, composition wise, is a question in itself. From the get go, Renaissance were after a sound - a rich, orchestral, but pleasant and inoffensive sound, evoking rock only modestly, if at all and often times dressing up pop songs in classical clothes. So, to be fair, Renaissance do attempt to capture the quintessential elements of that sound. Porcelain has soaring chorus singing for example. But we are not in the 70s anymore and Renaissance cannot afford an orchestra so keyboards are used as a substitute to recreate the effect. Unsurprisingly, it is only partially effective and also tends to make them sound rather like other contemporary bands. In a word, generic. In the 70s, with their peculiar mix of orchestral bombast with an un-electrified ensemble and a beautiful soprano voice, that was one thing Renaissance were not, at least from the point of view of sound.

Absent also is the energy and the involvement of the 70s. That is probably understandable, given the age of the two remaining original members (on this album), Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford. Think of the piano chords that introduce Things I Don't Understand or, well, the piano intro (again) of Can You Understand...or the 'pa pa pa' vocalise in Touching Once. Even while working with a soft sound and orientation, Renaissance did not lack at least a touch of vigour and vibrancy in the 70s....moments that still leap out of the speakers and grab the listener's attention just as he is about to feel lost in the orchestra-keyboard noodling. Strangely enough, Renaissance were very much able to bring back that energy in their 2011 performance of Turn of the Cards and Scheherazade and other Stories, but inspiration seems to have eluded them in the studio.

Could part of the reason also be the chief attraction of the band, namely Annie's vocals? Yes and no. There is nothing apparently remiss with Annie's singing here. Oh yes, there are plenty of pitch mistakes, some strained notes, some high notes sung in falsetto that she might have attacked more heftily earlier. But she still sets a very high standard so it would be churlish of me to find technical flaws with her performances.

Where there does seem to be a problem is the lyrics and how they constrain her ability to emote. It is admittedly a strange complaint to make as the lyrics are penned by Annie herself, unlike the 70s. But it is my considered opinion that the late Betty Thatcher's lyrics brought out the undertone of pain and melancholy in Annie's voice that is not always evident from her vivacious persona. Thatcher gave Annie great material to emote and in her bright, soft voice, it acquired a bittersweet tinge, sorrowful but uplifting at the same time. Annie's own lyrics don't appear to dig deep, at least from the listener's perspective though she has, I am sure, put in stuff there that she cares about a lot personally. This perhaps accentuates the impression of Annie coasting listlessly through the material, unable to really make an impact.

Except, that is, on Mystic and the Muse, which gives her plenty of scope to showcase her range and dynamism in a virtuosic vocal masterclass. It is perhaps fortunate then that the band placed said track right at the end, which gives you a taste of Renaissance as per the 70s and leaves you longing for more (if ever there'll be another album). But you have to sit through two mini-epics that promise initially only to disappoint and, well, 5 other middling tracks that do no leave much of an impression (not on me, they didn't, at any rate).

At the time of writing the original review, I gave it 3 stars, preferring to be slightly optimistic given the signs of promise in the material. Having waited nearly a year for a re-look, I feel even that's a bit on the higher side. Grandine il Vento was received fondly by loyal Renaissance fans and understandably so because the band hadn't released studio material (excluding the Mystic EP) for over 10 years. But it is not recommended unless you are a fan and really not where you ought to begin your Renaissance journey from. 2 stars for an average effort lifted a bit at the end by the sparkling Mystic and the Muse.

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Send comments to rogerthat (BETA) | Report this review (#969201) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 02, 2013

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When I heard that Renaissance was releasing a new album I had quite great expectations. Maybe a little more than I should. But, after all, it was Annie Haslam┬┤s superb voice put together with Michael Dunford┬┤s compositions. It could not fail, right? Besides, the new back up band is excellent, and their recent live DVD/CD playing their classic stuff is there to prove how skillful their are musically and respectful of their glorius past. And, additionally, they have a couple of prog icons (Ian Anderson and John Wetton) to give them a little help on a couple of tracks.

So why only 3 stars? Well, after repeated spins it is my painful duty to say the weakness of the album lays exactly on the shoulders of Haslam and Dunford. First: Michael┬┤s new compositions are far from his best. They are nice, alright, but completely predicable and unimaginitive. The band tries hard to sound like the classic 70┬┤s line up: you┬┤ll find the familiar tickling classical piano lines, the fat bass runs, Dunford┬┤s discreet but effective acoustic guitar and the very organic percussion. Even the bass player does a complete Jon Camp interpretation nicely singing some parts of Air Of Drama. But the new songs are, most of the time, just too bland.

Worse yet is Haslam┬┤s interpretations: she sounds tired and without conviction. The technique is there, but not the passion.Not that the end result is bad, since no song here is crap nor Haslam┬┤s voice have not lost its beauty. But, really, I expected a lot more from such talented bunch. And the saddest thing to know it the fact tha there is no chance for Dunford to redeem himself, since he passed away during the recording of Grandine Il Vento. A real big loss for the music world.

So in the end I found this album good: nothing that compares to the classic 70┬┤s stuff, of course, but better than most of what they released afterwards. At least a couple of tracks, Porcelaine and, specially, The Mystic And The Muse, are above all the others. The latter, a kind of spin off from A Song For All Seasons, is the album┬┤s highlight. I really wish all the tunes were like that one.

Conclusion: Renaissance fans should listen and judge. Newbies should try their earlier albums long before they tackle this one. final ratins: something between 2,5 and 3 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#1011564) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 05, 2013

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
2 stars Renaissance was one of the first Prog bands I've heard. When I was 16/17 I've bought a copy of Ashes Are Burning (1973) and I was in love with their music.

Now, years passed, I've enjoyed many of their albums and the band naturally came to an end.

Around 2010 the band made a comeback and since then they're quite active. In 2010 they released an EP with 3 new songs called The Mystic And The Muse (review: progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=290114), in 2011 they went on tour and played two of their classic albums Turn Of The Cards (1974) and Scheherazade & Other Stories (1975), after that they released a nice box with CD and DVD of this tour (review: progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=642201).

After all that they started to prepare a new album in 2012. To be able to do that they successful crowdfunded a campaign to release their new album Grandine Il Vento (2013). Unfortunately, after the album being recorded Michael Dunford (one of the original band members) sadly passed away.

I must say that I was REALLY excited with the news of a new album by the band, their EP was quite good so I could expect some really nice work. I took my time to listen to the album, and last night I finally did? Well, what can I say, I am disappointed after all. Being a fan of the band I had so many high hopes on their new album, but it turned out not that good as I was expecting.

First of all, from the original classic lineup there's only Annie Haslam (vocals) that continues to be a hell of a great singer, and Michael Dunford. Michael, unfortunatell is faded on this album, his guitars are superb, but they barely REALLY appear on the album.

Second, the band isn't that good. I mean, they were playing the bands back catalogue, but creating? Not really! Frank Pagano drums are there just to keep time, and that's all. David J Keyes bass' are? not quite there. I know, he's taking place of Jon Camp, an absolutely fantastic bass player. But that's no excuse!

Now, the worst part is taken by the keyboards. Renaissance's music is Symphonic, always been, so pianos and keyboards were a big part, especially pianos. Here the pianos are really well put and well played by Rave Tesar, but the rest of the keyboards? a shame! I cannot point my fingers to anyone really, cause the keyboards are credited to Rave and Jason Hart. Now really, what are those keyboards? There's even a dance/club music kind of keyboards on the opening track!

The music in Grandine Il Vento (2013) is not bad, in fact there's many great moments, but the overall arrangements kill anything really. As I said, especially the keyboards. And there's some songs that? shouldn't be here like 'Waterfall' or 'Porcelain'.

Unfortunately my high hopes were all felled, and I'm honestly sad about it.

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#1078455) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 18, 2013

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars The best Renaissance album for 35 years!

Renaissance has never been among my favourite bands, but they are one of those bands of which I have heard everything they have ever done. Like most people would probably agree, the band's output from the last three and a half decades has not been overly impressive compared to the output from their first decade of existence. Hearing this new album is a pleasant surprise and I would say without a doubt that it is their best since 1978's A Song For All Seasons. Indeed, Symphony Of Light stands heads and shoulders above the generally weak material the band has produced since then.

The most noteworthy track here is by far the 12 minutes plus opening title track (Symphony Of Light) which belongs to the band's all-time best compositions. It has all of the ingredients of classic Renaissance: the captivating voice of Annie Haslam, the piano and the acoustic guitar, the symphonic bombast. But it also has more than that, it has other keyboards beyond just piano (which I would have wanted to have heard more on the band's classic albums).

After such an excellent opening the rest of the tracks are not quite as interesting in comparison, but nonetheless the album continues to be enjoyable all the way. The band is helped by two stalwarts of progressive Rock in Ian Anderson and John Wetton. Anderson adds his characteristic flute to Cry To The World and Wetton his equally distinctive voice to Blood Silver Like Moonlight.

The Mystic And The Muse, Immortal Beloved, and Tonight were previously released as an EP, but are here tagged on as bonus tracks. The Mystic and the Muse in particular is another strong track in the style and quality of the band's 70's material.

Recommended, particularly for fans of classic Renaissance

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#1215198) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review by Progulator
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Perhaps unlike some of you, my introduction to Renaissance's discography wasn't chronological; rather than starting from the beginning, my first exposure to the band was their 1975 album Scheherazade and Other Stories album, albeit many years later. The format of the album is engaging, starting out with several shorter, more accessible tracks, and climaxing with the massive beauty that is "Scheherezade" a piece that had me in awe of the classic British act due to their jaw dropping orchestrations, deft songwriting capabilities, and of course, the angelic voice of Annie Haslam. While for many, including myself, Scheherazade represents the pinnacle of Renaissance, their 2014 release, Symphony of Light, effectively reminded me of all the nice things that make these veteran symphonic rockers tick. Like their classic 70′s albums, Symphony of Light boils down to the knack Renaissance has for delivering solid art songs and epic symphonic rock pieces.

One thing that catches my attention about Renaissance is their keen ability to make songs that somehow call to mind something between pop rock, the classical art song tradition, and musical theater. "Air of Drama" is perhaps my favorite example of this, a track that would blend in perfectly on a stage musical production, particularly in the way that Annie and David trade vocal lines, calling their dialogue to the forefront, highlighting Haslam's darker parts with the more optimistic sections led by David Keyes. Throw in Hart and Tesar hammering it out on the harpsichord, Mellotron flutes, and swelling according and we get a nice art song with strong theatrical overtones. The John Wetton fans will be pleased to hear his duet with Haslam on the pleasant piano ballad, "Blood Silver Like Moonlight," and if you're looking for a nice pop track with a huge, uplifting symphonic chorus, "Cry to the World" will certainly suit your fancy. And even though I generally run like the dickens when a ballad appears, I can't help but feeling that "Tonight" absolutely nailed it with its romantic sway, pretty arrangements, and Broadway musical feel. And while Symphony of Light is mainly a re-release of last year's Il Grandine Vento with new cover artwork and two extra tracks, it is certainly well worth it due to the presence of the new closer, "Renaissance Man." A touching tribute to the late Michael Dunford, Renaissance's very own chief mastermind, "Renaissance Man" sports lyrics of grateful praise to Dunford's hard work, inspiration, and wide imagination. The dynamic of this song is absolutely lovely as the recurring piano theme walks the line between sadness and joy, while the 'chorus' spouts a majestic, symphonic swell before ending each time delicately with a major chord and gentle ritard before the return of the primary piano motif. Recognizing both the sadness in death and the hope in life, this track truly is a great tribute to Dunford's legacy.

And while Renaissance shows great skill at bringing art music elements to their more 'catchy' tracks, I would bet that what truly has won over our little prog hearts is their more dramatic, symphonic prog pieces. Such is the case with "Symphony of Light," "Grandine il vento," and "The Mystic and the Muse" all tracks which reminded me of why I love this band. In terms of dramatic flavor, the intro to "Symphony of Light" couldn't get any better with its surreal chord changes that undulate from dark to light alongside a solid dose of theatricality. Haslam's voice certainly has aged well, still feeling expressive but now taking on a more haunting edge. The first two minutes had me grinning, but the song only gets better as a break with tolling church bells leads the way to a duo of synth and acoustic guitar that introduces perhaps what would be the main verse, exhibiting loads of tension in its repetitive motion. As the drumming kicks in we get a more optimistic section full of symphonic elements prior to the next verse. Over various instrumental twists and turns we get all the things we love in Renaissance, including their classic piano playing and huge orchestral arrangements that always exhibit just enough dynamic bombast without forgetting restraint. A bit more on the 'symphonic rock-lite' side of things, "Grandine" really hits the spot with introspective, surreal lyrics, and deep sense of mystery. From its delicate piano to the gentle sparkling of guitars, ambient keys, and upbeat, operatic sensibility, we see Renaissance delivering their specialty, this time in a more conventional form. Just as the band kicked it off huge with "Symphony of Light," they make sure to give us an epic feast towards the end of the record in the form of "The Mystic and the Muse," my personal favorite from the album. In my opinion this track is right up there with the classics of Renaissance's catalog, a song featuring loads of feeling. Opening up like a horror film soundtrack, "The Mystic and the Muse" delivers dark, gothic chords under Haslam's roaring and eerie bombast. When the drum kit gets in the groove I must admit that there was a lot of head bobbing going on in the room and I could feel that the band was really going to take us on a big, musical journey. Repeated descending piano riffs contrasting orchestral arrangements make for a very visual presentation as Annie holds some fascinating verse melodies that scream out mystery and wonder. Following a beautiful narrative refrain, Renaissance takes us on an a powerful tour of symphonic rock through several key changes before a brief breather that takes 500% advantage of carefully placed notes on the vocal line for grand effect on a quiet yet intense middle section. I must say that I was also pleased that the song eventually led us back to that killer refrain and beastly vampire chords, big drums, and soaring vocals that ooze coolness.

If what you're looking for is something that deliver's 21st century Renaissance with the marvelous feel of the 70′s era of the band, Symphony of Light should be right up your alley. Essentially, what you get a slew of good art rock alongside a couple of ambitious symphonic rock pieces that marvelously succeed in their efforts to bring dramatic music, theatricality, and strong songwriting to the table. All in all, Symphony of Light is a worthy memory of Dunford and the band's sophisticated vision of what rock can be.

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Send comments to Progulator (BETA) | Report this review (#1287467) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 04, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars 4.3 stars :-) Best Renaissance album since "Song for all Seasons". Might even be better than that. Does not matter. Great stuff. I respect everyone's review here on this album. I respect the low reviews and the high reviews. We all see/hear different things in the same album. What m ... (read more)

Report this review (#1326886) | Posted by progbaby | Sunday, December 21, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've enjoyed the work of Renaissance since the 70's but have recently revisited some of the core albums:- 1974 Turn Of The Cards 1975 Scheherazade And Other Stories 1976 Live at Carnegie Hall I've spent many many hours in recent years swallowed up in these masterpieces which are all sol ... (read more)

Report this review (#1326664) | Posted by Billy900 | Saturday, December 20, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have been listening to some heavier prog lately, so I was in for some culture shock with this album. My review is of "Symphony of Light," and not the original "Grandine Il Vento." Symphony of Light contains the additional two tracks from "The Mystic and Muse EP" and a new track "Renaissance Man" ... (read more)

Report this review (#1187906) | Posted by javajeff | Saturday, June 07, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Renaissance returns to form with this lovely effort, 'Grandine il Vento' (retitled 'Symphony of Light' in 2014 with the other 2 tracks from 'The Mystic and Muse' ep, and a beautiful new track written by Rave Tesar and Annie Haslam for the late Michael Dunford, appropriately titled 'Renaissance M ... (read more)

Report this review (#1170508) | Posted by snelling | Saturday, May 03, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A real prog album from the originators of Symphonic Prog. This elegant work is the best and most progressive album released by Renaissance since Novella in 1977. Annie Haslem is still in great voice at this late stage (amazing!) and the songs are true classical symphonic works that never veer toward ... (read more)

Report this review (#1161560) | Posted by SteveG | Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I was quite excited when I heard that Renaissance would release a new album. So I ordered it from the band and received a copy signed by Annie Haslam herself, which is quite cool! I am, however, sad to say that I don't think "Grandine il Vento" is not as good as their fantastic album from the 70s. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1130930) | Posted by sean_y | Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Renaissance is an interesting band, quite unique would I say. Firstly I would axaggerate if I said it was rock, but it do tangents the rock subject. Secondly I must state it's certainly symphonic music, more symphonic than most of the prog. The strength in Renaissance is concert piano and a cl ... (read more)

Report this review (#1067375) | Posted by Dr÷mmarenAdrian | Sunday, October 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Well. Truly this is symphonic prog. And symphonic prog in the line of Renaissance oldies. Yes in comparison to some of their latest .."pop prog albums"....a real advance. But well years pass....and the product can,t be (or is difficult to be)as good as the ones in the best of times.... ... (read more)

Report this review (#981305) | Posted by robbob | Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great new record by Renaissance. This is the first album by Renaissance in over 10 years, and it is definitely a great comeback. If you are a fan of Renaissance, you should certainly get this. I have only listened to this on the pre-release downloads available to the Kickstarter-backers, (who h ... (read more)

Report this review (#941378) | Posted by raph1 | Tuesday, April 09, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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