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RENAISSANCE

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Renaissance biography
There were two groups under the banner of RENAISSANCE. The first group included Keith and Jane RELF (vocals) and came from the YARDBIRDS ashes. The second and better known incarnation produced some of the best music that I have ever heard. Annie HASLAM's five octave range fit perfectly with the classical/orchestral rock (lot of piano playing & full symphony orchestra backup) created by the other members. The quick description I usually give is they are sort of like the old MOODY BLUES with a an incredible female vocalist. The soprano voice of Annie and the piano virtuosity of John TOUT allied to the beauty and refreshing melodies, the refinement of the arrangements gave their music its magnificent splendour.

My favorite RENAISSANCE albums are "Ashes Are Burning" and "Turn of the Cards". I also recommend "Novella", "Scheherezade and Other Stories" and "A Song for All Seasons" are must haves. I would add "Live At Carneige Hall" and "King Biscuit Hour Parts 1 and 2" as their 'prime' material. Plenty to fill a day with class, power and ethereal delights. The best introduction to the band would be the "Tales of 1001 Nights" compilation, which together contain of the band's best material from 72 through 80. Also the very first album from '69 is essential. After 1979, the band moved towards a more pop direction, like many other bands did in the late 70's.

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Symphony of LightSymphony of Light
Red River Entertaint 2014
Audio CD$11.99
Ashes Are BurningAshes Are Burning
Import
Repertoire 1995
Audio CD$6.13
$5.52 (used)
Renaissance Live In Concert Tour 2011Renaissance Live In Concert Tour 2011
Box set
MRI 2012
DVD Audio$12.23
$14.95 (used)
Turn of the CardsTurn of the Cards
Import
Repertoire 1994
Audio CD$6.87
$7.87 (used)
Scheherazade & Other StoriesScheherazade & Other Stories
Import
Repertoire 1994
Audio CD$7.26
$6.53 (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$17.37
$17.36 (used)
RenaissanceRenaissance
Import
Repertoire 1995
Audio CD$6.32
$3.91 (used)
ProloguePrologue
Sovereign/Capitol
Vinyl$9.71 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Q-PROJECT - RENAISSANCE MAN - 2006 CD US $13.99 Buy It Now 1h 6m
Hans Christian - Light & Spirit CD New Sealed Sacred Renaissance Music US $11.00 Buy It Now 1h 19m
A Renaissance Tour of Europe (CD, Mar-1996, Dorian) US $5.99 [0 bids]
2h 22m
Tendroid Presents Cmpm - Rastafari Renaissance #121090 US $8.38 Buy It Now 3h 4m
Montero - Brazilia EP - Renaissance - 2004 #132099 US $8.38 Buy It Now 3h 4m
Damiano Mercuri ?European Music And Ballads From Renaissance And Baroque Era CD US $4.99 [0 bids]
3h 15m
ZRG 823 PHILIP JONES BRASS ENSEMBLE Renaissance Brass: Music from 1400 - 1600 US $21.81 Buy It Now 3h 21m
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The Golden Virgins Renaissance Kid 7" Vinyl Single US $8.38 Buy It Now 5h 6m
Camila de Rossi - Il Sacrifizio Di Abramo -Ensemble Weser-Renaissance US $7.49 Buy It Now 5h 8m
RZA / Real Live Wu-Wear: The Garment Renaissance 12" Big Beat 1996 US $16.78 Buy It Now 5h 27m
Los Ministriles - Spanish Renaissance Wind Music -Piffaro The Renaissance Band US $4.67 Buy It Now 5h 46m
RENAISSANCE - SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES [CD] [1 DISC] - NEW CD US $9.77 Buy It Now 5h 47m
707 - THE BRIDGE [RENAISSANCE] [630428019324] - NEW CD US $13.38 Buy It Now 5h 47m
RENAISSANCE - CAMERA CAMERA - NEW CD US $10.41 Buy It Now 5h 54m
BIRTWISTLE/JOST/ROGER/ARUTIUNIAN - TRUMPET RENAISSANCE [CD NEW] US $14.93 Buy It Now 5h 56m
SIQUEIRIA / BAROK ENSEMBLE - RENAISSANCE & BAROQUES DANSES NEW CD US $30.08 Buy It Now 6h 31m
RENAISSANCE Prologue ORIGINAL LP Capitol Records Gatefold VINYL RED LABEL US $9.99 Buy It Now 6h 47m
RENAISSANCE Scheherazade ORIGINAL 1975 LP Sire VINYL RECORD ALBUM NEAR MINT US $9.99 Buy It Now 6h 51m
RENAISSANCE - RENAISSANCE [REPERTOIRE] [4009910451229] - NEW CD US $10.41 Buy It Now 6h 53m
RENAISSANCE Time-Line ORIGINAL 1983 STILL SEALED LP IRS VINYL RECORD ALBUM US $9.99 Buy It Now 6h 54m
RENAISSANCE LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL 2 (TWO!) lp album, GORGEOUS GATEFOLD! US $6.95 Buy It Now 6h 59m
GEORGE CAIRD - ENGLISH RENAISSANCE NEW CD US $27.79 Buy It Now 7h
Reel to Reel Music PRAETORIUS WIDMANN SCHEIN The High Renaissance Dance Music US $20.74 Buy It Now 7h 10m
A Renaissance Christmas Boston Camerata Joel Cohen Director 1974 Release Exc US $9.50 Buy It Now 7h 14m
CENTURY 8: RENAISSANCE MASSES & MOTETS / VARIOUS NEW CD US $20.51 Buy It Now 7h 22m
1976 - RENAISSANCE - Live At Carnegie Hall + UK Tour - Press Advert Poster Size US $15.10 Buy It Now 7h 27m
RENAISSANCE SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES MINI LP CD OBI US $16.99 Buy It Now 7h 27m
FOSS, LUKAS - LUKAS FOSS: ORPHEUS AND EURIDICE; RENAISSANCE FLUTE - NEW CD US $11.45 Buy It Now 7h 48m
NEW - Live at the Renaissance US $0.99 Buy It Now 8h 2m
Renaissance Presents: The Therapy Sessions, Vol. 2 by Dave Seaman (CD,... US $8.50 Buy It Now 8h 33m
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies - Renaissance & Baroque Realisations NR MINT! 24HR POST US $33.57 Buy It Now 8h 40m
RENAISSANCE Renaissance RARE ORIGINAL GERMAN IMP 1969 LP Island Psych Folk Pop US $33.00 Buy It Now 8h 47m
RENAISSANCE & ILLUSION 4 REPLICAS TO THE ORIGINAL LP JAPAN OBI CD Sealed Box Set US $297.49 Buy It Now 8h 48m
HUELGAS ENS. - LAMENTATIONS DE LA RENAISSANCE - HARMONIA MUNDI CD STILL SEALED US $14.99 [0 bids]
8h 54m
VILLAGE PEOPLE Renaissance Vinyl Lp SEALED US $10.00 Buy It Now 8h 57m
Hans Christian: Light & Spirit (CD, New Earth, AM) Renaissance Music US $3.45 Buy It Now 9h 12m
BLACK RENAISSANCE feat GB (GIFTED & BLESSED) - Luv N Haight Edit Series Vol 4 US $20.74 Buy It Now 9h 16m
RARE SWISS ONLY STEREO DLP CHORAL MUSIC RENAISSANCE US $19.99 Buy It Now 9h 28m
Da Capo by Renaissance & Annie Haslam (2 CD, Sep-1995, Repertoire) US $5.00 [0 bids]
US $10.00 Buy It Now
10h 2m
CHRISTOPHER WILSON - RENAISSANCE LUTE VIRTUOSI - METRONOME CD STILL SEALED US $14.99 [2 bids]
10h 8m
Musical Renaissance Les Petits Chanteurs Vinyl LP PEELESS EXP36 US $15.10 Buy It Now 10h 18m
VILLAGE PEOPLE 3 LPS: RENAISSANCE/1ST/ MACHO MAN US $8.09 Buy It Now 10h 29m
A Song of David Music of the Sephardim and Renaissance Spain (CD, Aug-1995,... US $5.00 [0 bids]
11h 5m
Renaissance Live 2 LP Set 1976 Sire Records Demo LP Vinyl VG+++ with Bonus LP US $24.99 [0 bids]
US $34.99 Buy It Now
11h 9m
Renaissance Scheherazade 1975 Sire Records Vinyl - VG++ US $12.99 [0 bids]
11h 9m
Italian Renaissance Music, Syntagma Musicum, Good US $12.86 Buy It Now 11h 28m
VILLAGE PEOPLE Renaissance LP OOP SEALED early-80's disco w/hype-sticker US $5.99 Buy It Now 11h 41m
RENAISSANCE - DREAMS & OMENS NEW CD US $25.48 Buy It Now 11h 43m
RENAISSANCE - PROLOGUE NEW CD US $20.87 Buy It Now 12h 7m
VG+ 1974 Renaissance Turn Of The Cards LP Album US $2.99 [0 bids]
12h 37m
A Renaissance Christmas LP 1974 Turnabout Records EX IN Shrink [Joel Cohen] US $8.95 Buy It Now 12h 43m
BEN WEBSTER @ The Renaissance RARE HQ-180 Gram ANALOGUE PRODUCTIONS Sealed LP US $169.99 Buy It Now 12h 51m
Wrabit - Tracks CD (2009 Renaissance Records USA) US $12.99 Buy It Now 13h 6m
Noel & The Red Wedge - Peer Pressure CD (2013 Renaissance Records USA) US $12.99 Buy It Now 13h 12m
LOT OF 3 RENAISSANCE LPs GREAT SHAPE m8 US $9.95 [0 bids]
US $19.95 Buy It Now
13h 51m
RENAISSANCE THE MIX COLLECTION 3 - LTD EDITION 3XCD 1996 - WHITE FLOWER US $15.03 Buy It Now 14h 6m
RENAISSANCE THE MIX COLLECTION 3 - LTD EDITION 3XCD 1996 - RED FLOWER US $13.35 Buy It Now 14h 6m
RENAISSANCE THE MIX COLLECTION 3 - LTD EDITION 3XCD 1996 - GREEN or RED FLOWER US $13.35 Buy It Now 14h 6m
Renaissance The Association LP VLS25004 VG+/VG+ COND. US $12.99 Buy It Now 14h 7m
RENAISSANCE A SONG FOR ALL SEASONS 1978 VINYL LP +POSTER* RARE VINYL COLLECTABLE US $19.56 Buy It Now 14h 21m
ALAIN STIVELL RENAISSANCE OF THE CELTIC HARP PHILIPS 1971 LP BRETON FOLK,EX US $1.66 [0 bids]
14h 23m
Renaissance, Lionel Richie, Good US $3.99 Buy It Now 14h 39m
Karl Scheit-MASTERPIECES OF THE CLASSICAL GUITAR Vol.2/Renaissance US $8.49 Buy It Now 14h 58m
LONNIE LISTON SMITH: Space Lady / Renaissance 45 Soul US $15.00 Buy It Now 15h 13m
RENAISSANCE - CAMERA CAMERA NEW CD US $22.41 Buy It Now 15h 52m
NM American Brass Quintet LP . Renaissance/Baroque US $8.00 Buy It Now 15h 59m
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE Ser. G dance music ARCHIVE GERMAN MONO LP Schein Praetorius US $8.49 Buy It Now 16h 3m
DGG Archive High Renaissance Evangelical Christmas Carols in German LP 1962 US $19.99 Buy It Now 16h 23m
REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE age of aquarius CD new 2009 US $8.99 Buy It Now 16h 31m
Scheherazade and Other Stories Renaissance Audio CD US $16.27 Buy It Now 16h 45m
Turn Of The Cards Renaissance Audio CD US $16.27 Buy It Now 16h 45m
With Joyful Voice:Renaissance/Medieval/Baroque Elektra US $39.99 Buy It Now 16h 54m
Da Capo [Box] by Renaissance (CD, Oct-1997, 2 Discs, Repertoire) US $5.99 [0 bids]
17h 9m
Renaissance / Do It Baby The Miracles Audio CD US $25.94 Buy It Now 17h 9m
Deller Consort - Madrigal Masterpieces LP Renaissance Music Alfred Deller US $10.00 Buy It Now 17h 20m
Donald Bousted, Whale Songs for two renaissance recorders. OMP100 US $22.67 Buy It Now 17h 42m
DGG Archive High Renaissance Christmas Carols LP 1962 US $39.99 Buy It Now 17h 48m
Renaissance / Dreams & Omens CD US $9.92 Buy It Now 17h 55m
O Lusty May: Renaissance Songs of Spring (CD, Apr-2000, Dorian) US $9.99 Buy It Now 17h 55m
Vanilla Fudge, Renaissance LP, SD 33-244, 1967 on Atco, Purple And Brown Label US $13.95 Buy It Now 18h 4m
Stanley, Adam Requisite Renaissance CD US $4.73 Buy It Now 18h 37m
Village People - Renaissance -their weird 1981 New Wave LP !! with cover sticker US $9.00 Buy It Now 18h 44m
A Rose of Swych Virtu Reverence from the Renaissance and Middle Ages (CD,... US $9.99 [0 bids]
18h 44m
RENAISSANCE LP AZURE D'OR SIRE 6068 US $6.99 Buy It Now 18h 45m
VANILLA FUDGE RENAISSANCE RECORD ESTATE LOT SALE US $4.99 [0 bids]
18h 47m
ASSOCIATION/renaissance/sealed 1966 lp US $59.99 Buy It Now 19h 6m
Rock Promo 45 RENAISSANCE Northern Lights (Edit) on Sire (promo) 5 US $5.00 Buy It Now 19h 23m
Q-Tip The Renaissance (2008, CD, Universal Motown) {I1} AG US $6.99 Buy It Now 19h 37m
RENAISSANCE LP LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL US $9.99 Buy It Now 19h 48m
Renaissance Kimmaster CD US $29.98 Buy It Now 19h 51m
Medieval & Renaissance Music for Fingerstyle [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] US $54.22 Buy It Now 19h 57m
Renaissance Prologue Capitol Records Folk Psych LP NM US $7.99 Buy It Now 20h 9m
La Magdalena - Lute Music in Renaissance France - Christopher Wilson US $90.78 Buy It Now 20h 18m
RENAISSANCE - IN THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN NEW CD US $20.10 Buy It Now 20h 41m
HIGH RENAISSANCE: GABRIELI AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES - ARCHIVE PRODUCTION 73154 US $7.95 Buy It Now 21h
Renaissance Brass...Empire Brass Quintet (Import) 1979 Digi 102 VG++ US $8.99 [0 bids]
21h
MASTERPIECES OF THE EARLY FRENCH & ITALIAN RENAISSANCE Record H-71010 US $19.75 Buy It Now 21h 4m
RENAISSANCE THE MIX COLLECTION 2 - SASHA & DIGWEED - 1995 - V.RARE US $25.10 Buy It Now 21h 8m
LADY Q - Gyoen Renaissance - Japan CD - NEW J-POP US $19.99 Buy It Now 21h 24m

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RENAISSANCE shows & tickets


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RENAISSANCE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RENAISSANCE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 206 ratings
Renaissance
1969
2.96 | 149 ratings
Illusion
1971
3.69 | 274 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.22 | 446 ratings
Ashes Are Burning
1973
4.06 | 398 ratings
Turn Of The Cards
1974
4.30 | 720 ratings
Scheherazade And Other Stories
1975
3.69 | 261 ratings
Novella
1977
3.63 | 229 ratings
A Song for All Seasons
1978
2.97 | 134 ratings
Azure D'or
1979
2.30 | 86 ratings
Camera Camera
1981
1.64 | 78 ratings
Time-Line
1983
2.02 | 46 ratings
The Other Woman
1995
2.95 | 35 ratings
Ocean Gypsy
1997
2.28 | 41 ratings
Songs from Renaissance Days
1997
3.08 | 69 ratings
Tuscany
2000
3.20 | 65 ratings
Grandine il Vento
2013

RENAISSANCE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.24 | 147 ratings
Live At Carnegie Hall
1976
3.76 | 44 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 1
1997
3.61 | 41 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 2
1997
3.86 | 18 ratings
BBC Sessions
1999
2.38 | 10 ratings
Unplugged - Live at The Academy of Music, Philadelphia USA
2000
3.20 | 12 ratings
Can You Hear Me
2001
3.32 | 10 ratings
Mother Russia
2002
3.80 | 5 ratings
Live + Direct
2002
3.51 | 29 ratings
In The Land Of The Rising Sun
2002
3.12 | 6 ratings
British Tour '76
2006
3.11 | 10 ratings
Dreams & Omens
2008
4.04 | 14 ratings
Turn Of The Cards & Scheherazade And Other Stories - Live In Concert
2011

RENAISSANCE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.76 | 18 ratings
Song of Scheherazade
2008
4.10 | 10 ratings
Kings And Queens
2010

RENAISSANCE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.59 | 11 ratings
In the Beginning
1978
3.33 | 3 ratings
Rock Galaxy
1980
3.42 | 25 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1
1990
3.18 | 25 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2
1990
3.42 | 11 ratings
De Capo
1995
2.51 | 3 ratings
Innocence
1998
2.56 | 3 ratings
Trip To The Fair
1998
4.03 | 5 ratings
Day of the Dreamer
2000
3.82 | 2 ratings
Songs For All Seasons
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
Heritage
2003
2.00 | 3 ratings
Midas Man
2003

RENAISSANCE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.23 | 7 ratings
Faeries (Living At The Bottom Of My Garden)
1981
3.56 | 15 ratings
The Mystic And The Muse
2010

RENAISSANCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Grandine il Vento by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.20 | 65 ratings

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Grandine il Vento
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars A real prog album from the originators of Symphonic Prog. This 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 the clichéd. The standout songs are Symphony Of Light, The Mystic and The Muse and Blood Red Silver Moon (a beautiful duet with Annie sharing vocals with the great John Wetton. My only complaint that I have is that I find some of Annie's "all is love and bliss" lyrics a bit trying on a couple of the songs. Aside from that, this is a stellar effort. BTW, I purchased an expanded edition of this album retitled A Symphony Of Light which includes three additional songs; one composed and recorded in honor of late guitarist/songwriter Michael Dunford that was, I believe, recorded about 6 months after the Grndine Il Vento album was released. Look out for it if you do not already own this album.

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 Ashes Are Burning by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.22 | 446 ratings

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Ashes Are Burning
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Briefly-popular during the latter half of the 1970s, symphonic folk-rock quintet Renaissance were initially formed by ex-Yardbird Keith Relf during the dying embers of the 1960s, the vocalist having tired with amost a decade worth of playing blues-based rock. Keen to try something new, Renaissance was Relf's ambitious attempt to stretch out musically, yet he would only stay with the group for a single album. That album was 1969's self- titled debut, which also featured Relf's sister Jane(vocals), Jim McCarty(percussion), John Hawken(piano) and Louis Cennamo(bass), none of whom feature on 'Ashes Are Burning'. Issued in 1973, this was the fourth Renaissance album overall, but the first to feature what is now recognised as the 'classic' line-up of Annie Haslam(vocals), Jon Tout(keyboards), Michael Dunford(guitar), Jon Camp(bass) and Terry Sullivan(drums), all of whom featured on previous album 'Prologue' bar Dunford, who replaced the outgoing guitarist Rob Hendry. Augmented by lyricist Betty Thatcher, this line-up would issue a trio of excellent albums from 'Ashes Are Burning' onwards, marrying strong classical influences with folk, rock and pop to create a thrilling brand of symphonic music. Whilst 1975's 'Scheherazade & Other Stories' is often referred to as the group's masterpiece, 'Ashes Are Burning' also deserves special mention for it's sheer power and bravado, showcasing the group's core creative force of Haslam's incredible five-octave vocals and Tout's lush piano-playing. The whole album proves a sumptuous treat, yet it is the two lengthy pieces that book-end the album that show off Renaissance at their very best. Opener 'Can You Understand?' starts a beautifully-judge piano medley that gathers in pace as it spirals towards it's satifyingly grandiose inclusion, whilst the epic title-track literally bursts into after another gorgeously-sung Haslam intro makes way for the booming bass rhythms and churning keyboards of the tracks powerful second half. In between, the pretty and melodic 'On The Frontier' and the anthemic 'Carpet Of The Sun' showcase the usual Renaissance trademarks, once again marrying strong classical tones with elegiac folk touches and the subtle medieval feel that permeates much of their best work. One of the group's trio of classic mid-seventies albums, 'Ashes Are Burning' may just be their most ambitious album, and certainly their darkest. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2O14

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 Turn Of The Cards  by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.06 | 398 ratings

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Turn Of The Cards
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars ''Ashes are burning'' had a major success in the States, entering the Billboard 200 and reaching No. 171.Renaissance had the chance to play live in the USA for the first time with surprisingly outstanding results, to the point they considered focusing more on the American market than the English one, who ignored them as a poor offshot of the classic Renaissance of the 60's.The band left Sovereign Records and signed with the newly established BTM Records of Mike Copeland.Their next album ''Turn of the cards'' was firstly released in the States on Sire Records in August 74', the English release came late in March 75' on BMT.

This time Renaissance focused on producing a grandiose Orchestral Progressive Rock with dominant string sections, acoustic guitars and piano as the leading instruments, but the vocal lines of Annie Haslam and the shorter tracks still retained an evident ethereal, folky flavor, based on soft drumming, dreamy piano and acoustic textures.''Things I don't understand'' was a regular piece among Renaissance's live gigs but it was recorded properly for the first time, somewhat connecting the early and present sound of the band, revealing strong psychedelic influences among smooth orchestrations and strong Classical flavors with a romantic mood.Despite entering the mid-70's, Renaissance's style remained pretty old-fashioned.The constant use of acoustic movements and the extended use of piano recall mostly of a band trying to become more artistic from the mass of 60's Psychedelic groups, and the delicate use of harsichord adds a very symphonic taste to the music.They attempt a cover of ''Adagio in G Minor'' of Baroque composer Tomaso Albinoni with ''Cold is being'', which is pretty great and highlighted by Haslam's dramatic voice and Tout's depressive church organ.''Mother Russia'' is the one track that really shined through time from this album, based on the self-biography of Russian writer and activist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.The band captures the feeling of the cold Soviet winter in a dramatic Symphonic Rock with nice twists between string lines, marching parts and bombastic orchestrations.However the finest piece to my ears appears to be ''Black flame'', led by a beautiful acoustic guitar/organ intro and Haslam's poetic vocals and developing into a charming Piano/Symphonic Rock with polyphonic lines, romantic piano textures and charming harsichord.

Well-crafted album with some amazing orchestrations.Sounds pretty dated at moments for the year it was released and the one-dimensional guitar/piano dual executions are a bit annoying to lead a whole album.On the other hand Haslam's unique vocals, the lovely symphonic mood and the rich arrangements are elements you can hardly turn your back to.Warmly recommended.

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 Ashes Are Burning by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.22 | 446 ratings

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Ashes Are Burning
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by ebil0505

5 stars I truly do believe this album deserves five stars. It is a masterpiece of progressive rock, in my opinion, and it is so different from many other A-list prog bands. Annie Haslam's voice may be the most beautiful voice in progressive rock. Their style of playing only justifies their name and sends the listener to the Renaissance of Prog.

"Can You Understand?" has been a favorite of mine for what seems like years, though it's probably just a bit over a year. The piano instantly caught my attention and then took me for a ride once the song really picked up. Some of Haslam's best singing is in this song, especially when paired with such elegant lyrics. This ~10 minute song is a fine reminder why we enjoy dedicating our full attention to the music we listen to.

"Let it Grow" is a gentle song (like several Renaissance hits) and will not disappoint the love-struck listener who pours his/her heart out of their ears. Don't take that too seriously.

"On the Frontier" develops very nicely. If you ever find yourself in a good mood, this song will happily sing along with you. The transitions between each section smooth over nicely, which makes the song sound like a miniature escape all by itself.

"Carpet of the Sun" is the hit of the album. Want a catchy tune that sounds like the Renaissance era without being too classic? Here ya go.

"At the Harbour" borrows Claude Debussy's Sunken Cathedral piano concerto to beautifully meld this spacious melody. Haslam shows off her range and delicateness during the peak of the chorus, her voice like a shower of sound.

"Ashes are Burning" is, for me, the peak of the album. It starts off just as you'd expect a Renaissance song to start off; with a catchy rhythm and dreamy instrumentals. Once this song truly peaks after some nice changes and mood swings, the final build up is epic and ends the album perfectly. Fans of Yes's "Starship Trooper" would probably like this ending as it is their version of "Wurm", theoretically speaking of course.

I highly recommend this album for some easy listening. Gentle yet memorable, this album has it's unique symphonic sound that gives new meaning to the subgenre.

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 Novella by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.69 | 261 ratings

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Novella
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Frankie Flowers

4 stars There's no doubt this is an exquisite album. I have read reviews complaining that sonically 'Novella' has the same old sound as Renaissance's previous albums, but I have always felt it is different and has more of a diversity of moods, even more so than on other releases. I totally agree that Annie Haslam's vocals reach a peak here. 'Can You Here Me' opens with the typical strings, and piano but it has a lovely, quiet dreamy passage reminiscent of some Genesis pieces. 'Sisters' has the most harrowing, tragic theme and the most touching of all Renaissance music I have heard to date. It is absolutely beautiful and leaves me with goosebumps every time. The use of more acoustic guitar is noticeable on Novella as well as different keyboard sounds which were used on Scheherazade as well to create great atmosphere, on this album though the arrangements also create spiritual dimensions especially on 'Midas Man'. It is just brilliant and includes chants and other harmonies in the mix. The first half of the album is really reflective while the second half is brighter and more typical of the band's sound, melodic and uplifting. The closing and second epic piece has an excellent build up and the nice Russian style piano is showcased. Make no mistake Novella is a well written, eclectic release and the creative juices were still flowing in this group! It should be in a fan's collection.

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 Grandine il Vento by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.20 | 65 ratings

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Grandine il Vento
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by sean_y

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. Although in my opinion the band tried hard to create an album that is similar to those albums mentioned above, it didn't really work out. The melodies are not as good as they used to be. This already shows in the first track of the album "Symphony of light" in which the vocal line is a bit of a letdown. Furthermore the production isn't really convincing. The orchestral synths sound thin, especially the brass section sounds unconvincing to me. But also most of the the keyboard sounds that are used sound "outdated" and I don't think they sound "vintage". An example is the synth pattern in the first track. Annie Haslam's voice is in the higher register not as light as it used to be, given her age this is not too surprising. They to try invent interesting melody line, but I am afraid they are not as good as they are on their fantastic albums in the seventies. I think the closing track "The Mystic And The Muse " is one of the better songs. I gave the album a lot of tries and really wanted to like it and there are some good ideas on the album as well, but in the end I have to say that this album is not the return to greatness I had hoped for.

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 Scheherazade And Other Stories by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.30 | 720 ratings

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Scheherazade And Other Stories
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars At this point it's no secret that RENAISSANCE was a one-trick pony who developed a specific niche in the symphonic progressive rock arena and are actually often cited as progressive pop. It had been a long and arduous trip that began with a completely different lineup as that which is on this album. Somehow and i'm still not sure how it happened, every member from the beginning stages of this band exited stage left and the management took control of this band's destiny. Album by album they slogged through the trials and tribulations of reinventing themselves with only meager improvements over the previous album. At this stage I would have to say that all the work payed off as SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES is the pinnacle of this sound of classically inspired progressive pop tinged music that is complete with Anne Haslam's beautifully bellowed vocals accompanied by John Tout's classically inspired piano riffing.

I can see both sides of the story with this one. This is not a substantial difference from the previous albums but I feel this album just flows more cohesively from beginning to end and I like the sound so I am rating this on a personal level only. It must be remembered that this is pretty much a manufactured band and that they were directed to perform a specific task of creating a specific symphonic prog sound that I think they did quite well for what this band is. Perhaps it is indeed a little predictable and I would very much prefer a little spontaneity that would lend to a surprise or two but that was not to be in the mix but taken as the progressive pop it is, I think it is a very pleasant album that never fails to entertain me from the beginning predictable piano run of "A Trip To The Fair" to the finale 9-part title track which in my opinion is one of the most sophisticated the band had ever done and remains one of my favorites from them.

An excellent album that takes the symphonic sophistication of classical music and merges it with the melodic pop and progressive folk to create a unique album that is based on a beautiful tale of the legendary Persian queen who was the proficient storyteller of "One Thousand And One Nights" who kept herself alive with elaborate storytelling to a king who was way too fond of ritualistic beheadings.

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 Turn Of The Cards  by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.06 | 398 ratings

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Turn Of The Cards
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars This is the album where I find RENAISSANCE fully came of age. Most likely due to the fact that for once in their entire existence they had two consecutive albums with the same lineup. This stability meant that they could finally focus on the music at hand and refine it to some squeaky symphonic perfection. True that they may have never had a diverse range of sounds in their symphonic prog and you can tell how they recycle a riff here and a run there but even though they were basically a one-trick pony in the composition department they nevertheless were quite good at that one trick.

This actually makes sense since this band was basically manufactured by the management and not a product of organic collaboration. This band in that sense is no different from bands like the Monkees, so if you look at it like that then it's totally logical that they stuck to the playbook. A lot of the classical piano pieces are actually reworkings or excerpts from traditional classical pieces and the fact that Jim McCarty songs are still finding their way onto albums proves that anything is fair game for inclusion.

Despite all that I still find the music of RENAISSANCE to be a pleasant type that actually works for me and I actually prefer this album a lot better than its predecessor despite it not being a whole lot different. A lot of the sappiness is gone and replaced by some pure melancholy, which suits this type of music and makes it more appealing to me. "Mother Russia" for example is dedicated to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who was a Russian writer and activist. The songs feel a little deeper and the band seems a little more comfortable in their stable lineup. Point blank, a beautifully orchestrated album.

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 Ashes Are Burning by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.22 | 446 ratings

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Ashes Are Burning
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars This is where it really comes together for RENAISSANCE after the non-stop member exchange that they endured since their formation. Ann Haslam's sophomore release finds her hitting her stride after the less than perfect PROGLOGUE. It was also the first release to feature a full orchestra which is in the truest sense a symphonic progressive album. Even this far into their career founding band member Jim McCarty who had jumped ship quite some time before has a song that made its way onto this album. "On The Frontier" was originally released by his former band Shoot.

The album begins with the excellent "Can You Understand" with that now famous long classical piano intro that eventually leads into the acoustic guitar sound that this album favors leading the band into a kind of symphonic folk sound. The songs feel more fully developed on this release with interesting parts that come and go and always keep it exciting. Ann Haslam sounds like she has finally blossomed into what she was born to be, namely the lead singer for a symphonic rock band that she nails on this release and ushers in the classic era for RENAISSANCE.

Songs like "Let It Grow" that are too poppy and sweet are what bring this album down a bit for me. This song actually reminds me of the fact that this group can at times sound like a progressive version of The Carpenters. Although this is a great album there are times it has just too much of a la-la-la-let's-skip-through-a-flower-field-and-yodel feel to it. Still a huge improvement from the previous RENAISSANCE lineups and the first of several beautifully orchestrated symphonic rock albums. Not a masterpiece for me but more than enough awesome material to warrant a mandatory space on my shelf.

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 Turn Of The Cards  by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.06 | 398 ratings

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Turn Of The Cards
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Mr. Mustard

4 stars Turn of the Cards, in my opinion, is one of the three essential Renaissance albums, being sandwiched between the other two. In this way, it is not much different from the previous; the melodic and orchestral touches are still there, and work to great effect.

Again, with this album you've got six songs; the three shorter ones have a more melodic component. A decent ballad can be found in 'I Think of You,' while 'Black Flame' and 'Cold is Being' offer some folky and uncharacteristically darker moments in parts. Perhaps too simple for the more technically inclined, it wouldn't be a Renaissance album without these more laid- back tunes.

With that said, the real interest here is the three longer songs. Here is where the band really shines, as they flawlessly combine their distinctive orchestral niche and progressive intensity all while retaining a strong sense of melody. There is something unique with each; 'Running Hard' has undeniable energy to kickstart the album in a strong way, while 'Things I Don't Understand' exhibits the vocal abilities of Annie Haslem, and 'Mother Russia' serves as an intense and epic, yet beautiful conclusion.

Overall, this is a great follow up to the previous album, building upon the sound and personality achieved there. Though not the best Renaissance album, 'Turn of the Cards' certainly is a must-listen for symphonic fans.

8/10

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