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RENAISSANCE

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Renaissance picture
Renaissance biography
Founded in 1969 - Disbanded in 1987 - Reformed between 1998-2002 and again since 2009

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.

Photo by Brian Tirpak

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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Scheherazade and OtherScheherazade and Other
Repertoire 2007
$9.11
$8.88 (used)
Live At The Carnegie HallLive At The Carnegie Hall
Remastered
Repertoire 2008
$9.48
$9.79 (used)
Ashes Are BurningAshes Are Burning
REPERTOIRE 1995
$12.99
$6.81 (used)
Symphonic JourneySymphonic Journey
Symphonic Rock Recordings 2018
$20.12
$20.18 (used)
ProloguePrologue
Esoteric 2018
$10.75
$10.74 (used)
BBC SessionsBBC Sessions
Wounded Bird Records 1999
$209.51
$29.99 (used)
Live at Carnegie HallLive at Carnegie Hall
Repertoire 1994
$9.65
$8.34 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Archguitar Renaissance USD $6.98 Buy It Now
Various Artists, Dal - Dalai Lama Renaissance (Original Soundtrack) [New CD] USD $15.17 Buy It Now
JOHN TUSSEY: SOLFEGGIO FREQUENCIES 2: CRYSTAL BLUE RENAISSANCE (CD) USD $29.94 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE ILLUSION: THROUGH THE FIRE (UK) (CD) USD $23.23 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE CHRISTMAS WAVERLY CONSORT JAFFEE - LP USD $4.00 Buy It Now
Scheherazade And Other Stories - Crea... Renaissance UK vinyl LP record USD $24.47 Buy It Now
Renaissance Of Fools - Fear, Hope & Frustration NEW CD USD $14.76 Buy It Now
NEW ORLEANS RENAISSANCE - JAZZ CRUSADE LP JC-2001 USD $35.00 Buy It Now
Azure D'Or Renaissance UK vinyl LP album record K56633 WARNER BROTHERS 1979 USD $18.01 Buy It Now
Renaissance vinyl LP album record Prologue UK SVNA7253 SOVEREIGN 1972 USD $39.64 Buy It Now
Dolcissima et Amorosa: Early Italian Renaissance Lute Music (CD, Nov-1994, Harmo USD $90.00 Buy It Now
Two Renaissance Dan... Early Music Consort Of London vinyl LP record UK USD $20.59 Buy It Now
Renaissance Kid Golden Virgins 7" vinyl single record UK REKD32S REX RECORDS USD $14.14 Buy It Now
Renaissance Northern Lights UK 7" vinyl single record K17177 WARNER BROTHERS USD $12.83 Buy It Now
Canadian Brass : Renaissance Men CD USD $6.85 Buy It Now
Mens Baroque Bartoli Costume Vampire Historical Royal Renaissance Costume Sized USD $92.80 Buy It Now
A Song For All Seasons Renaissance Canadian vinyl LP album record 9147-6049 USD $20.59 Buy It Now
EDWARD HIGGINBOTTOM - Renaissance masterpieces Vol.2 COLLINS CD STILL SEALED USD $7.49 Buy It Now
SACRED VOCAL MUSIC OF THE RENAISSANCE - SINGER PUR - ARS MUSICI CD STILL SELAED USD $7.49 Buy It Now
Renaissance Turn Of The Cards - EX vinyl LP album record UK BTM1000 RCA/BTM USD $39.64 Buy It Now
Renaissance A Song For All Seasons vinyl LP album record UK K56460 USD $20.59 Buy It Now
Renaissance Novella USA vinyl LP album record SA-7526 SIRE 1977 USD $18.01 Buy It Now
Weser-Renaissance - O Magnum Mysterium: Christmas Motets [New CD] USD $13.02 Buy It Now
Renaissance 1978 Sire promo 45rpm Northern Lights b/w Same Long USD $4.80 Buy It Now
Mens Baroque Bartoli Costume Vampire Historical Royal Renaissance Costume Sized USD $92.80 Buy It Now
Renaissance Northern Lights 7" vinyl single record UK K17177 WARNER BROTHERS USD $14.14 Buy It Now
Classical Guitar Masters: Musical Renaissance (CD, Jul-2000, Direct Source) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
RENAISSANCE - NOVELLA - SIRE 1977 DEMONSTRATION GATEFOLD LP ALBUM USD $3.99 Buy It Now
Renaissance Scheherazade And Other Stories vinyl LP album record USA SASD-7510 USD $20.59 Buy It Now
Renaissance Turn Of The Cards vinyl LP album record UK BTM1000 RCA/BTM 1975 USD $52.55 Buy It Now
A Renaissance Christmas Celebration with The Waverly Consort, Columbia M 34554 USD $8.00 Buy It Now
CITY BOY - CITY BOY [CD, 2008, RENAISSANCE RECORDS] **BRAND NEW/SEALED** USD $15.00 Buy It Now
Renaissance vinyl LP album record Renaissance - 1st - EX UK ILPS9114 ISLAND USD $46.10 Buy It Now
Mens Baroque Bartoli Costume Vampire Historical Royal Renaissance Costume Sized USD $92.80 Buy It Now
The Byrds rock 45 My Back Pages bw Renaissance Fair Columbia USD $10.00 [0 bids]
RENAISSANCE The Mix Collection SASHA & JOHN DIGWEED x 3 CD ORIGINAL 1994 RELEASE USD $64.55 [0 bids]
RENAISSANCE Lot of 3 LPs on Sire USD $8.98 Buy It Now
Steve & Shannon Anderson-Renaissance (CD-RP) CD NEW USD $17.51 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE EARLY MUSIC CD - J. Gray + C. Finnis. Media/ Library Music. 34 Songs USD $9.04 Buy It Now
Italian Lute Music from the Renaissance 10" LP Walter Gerwig France 1961 EX/EX USD $25.00 Buy It Now
LP: ARS Nova Renaissance Florentine Music Decca Gold Label sealed USD $11.27 Buy It Now
Various Artists : Renaissance Noel CD USD $6.99 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE - Novella, ORIGINAL 1977 UK MATRIX 1 LP ..... EX USD $9.03 [1 bids]
ANTHONY ROOLEY JAMES TYLER Renaissance Duets L'OISEAU-LYRE VINYL LP FREE UK POST USD $16.27 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE: ACADEMY OF MUSIC 1974 (LTD) (LP vinyl *BRAND NEW*) USD $22.32 Buy It Now
Calliope Dances: A Renaissance Revel (CD, May-1992, Nonesuch (USA)) USD $13.98 Buy It Now
The Renaissance, E-Town Concrete, , Very Good Explicit Lyrics,Enhanced USD $8.20 Buy It Now
Danses Espagnoles de la Renaissance Rodrigo de Zayas 2 LP Box Set Sealed USD $20.00 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL~VG++ 2LP~STERLING~PROGRESSIVE ROCK~FOLK ROCK USD $10.00 Buy It Now
Renaissance ?- Novella - 12" Vinyl LP Gatefold - SA-7526 USD $8.40 Buy It Now
Other Brothers Precious Memories Pt I Renaissance 76 R-5051 Soul Northern Motown USD $7.75 Buy It Now
Renaissance: The Cla - Renaissance: The Classics / Various [New CD] USD $9.11 Buy It Now
A Renaissance Christmas Celebration with the Waverly Consort USD $17.02 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE Rave Flyer Flyers Year Unknown A6 The Conservatory Derby New Years USD $6.46 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE Rave Flyer Flyers Year Unknown A6 The Que Club Birmingham USD $6.46 Buy It Now
EDDIE BRIAN PRESENTS: A DOO WOP RENAISSANCE - 25 VA Tracks on RELIC #7090 USD $17.45 Buy It Now
Shirley Rumsey - Music Of The Italian Renaissance (CD 1994) USD $2.57 [0 bids]
Renaissance Music from the Courts of Mantua and Ferrara (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.04 Buy It Now
Trumpet Renaissance (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.04 Buy It Now
Renaissance / Novella vinyl LP 1977 Gate-Fold NM Prog / Soft Rock USD $9.99 Buy It Now
NECROPHAGIA "Season Of The Dead" LP New Renaissance 1987 Original Press USD $69.99 Buy It Now
(HZ311) Annie Haslem's Renaissance, Blessing In Disguise - 1995 CD USD $19.36 Buy It Now
Girl's Night Out by Karen Lawrence & The Pinz (CD, Feb-2018, Renaissance ) USD $13.99 Buy It Now
Hang On For Your Life by Shooting Star (CD, Apr-2011, Renaissance Records) USD $14.99 Buy It Now
Here Comes Trouble by Charlie (CD, Oct-1998, Renaissance Records (USA)) USD $1.90 Buy It Now
Renaissance (Expanded) Audio CD USD $46.13 Buy It Now
The Rebel's Renaissance [VINYL] Vinyl USD $38.19 Buy It Now
Rock Renaissance ll & Rock Renaissance lll CD'S 2 Total - Time Life Music USD $8.00 Buy It Now
Renaissance - Live at the BBC: Sight & Sound [New CD] Germany - Import USD $26.52 Buy It Now
VINYL RECORD ALBUM KLEZMER CONSERVATORY BAND YIDDISHE RENAISSANCE VSD 79450 USD $14.95 Buy It Now
Salacious Chansons (and other Renaissance Ribaldry) - Stereo LP »» !SEALED! «« USD $21.48 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE Ashes Are Burning - rare CD Long Box - no cd USD $21.99 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE Prologue - rare CD Long Box - no cd USD $21.99 Buy It Now
Renaissance Vinyl LP Sire Records, 1977, SA 7526, Novella USD $6.99 Buy It Now
The Freemans Renaissance Southern Gospel Cassette 1F USD $5.45 Buy It Now
Renaissance Brass Audio CD USD $37.30 Buy It Now
Blue Heron Renaissance Choi...-V 2: Music From The Peterhouse CD NEW USD $18.47 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE ASHES ARE BURNING JAPAN OBI EMS-80862 GATEFOLD USD $49.00 Buy It Now
ULTRA RARE CANTO ANTIGUO Spanish Medieval & Renaissance. MHS 3693 Vinyl + CD NM USD $29.95 Buy It Now
NEW sealed Renaissance of the Steel String Guitar by Dan Crary CD USD $29.99 Buy It Now
Two Renaissance Dance Bands - Morley Consort - 12" vinyl LP album USD $3.81 [0 bids]
Musica Royale - Renaissance Hits & Near Misses [New CD] Duplicated CD USD $21.80 Buy It Now
Weser-Renaissance - Sacred Works [New CD] USD $13.62 Buy It Now
WITHERSPOON MULLIGAN WEBSTER AT RENAISSANCE UK Vogue MONO 1st DECCA DEEP GROOVE USD $12.85 Buy It Now
CANNED HEAT DEEP PURPLE RENAISSANCE ROYAL ALBERT HALL PROGRAMME 30 JANUARY 1970 USD $193.68 Buy It Now
OH LAND-RENAISSANCE GIRLS VINYL NEW USD $14.92 Buy It Now
Blue Heron Renaissance Choi...-Motets, Hymns, Chansons, Sanc (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $15.04 Buy It Now
Renaissance Masterpieces, Vol 5 - Vienna by Oxford Choir of New College(CD,1998) USD $6.02 Buy It Now
Dance Music of the High Renaissance (CD, 1994, Boston Skyline) Various USD $4.00 Buy It Now
At Home with Renaissance Christmas 2005 Holiday (New CD) Factory Sealed! USD $5.98 Buy It Now
VANILLA FUDGE Renaissance SD33244 LP Vinyl SEALED USD $49.99 Buy It Now
Scheherazade and Other Stories by Renaissance: New USD $15.86 Buy It Now
Renaissance Vinyl LP A Song For All Seasons VG USD $3.88 Buy It Now
Josquin Des Prez & Heinrich Isaac: Music of the Renaissance by Scott Whitaker USD $11.04 Buy It Now
Lanterns of Fire: Love and the Mystic in Renaissance Spain: New USD $11.04 Buy It Now
Classical Hymns of the Renaissance: New USD $2.94 Buy It Now
Masterworks and Miniatures: Organ and harpsichord music from Renaissance Venice USD $13.42 Buy It Now
Et Lux Perpetua...: Trauermusik der Renaissance by Chant 1450: New USD $12.34 Buy It Now
Tuscany by Renaissance: New USD $24.62 Buy It Now
The 13th Annual 2006 Renaissance Christmas Pageant & Feast CD USD $9.27 Buy It Now

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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)

3.75 | 325 ratings
Renaissance
1969
3.07 | 236 ratings
Illusion
1971
3.71 | 410 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.22 | 673 ratings
Ashes Are Burning
1973
4.09 | 592 ratings
Turn Of The Cards
1974
4.31 | 1113 ratings
Scheherazade And Other Stories
1975
3.73 | 367 ratings
Novella
1977
3.66 | 332 ratings
A Song For All Seasons
1978
3.01 | 196 ratings
Azure D'Or
1979
2.41 | 120 ratings
Camera Camera
1981
1.62 | 109 ratings
Time-Line
1983
2.12 | 68 ratings
The Other Woman
1995
2.87 | 56 ratings
Ocean Gypsy
1997
2.15 | 60 ratings
Songs From Renaissance Days
1997
3.02 | 100 ratings
Tuscany
2000
3.27 | 123 ratings
Grandine Il Vento [Aka: Symphony Of Light]
2013

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

4.26 | 219 ratings
Live At Carnegie Hall
1976
3.81 | 57 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 1
1997
3.70 | 54 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 2
1997
3.85 | 26 ratings
BBC Sessions
1999
4.07 | 13 ratings
Day of the Dreamer
2000
2.42 | 12 ratings
Unplugged - Live at The Academy of Music, Philadelphia USA
2000
3.14 | 14 ratings
Can You Hear Me
2001
3.31 | 12 ratings
Mother Russia
2002
3.92 | 12 ratings
Live + Direct
2002
3.57 | 40 ratings
In The Land Of The Rising Sun
2002
3.15 | 13 ratings
British Tour '76
2006
3.17 | 14 ratings
Dreams & Omens
2008
4.15 | 29 ratings
Turn Of The Cards & Scheherazade And Other Stories - Live In Concert
2011
3.92 | 3 ratings
Past Orbits Of Dust: Live 1969/1970
2012
3.21 | 19 ratings
DeLane Lea Studios 1973
2015
3.86 | 14 ratings
Academy Of Music 1974
2015
3.18 | 14 ratings
A Symphonic Journey
2018

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

2.89 | 22 ratings
Song of Scheherazade
2008
3.97 | 13 ratings
Kings And Queens
2010
4.40 | 10 ratings
Live at the Union Chapel
2016
3.91 | 4 ratings
Live at the BBC Sight & Sound
2016

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

2.57 | 13 ratings
In the Beginning
1978
4.00 | 3 ratings
Rock Galaxy
1980
3.45 | 31 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1
1990
3.21 | 30 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2
1990
3.46 | 17 ratings
Da Capo
1995
2.53 | 5 ratings
Innocence
1998
2.57 | 4 ratings
Trip To The Fair
1998
3.83 | 3 ratings
Songs For All Seasons
2002
4.00 | 2 ratings
Heritage
2003
2.00 | 4 ratings
Midas Man
2003

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

2.00 | 1 ratings
Island
1970
3.10 | 2 ratings
Prologue
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Carpet of the Sun
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mother Russia
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Back Home Once Again
1977
4.00 | 1 ratings
Midas Man
1977
3.33 | 3 ratings
Northern Lights
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Jekyll and Hyde
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Winter Tree / Island of Avalon
1979
1.25 | 8 ratings
Faeries (Living At The Bottom Of My Garden)
1981
3.57 | 17 ratings
The Mystic And The Muse
2010

RENAISSANCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Symphonic Journey by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 2018
3.18 | 14 ratings

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A Symphonic Journey
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Trip to the fair

A Symphonic Journey is a brand new live release, celebrating nearly five decades of Renaissance's music. A DVD video of the performance is included, but I am only familiar with the audio content. The band is performing together with a 10-piece chamber orchestra on this occasion, in contrast to the more intimate band setting evidenced on the band's previous live release Live At Union Chapel. Personally, I prefer Live At Union Chapel, and think that the orchestra adds little of value to the proceedings - but it is a matter of taste.

As is to be expected, there is some overlap between these two releases with about half of the songs being present on both. But there are also some surprises to be found here. One of these is Island, the oldest inclusion, originally from the band's self-titled 1969 album. I could be wrong, but I believe this is the first time Annie Haslam has sung a song from the Jane Relf-era. Another surprise inclusion is Kalynda from 1979's Azure d'Or. With the exception of Illusion and Novella all of the band's 70's albums are represented in the set list.

Highlights for me include A Song For All Seasons, Trip To The Fair, and Symphony Of Light. From a vocal perspective, the latter is especially great - as it was also on Live At Union Chapel. The closer Ashes Are Burning re-introduces the electric guitar solo from the original album version.

Overall, A Symphonic Journey is a nice release, and a good addition to Renaissance's live catalogue.

 Prologue by RENAISSANCE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1972
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Prologue
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Sparing some love for Prologue

Released as a single in 1972, Prologue is my personal favourite piece of music by Renaissance - a brilliant composition that was the first track on the album of the same name and often used as the opening number at the band's live concerts. It is not exactly an instrumental as it does feature lots of wordless vocals, but no lyrics. This classical, jazzy instrumental is in my opinion a masterpiece of Symphonic progressive Rock and one that I never tire of even if played on repeat.

The other track on this single is Spare Some Love, also taken from the album Prologue. The single version is an edit that is 3 minutes and 49 seconds compared to the album version which is over 5 minutes. The single version was released on CD for the first time as a bonus track on the 2018 CD re-issue of Prologue by Esoteric Recordings. I am not very fond of this song, so the edit does not offend me.

As I understand it, on some versions of this single it was Spare Some Love that was the a-side whilst other versions (as the one showed here) had Prologue as the a-side. It was brave to release something like Prologue as a single, and though it probably did not do much in the charts it is a classic of the genre and a great piece of music.

 A Symphonic Journey by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 2018
3.18 | 14 ratings

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A Symphonic Journey
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by SteveG

3 stars The end of 2017 found the reconstituted Renaissance briefly touring with a chamber orchestra and the result is this double CD and DVD of the second ever concert of the two performing together. Annie Haslam's voice is starting to get more strident then sweet these days, but rest assured that she can still sing in key and sustain those long notes. The band, who now seem to be ever changing aside from keyboard player Rave Tesar, were mostly accomplished aside from some brief timing issues. Tesar was the standout, as usual. Second keyboard player Geoffrey Langley played like measured clockwork until he was allowed to cut lose on synths on the concert's encore song. The rest of band played in workman like fashion except for guitarist Mark Lambert, who resurrected the electric guitar lead (originally played by the great Andy Powell from Wishbone Ash) at the close of "Ashes Are Burning". It should have been more interesting but something was amiss.

To break up the monotony, the band decided to do two odd ball songs, "Kalynda" from Azure D'or and "Island" from the first Renaissance album which featured Jane Relf instead of Annie. While these songs in themselves were not terrible, some of the other songs that the group decided to do, both with and without the orchestra, were not good choices. The now ever present "Prologue" and "Trip To The Fair", played without orchestra, came off poorly. "Prologue", accompanied by faux synth strings would have been better served had the actual orchestra provided real orchestral backing, while "Trip To The Fair" suffered the most from timing issues. Compounding this was the fact that Annie sounded a bit strained at times, like she was still trying to get warmed up. The songs that worked the best with the orchestra were "Carpet of The Sun", "Mother Russia" and "A Song For All Seasons", all of which were recorded with stunning orchestral arrangements on their respective studio albums. One song that was greatly enhanced by the addition of the orchestra was the haunting "At The Harbor" from the Ashes Are Burning album as the studio cut features only Haslam's lone vocal, piano, acoustic guitar and some brief bass guitar notes. With the orchestra, the song was transformed from a dirge into an emotional lament. What did not work as well with the orchestra were "Grandine Il Vento" and " Symphony Of Light" from the last Renaissance studio album Symphony Of Light. However, these were the exceptions where Annie's voice rose to the occasion as she is quite proud of these two songs. I think the band and the orchestra would have been better served had they focused on songs that incorporated an orchestra in the studio releases like "Can You Here Me?" from Novella. Or a song which substituted the orchestra in place of the synths used for symphonic accompaniment like "The Flood At Lyon" from Azure D'or. The latter would have been especially welcomed and note worthy.

In the liner notes, Annie states that it was her dream to perform again with an orchestra and the occasion filled her with joy. I'm happy for her but now it's time for her and the band to give joy to their long time fans with a new album of studio material. There are enough talented musicians still in the Renaissance fold after the death of songwriter Michael Dunford a few years back. The band just needs to believe that they can make new music without him. 3 stars for A Symphonic Journey.

 Island by RENAISSANCE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1970
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Island
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars The first sounds of the sea

The first single by Renaissance, released in 1970. The A-side is an edited version of the song Island taken from the band's superb self-titled debut album, and the B-side is a non-album track called The Sea. Both tracks have been included as bonus tracks on some CD re-issues of the debut album.

The single edit of Island is just over three and a half minutes long, while the original album version is six minutes long. The edit simply fades out, just before the interesting instrumental part - so, at least for me, it is clear that the longer album version is far superior.

The Sea is a nice little song that was perhaps an inspiration for the similarly titled Sounds of the Sea on Prologue, by the later line-up of Renaissance. It is considerably less adventurous compared to the tracks that made up the album, but it works well enough as a single B-side.

 A Symphonic Journey by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 2018
3.18 | 14 ratings

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A Symphonic Journey
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

3 stars This was recorded and filmed in 2017 at Keswick Theatre, Philadelphia, finally put together to a DVD/2CD set. 'A Symphonic Journey' marks a highly professional performance by Annie Haslam & Co., which here also includes the Renaissance Chamber Orchestra. This will feature additional strings, woodwind, brass and percussion. A real advantage concering all the songs which already included orchestral instruments on the original studio recordings. Burden or benefit, as I'm in the position to compare? For some reason it's not exactly the same feeling anymore. Have seen the band live decades ago, reminding me of some really really special magic, with Annie visually and vocally appearing like an impressive angel.

Now, when speaking of the most successfull mid 1970s line up, also including Michael Dunford, Jon Camp, John Trout and Terrence Sullivan, she's the sole remaining member on the stage on this occasion. Her voice is still exceptional, not that crystal clear anymore, but who seriously should wonder or even complain about that? And it may not be a surprise, that the majority of the played songs originally has been recorded by those aforementioned band members. Ashes Are Burning and the orchestrated Mother Russia are still outstanding here. Very good performance, while considering that I do not have the DVD at hand. Not necessarily essential for me, for others though it may be so. 3.5 stars.

 Midas Man by RENAISSANCE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Midas Man
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars After a year of no new studio material from Renaissance (only the double album Live at Carnegie Hall came out in 1976), 1977 saw the release of Novella, which I definitely count among the group's finest achievements. Sadly some critics don't agree at all, for example All Music Guide's Bruce Eder rates Novella strangely with two stars only. That beautiful album contains lengthy symphonic epics 'Can You Hear Me?' and 'Touching Once (Is So Hard to Keep)' and three shorter tracks, the whole leaning towards introspective and melancholic feeling which may put some listeners off. This single has two shortest songs from Novella, but they are nevertheless very representative of the album's overall atmosphere. It must be quite rare to have a single with both songs this firmly in minor key.

'Midas Man' sees Annie Haslam in a very central role while the acoustic guitar oriented arrangement is kept rather simple. The deeply melancholic and moving song about greed makes me imagine a Renaissance-era group performing in a Medieval church.

B-side's song 'The Captive Heart' is coloured by classically flavoured, decorative melodies of piano. Haslam's gorgeous voice is again the true star of the song, with excellent vocal harmonies in the chorus. While this song is slightly more light-hearted and brighter than 'Midas Man', also it has a deeply melancholic undertone. It's very understandable that not all Renaissance fans value such minor key intimacy so highly, but I love these songs as much as I love Novella as an album.

 Live at the Union Chapel by RENAISSANCE album cover DVD/Video, 2016
4.40 | 10 ratings

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Live at the Union Chapel
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Still burning

Renaissance was never among my favourite groups, being a bit too meek and lacking in Rock substance for my tastes. They are somewhat more meaty in the live setting however, compared to the studio. This fact together with keyboarder Tom Brislin's involvement was what drew me to check out Live at the Union Chapel. I previously knew Brislin from the Symphonic Yes DVD, as well as Camel's The Opening Farewell DVD. And having played with both Yes and Camel - two of my all-time favorite bands - I was curious to hear what Brislin could do for Renaissance. I was not disappointed, Brislin plays very well indeed, sharing keyboard duties here with Rave Tesar. The latter concentrates mainly on piano, leaving Brislin to focus more on synths; he even throws in a rousing solo in Ashes Are Burning.

The rest of the band consist of Mark Lambert on acoustic guitar, Leo Traversa on bass guitar, Frank Pagano on drums, and of course Annie Haslam on vocals. Despite the fact that Haslam herself is the only member with a long history with the band, they do a very good job to reproduce the classic songs in this intimate live setting. Personally, I like best the opening instrumental Prologue, the epic Symphony of Light, and Ashes are Burning.

A high quality performance, and one of the best I've heard from Renaissance

 Azure D'Or by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.01 | 196 ratings

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Azure D'Or
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nș 173

'Azure D'Or' is the ninth studio album of Renaissance and was released in 1979. This was the first album where the band stopped using an orchestra, the first album where the band exclusively features short songs and where the long epic pieces were gone and it was also the first album with the only full instrumental song ever released by the group.

The line up of the album is the same of their last previous studio albums. So, the line up on 'Azure D'Or' is Annie Haslam (lead and backing vocals), Michael Dunford (guitars), John Tout (keyboards), Jon Camp (vocals, backing vocals, guitars and bass) and Terence Sullivan (backing vocals, drums and percussion). However, this was the last album to feature this line up. John Tout who was dealing with some personal problems due to the death of his sister left the band and Terry Sullivan, long time friend of John Tout, also left the band as well, by a principle of solidarity.

'Azure D'Or' has ten tracks. The first track 'Jekyll And Hyde' written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is a good song to open the album. Annie Haslam's voice sounds as good as ever, and despite the new rhythm, more pop than was usual, it remains an unmistakable Renaissance's song, as fresh and cool, as always it was. The second track 'The Winter Tree' written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is a great example of a good pop music with excellent musical composition. It combines a nice acoustic guitar work with a beautiful keyboard working. It isn't as good as the previous song, but it's still a good song. The third track 'Only Angels Have Wings' written by Jon Camp is a different track from the previous, especially because it has the male voice of Jon Camp. It's a song with excellent orchestration and a great keyboard working. We may say that this is a typical symphonic track, very interesting and pleasant to hear, which curiously hasn't any drumming work. The fourth track 'Golden Key' written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is an excellent track and it's probably my favourite track on the album. It's a wonderful song, probably the best musical composition on the album, and it's also probably, the most progressive track on it. This is a great melodic song with an absolute irreproachable orchestration, completely in the same vein of some of the best songs composed for their previous great studio albums. The fifth track 'Forever Changing' written by Betty Thatcher and Terry Sullivan represents another good musical moment on the album and represents also another highlight on it. This is another great melodic song with a memorable melody and where, once more, we are in presence of a fantastic vocal performance and a great acoustic guitar working. The sixth track 'Secret Mission' written by Jon Camp is another good song where all the musical elements, combined together, turned this song complex enough, to can be called a good progressive song, really. Once more the vocal performance of Annie Haslam is great and the keyboard work of John Tout is also, and once more, absolutely remarkable. No doubt about it. The seventh track 'Kalynda (A Magical Isle)' written by Jon Camp is a nice melodic song full of emotions. It has another great and perfect acoustic guitar working. Once more the vocal performance of Annie Haslam deserves a special mention. It's a very beautiful and simple song and although it can't be considered one of the most progressives on the album. The final result is another catchy and pleasant song to hear. The eighth track 'The Discovery' written by Jon Camp is a rare instrumental track for the band, the only composed on the album. Sincerely and despite being a very simple and vulgar instrumental song, I consider it a delightful and very interesting track, with great orchestration and with a classical touch. The ninth track 'Friends' written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is another beautiful and melodic song. It's true that it's another very simple song, in terms of musical composition, and a little bit repetitive. But, once more, the final result is sufficiently catchy, nice, pleasant and enjoyable to hear. The tenth and last track 'The Flood At Lyons' written by Jon Camp and Michael Dunford was the song chosen to close the album. This is another good song that brings us the same mood and musical arrangements of their best good old times. Once again the vocal working of Annie Haslam is absolutely great and contributes powerfully to turn this song into a great musical moment and ending this album magnificently.

Conclusion: Despite 'Azure D'Or' be the weakest musical work released by Renaissance in the 70's, it remains, for me, a good album. It's true that it's a more commercially oriented album only with short songs, but in general, we can say that it's a very pleasant and nice musical proposal to hear, nothing disastrous and sufficiently good to be considered still a classic Renaissance's album, a minor classic it's true, but nevertheless, it's still a classic album from them. If you don't know Renaissance's music yet, you may like 'Azure D'Or'. I even sincerely think that even who knows their best albums shouldn't be disappointed with it, because it isn't as bad as some think. However, I wouldn't advise you to start with it. My advice is to start with 'Ashes Are Burning', 'Turn Of The Cards' or 'Scheherazade And Other Stories'. Their compilation album 'De Capo' is also another great proposal to start with this great 70's band.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 A Song For All Seasons by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.66 | 332 ratings

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A Song For All Seasons
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nș 172

"A Song For All Seasons" is the eighth studio album of Renaissance and was released in 1978. It marked the return of the electric guitars to the band's music after several years of absence. Like happened on "Novella", the line up is the same. So, the line up on the album is Annie Haslam (lead and backing vocals), Michael Dunford (guitars), John Tout (keyboards), Jon Camp (vocals, backing vocals and bass) and Terence Sullivan (drums and percussion).

Renaissance had deeper roots in the classical tradition than did most of the other progressive acts, often incorporating lesser known late romantic, (and beyond), motifs into their recorded workings. Such ties may have helped them to remain true to their musical commitments at a time when many other progressive bands were collapsing artistically, somehow. However, "A Song For All Seasons" was Renaissance's last album to have a real progressive feeling.

"A song For All Seasons" has eight tracks. The first track "Opening Out" written by Michael Dunford and Jon Camp is, in a certain way, a strange song. It's a very beautiful and melodic song that has everything to be an epic song, but due to a mysterious and surprising motif, doesn't develop and ends somewhat in an abrupt way. However and despite that, we are in the presence of a great track. The second track "Day Of The Dreamer" written by Michael Dunford and Jon Camp follow the steps and the style of their greatest predecessors songs. This is clearly a very good progressive track with several musical changes, all over the song, with some great musical moments. It's probably not fresh and enough inspired as other great epic songs composed by them, but in its essence, it keeps the excellence of Renaissance's music. The third track "Closer Than Yesterday" written by Michael Dunford and Jon Camp is a very brief song and is also one of the shortest songs on the album. This is a song with a very simple musical structure, very nice and pleasant to hear. It's a typical acoustic ballad especially composed for the duo Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford with a lush orchestration on the back. It's a simple but a nice song, too. The fourth track "Kindness (At The End)" written by Jon Camp is an excellent song that at some times reminds me strongly the music of Barclay James Harvest. It's a very good song with good bass line by Jon Camp, great classical piano by John Tout and where the excellent performance of John Tout marry perfectly well with the voice of Annie Haslam. The fifth track "Back Home Once Again" written by Michael Dunford and Jon Camp is with "Closer Than Yesterday" one of the smallest songs on the album, and because of its musical structure, it has a more commercial sound. It's a nice song but it represents one of the weakest songs on the album. And because of that we wouldn't rank it among the finest songs on their musical catalogue. The sixth track "She Is Love" written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is another weak point of the album and represents probably the weakest song on it. We can't say this it's a bad song but, in a certain way, the song doesn't catch, and the only thing I can say is that they should have been kept this song out of this album, perhaps. A totally incomprehensive decision made by them, I think. The seventh track "Northern Lights" written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is another beautiful and catchy song on the album. It's true that is a more pop oriented song but it's very beautiful and nice to hear. I think it represents a very good pop song, composed with enough quality to can give us some pleasure when we hear it. The eighth track "A Song For All Seasons" is the title track and was written by Betty Thatcher, Michael Dunford, Jon Camp, John Tout and Terry Sullivan. This is the epic and pompous track on the album, but unfortunately, it represents also the last great Renaissance's symphonic progressive epic. The title track is a truly progressive song full of pure joy, melody, sweetness and grandiosity, and once more, the vocal performance of Annie Haslam is absolutely irreproachable. This song proves the grandiosity of this great band and closes this album with a golden key.

Conclusion: "A Song For All Seasons" is a great album but is also the last great Renaissance's album. In a world with The Sex Pistols and The Clash, there is no space for the progressive music of bands like Renaissance, Genesis and Gentle Giant, for instance. Those bands needed to be more commercial. Renaissance and Genesis did it with some success, or they would to have an end, which is the case of Gentle Giant. "A Song For All Seasons" was produced by Genesis' producer David Hentschel and he did an excellent job. I can see a certain parallelism between Renaissance and Genesis. Both bands belong to the same symphonic prog sub-genre, 1978 is the year of "A Song For All Seasons" and is also the year of "And Then There Were Three?", and both albums were produced by Hentschel. Finally, both albums are, in my humble opinion, the last great studio albums released by them. 1978 was also the year of Gentle Giant's tenth studio album, "Giant For A Day". However, while "A Song For All Seasons" and "And Then There Were Three?" are great works, "Giant For A Day" is a complete fiasco and represents Gentle Giant's worse musical working.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Novella by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.73 | 367 ratings

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Novella
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nș 171

"Novella" is the seventh studio album of Renaissance and was released in 1977. When we talk about the years of 1976 and 1977 we mustn't forget the arising of the punk movement. Those were times of great turbulence for all the progressive rock music. Renaissance was able to manage and to last longer, than most of the other progressive rock bands, before beginning their period of musical decline. During the period of 1977 and 1978, when bands such as Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant and Emerson, Lake & Palmer fell part way or whole way into pop mediocrity, Renaissance managed to come up with a great album "Novella", in 1977 and one very good album "A Song For All Seasons", in 1978.

The line up on "Novella" is Annie Haslam (lead and backing vocals), Michael Dunford (backing vocals and acoustic guitars), John Tout (backing vocals and keyboards), Jon Camp (vocals, backing vocals and bass) and Terence Sullivan (backing vocals, drums and percussion). The album has also the participation of Richard Hewson.

"Novella" has five tracks. The first track "Can You Hear Me?" written by Betty Thatcher, Michael Dunford and Jon Camp is an excellent song to open the album. It's a kind of a mini epic track extremely well performed especially by John Tout's piano and Michael Dunford's acoustic guitar, and once more the beautiful voice of Annie Haslam is absolutely perfect. The musical arrangements, which consist mostly of instrumental parts, are superb, and the addition of the orchestral arrangements is fantastic and complete perfectly well this piece of music. The final result of this fantastic work is a great progressive track. The second track "The Sisters" written by Betty Thatcher, Michael Dunford and John Tout is a soft orchestrated ballad with a very melancholic feeling and with a superb angelical vocal work by Annie Haslam with a great dramatic interpretation, very well supported by a nice choral work. It's a very beautiful song with a very special Spanish touch done by the performance of Michael Dunford on his acoustic guitar. Musically, it's a very simple track but with an extremely beautiful melody and where the gorgeous voice of Annie Haslam shines brilliantly in all its magnificence. This isn't a typical song of Renaissance, because in reality, this is very distinct to everything the band had done before, but it works perfectly well and once more we are in presence of a great Renaissance's song. The third track "Midas Man" written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is a beautiful classical track with a folky touch. It's mostly an acoustic song very well performed and with nice musical final result. This is mostly a song performed by the acoustic 12 string guitar of Michael Dunford and where we can hear, in some parts, the sound of the tubular bells. Because is essentially a repetitive song is considered by many a boring song. However, I think that is perfectly unfair because it has a very good musical arrangement which can be perfectly audible on any good audio system. The fourth track "The Captive Heart" written by Michael Dunford and Jon Camp is another beautiful track of Renaissance and represents, in my humble opinion, one the most beautiful songs made by them and where the voice of Annie Haslam is absolutely superb and unforgettable. It's a track with wonderful piano work with a classical style introduction. The main components of this song are the piano of John Tout and the voice of Annie Haslam supported by male voices on the back. This is a typical Renaissance's song strongly influenced by classical music and with a very nice touch of folk music. This track represents how a song composed with a simple musical structure can be as superb as it is. Only few bands can do that, and Renaissance is for sure one of them. The fifth and last track "Touching Once (Is So Hard To Keep)" written by Michael Dunford and Jon Camp can be considered the epic track on the album. It retakes the style of the opening track, a long symphonic suite, very classical and with great orchestration. This is another excellent song once more with great accentuation in the style of the voice of Annie Haslam. This is a very progressive track with several musical changes all over the song and where we can listen to, the sound of a saxophone. The main beauty of this song is on its nice melody and also on its superb orchestral arrangements. This is another great progressive track.

Conclusion: Despite "Novella" isn't as good as "Prologue", "Ashes Are Burning", "Turn Of The Cards" and especially "Scheherazade And Other Stories", it's without any doubt, a great album. At least it's at the same quality level of their first two studio releases, "Renaissance" and "Illusion". However, we mustn't forget that "Novella" was released in 1977, at the height of the punk movement. That movement would have, in a short time, disastrous consequences in Renaissance, as happened with Genesis, Gentle Giant and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, for instance. "Novella" can be considered the beginning of the end of an era in Renaissance's music. "Novella" can be also considered, perhaps, the last great studio album of Renaissance and also the last truly progressive album released by the group. Unfortunately, soon another great progressive band would be defeated by the immediate commercial interests of the record labels.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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