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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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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$16.06
$15.49 (used)
Symphony of LightSymphony of Light
Red River Entertaint 2014
Audio CD$7.37
$7.67 (used)
Ashes Are BurningAshes Are Burning
Import
Repertoire 1995
Audio CD$5.05
$5.54 (used)
Renaissance Live In Concert Tour 2011Renaissance Live In Concert Tour 2011
Box set
MRI 2012
DVD Audio$12.56
$10.88 (used)
Turn of the CardsTurn of the Cards
Import
Repertoire 1994
Audio CD$5.35
$3.27 (used)
Scheherazade & Other StoriesScheherazade & Other Stories
Import
Repertoire Records
Audio CD$5.48
$3.99 (used)
Academy Of Music 1974Academy Of Music 1974
Cleopatra 2015
Audio CD$10.93
$11.07 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
ANNIE HASLAM'S RENAISSANCE Blessing In Disguise (OW 31450) CD/US Original issue USD $10.73 Buy It Now 39m 53s
Renaissance - Illusion NEW CD USD $14.95 Buy It Now 45m 56s
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Caravan & Renaissance Town Hall, Birmingham 23/3/75 Ticket USD $19.19 Buy It Now 47m 52s
GARGOYLE "SELF TITLED" SUPER RARE CASSETTE 1988 NEW RENAISSANCE HEAVY METAL HTF! USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1h 2m
MUZIK MAG CD, RENAISSANCE, IBIZA BY NIGHT, NIGEL DAWSON & MARCUS JAMES, USD $0.75 [0 bids]
1h 6m
E Town Concrete - Renaissance (R) (2003) - Used - Compact Disc USD $3.48 Buy It Now 1h 8m
Vespers by Piffaro CD 2009 Navona Records New Music for Renaissance Instruments USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1h 11m
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RENAISSANCE THE CLASSICS -3 X MIXED CDS PIANO HOUSE OLDSKOOL 90S USD $11.52 Buy It Now 1h 24m
Renaissance - Renaissance NEW CD USD $14.95 Buy It Now 1h 30m
Renaissance Hammersmith Odeon, London 10/8/78 Ticket USD $1.52 Buy It Now 1h 34m
Wishbone Ash Vinegar Joe Renaissance Al Stewart Alexandra Palace 22/12/73 Ticket USD $19.19 Buy It Now 1h 54m
The Da Vinci Collection Music Of The Renaissance LIKE NEW 17 Track CD 2006 EMI USD $6.79 Buy It Now 2h 23m
Live The Legend - New World Renaissance Band (2004, CD New) USD $21.68 Buy It Now 2h 37m
Alan Stivell Renaissance of the Celtic Harp LP 1971 Ex- A1 B1 matrices USD $3.06 [0 bids]
2h 38m
Renaissance Music - ** NEAR MINT ** Open University 12" Vinyl LP USD $7.60 Buy It Now 2h 45m
MXPX - The Renaissance EP (CD 2001) USA Import EXC 9-Track Punk Rock USD $4.58 Buy It Now 2h 58m
VARIOUS Music Of The Renaissance MACE MCS9062 VG+ STEREO LP CLASSICAL VOGELWEIDE USD $6.07 Buy It Now 3h 27m
Tanzmusik der Renaissance Konrad Ragossnig Vinyl LP Archiv Label 2533111 USD $13.80 Buy It Now 3h 42m
RENAISSANCE AZURE D'OR 1979 LP PICTURE & LYRIC W/IN NM Promo USD $9.99 [0 bids]
3h 51m
Renaissance Prologue 1972 Capitol Records 33LP SMAS-11116 Gatefold USD $9.50 Buy It Now 3h 56m
Renaissance Man, Adcock, Eddie, Good USD $5.45 Buy It Now 4h
The Renaissance by Q-Tip (CD, Nov-2008, Motown) - FREE S & H - USD $12.99 Buy It Now 4h 5m
JOHN THEMIS Final Cruise 7" B/w English Renaissance Pic Sleeve UK Coda USD $7.66 Buy It Now 4h 7m
GOLDEN VIRGINS Renaissance Kid 7" UK Xl 2004 USD $7.35 Buy It Now 4h 9m
GOLDEN VIRGINS Renaissance Kid 7" Original Issue B/w Shadows Of Your Love Die C USD $7.20 Buy It Now 4h 9m
M PEOPLE Renaissance 7" Black Label Jukebox Promo B/w How Can I Love You More Sa USD $5.59 Buy It Now 4h 16m
M PEOPLE Renaissance 7" Radio Mix B/w Album Mix Pic Sleeve UK De Construction 1 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 4h 16m
RENAISSANCE Northern Lights 7" B/w Opening Out Sticker On Label UK Warner Bros USD $7.20 Buy It Now 4h 19m
RENAISSANCE Northern Lights 7" B/w Opening Out UK Warner Bros 1978 USD $7.66 Buy It Now 4h 19m
THE BANKS BROTHERS & RENAISSANCE CHORAL ENSEMBLE USD $8.00 [0 bids]
4h 21m
Dolcissima et Amorosa: Early Italian Renaissance Lute Music (CD, 11/94.(cd3965) USD $14.85 Buy It Now 4h 25m
Glenn Gould - Glenn Gould Plays Renaissance (NEW 2CD) USD $9.58 Buy It Now 4h 28m
Gustav Leonhardt - The Organ In Renaissance And Baroque; North (NEW 5 x CD SET) USD $18.41 Buy It Now 4h 29m
renaissance 1976 tour advert, poster size press advert USD $7.66 Buy It Now 4h 52m
Renaissance A Song For All Seasons Vinyl LP 1970s English Folk USD $11.50 Buy It Now 4h 59m
RENAISSANCE AZURE D'OR WARNER P-10693W Japanese Pressing OBI Vinyl LP USD $4.13 [4 bids]
5h 30m
THE BEATLES "Renaissance Minstrels" VERY RARE 12-track vinyl LP -EX/VG+ USD $36.85 [0 bids]
5h 31m
Gene Dinovi - Renaissance Of A Jazz Master [CD New] USD $14.94 Buy It Now 5h 34m
Renaissance- Azure D'Or- new/sealed 8 Track tape USD $8.00 Buy It Now 5h 38m
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5h 42m
VANILLA FUDGE RENAISSANCE LP ATCO ORIGINAL US PRESSING USD $19.94 Buy It Now 5h 45m
Illusion Out Of The Mist A1 B1 ?LISTEN? UK LP Renaissance Island 1977 EX/NM USD $23.01 Buy It Now 5h 48m
James Zabiela - DJ - RENAISSANCE - UTILITIES 2-CD Set USD $14.99 Buy It Now 5h 51m
Novella - Renaissance (2010, CD New) USD $29.42 Buy It Now 5h 52m
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Renaissance - Dreams & Omens - Live At The Tower Theatre USD $11.52 Buy It Now 5h 58m
Soul 45 JUNIOR LEWIS Which Way RENAISSANCE Records 7" Single Generic NM USD $20.00 Buy It Now 6h 5m
New World Renaissance Band - Live The Legend [CD New] USD $24.08 Buy It Now 6h 7m
Enter the Worship Circle by 100 Portraits (CD, Dec-1999, Blue Renaissance Music) USD $10.99 Buy It Now 6h 14m
RENAISSANCE A Song For All Seasons UK LP +inner 1978 ex+/ex+ USD $12.27 Buy It Now 6h 22m
Advert 8x12 BTM Records, Renaissance & Climax Blues Band USD $12.28 Buy It Now 6h 29m
Canzoni e Danze: Wind Music from Renaissance Italy USD $8.57 Buy It Now 6h 30m
At War Limited Edition EP USA Cassette Tape New Renaissance Thrash USD $21.24 Buy It Now 6h 32m
Italia The Renaissance Of Jew - Jacobson Dr Joshua; Zamir Ch (2014, CD New) USD $24.35 Buy It Now 6h 46m
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Renaissance USD $5.48 Buy It Now 7h 22m
Renaissance - Dander Deluxxe (2011, CD New) USD $10.12 Buy It Now 7h 39m
Ray Charles Renaissance Promo CR-9005 VG USD $14.95 Buy It Now 7h 40m
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RENAISSANCE- A SONG FOR ALL SEASONS - ON RECORD USD $3.99 Buy It Now 7h 50m
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Renaissance. A Song For All Seasons. USD $3.00 [0 bids]
8h 6m
RENAISSANCE - LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL 1976 DOUBLE LP RECORD ALBUM SIRE RARE! USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8h 11m
Treasures Of The Spanish Renaissance - David / Choir Of West (CD Used Very Good) USD $7.17 Buy It Now 8h 25m
RENAISSANCE : MOTHER RUSSIA : LIVE CONCERT : STILL SEALED CD ALBUM USD $2.30 [3 bids]
8h 29m
RENAISSANCE , NORTHERN LIGHTS , 7" SINGLE , 1978 USD $1.52 [0 bids]
8h 36m
TIME-LIFE - ROCK RENAISSANCE III - MINT CD USD $12.95 Buy It Now 8h 44m
Harp Music of the Italian Renaissance CD Hyperion Andrew Lawrence-King USD $6.13 [0 bids]
8h 48m
ZRG 5186 Palestrina Missa Aeterna Christi Munera / Renaissance Singers GRVD OVAL USD $15.35 [0 bids]
8h 48m
Il Cortegiano Italian Renaissance Music - Zambon / Daron / Schroeder Arcobaleno USD $3.06 Buy It Now 8h 58m
RENAISSANCE - Scheherazade and other stories - CD album USD $9.20 Buy It Now 8h 58m
The Renaissance in Music (CD, Jan-1999, Sony Music Distribution (USA)) USD $0.99 [0 bids]
9h
Renaissance m- GF LP Novella USD $5.49 Buy It Now 9h 2m
Renaissance m- record GF LP Prologue USD $9.75 Buy It Now 9h 2m
Renaissance m- with poster LP A Song for all Seasons USD $14.99 Buy It Now 9h 2m
Various Artists - Renaissance (The Classics, 2005) USD $3.06 [0 bids]
9h 5m
Renaissance Au Pays De France Ensemble Musique Acienne De Lyon French Pressing USD $14.95 Buy It Now 9h 8m
Concerts Et Danses De La Renaissance Dans Les Cours D'europe French Pressing USD $14.95 Buy It Now 9h 8m
Renaissance - Lionel Richie (CD Used Very Good) USD $11.80 Buy It Now 9h 14m
Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes - Renaissance LP - RCA - Funk Jazz USD $6.00 [0 bids]
9h 14m
Renaissance Lute Music - Lorenzo Del Liuto (CD Used Very Good) USD $7.81 Buy It Now 9h 15m
Lautenmusik der Renaissance Daniel Benko Vinyl LP Record 6.42705 AZ Digital USD $19.95 Buy It Now 9h 16m
WISHBONE ASH RENAISSANCE Double sided Tour Concert Flyer 1971 USD $46.06 Buy It Now 9h 37m
Vanilla Fudge Renaissance LP NM- SD33-244 1968 shrink USD $29.99 Buy It Now 9h 46m
Renaissance: Scheherazade And Other Stories, Renaissance,Very Good, vinyl record USD $7.49 Buy It Now 9h 51m
BEN WEBSTER At The Renaissance Jimmy Rowles Jim Hall Red Mitchell LP USD $29.97 Buy It Now 9h 51m
MOSTLY AUTUMN The Last Bright Light CD PROG (Glass Hammer, Heart, Renaissance) USD $29.99 Buy It Now 9h 57m
INTROITUS Elements CD SWE PROG (Mostly Autumn, Renaissance, Magenta, Karnataka) USD $15.99 Buy It Now 9h 57m
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BT ?- Godspeed (BT 12" Mix / Brothers In Rhythm Mix) RENAISSANCE USD $1.52 [0 bids]
9h 59m
Anthology by Lacy J. Dalton (CD, May-2000, Renaissance Records (USA)) USD $24.50 [0 bids]
10h 2m
PURE FUNK - ELEKTRIK 12" - RENAISSANCE USD $11.52 Buy It Now 10h 5m
RENAISSANCE PLAYERS Sibyls Giggle RARE Oz Medieval FOLK Winsome Evans LP 1979 NM USD $49.99 Buy It Now 10h 9m
RENAISSANCE PLAYERS Adam's Apple Oz FOLK 1977 RARE Medieval LP Winsome Evans NM USD $49.99 Buy It Now 10h 9m
Dance music of the Renaissance Konrad Ragossnig USD $19.99 Buy It Now 10h 16m
Kerry Livgren: Seeds of Change - CD 1996 Renaissance Records USD $30.00 Buy It Now 10h 19m
RENAISSANCE - Novella 1977 Sire Records G'Fold; Annie Haslam; Orig. Owner USD $11.75 Buy It Now 10h 23m
LINDEN SINGERS / GERALD HENDRIE Renaissance Music LP 10 Track Component Of The A USD $14.49 Buy It Now 10h 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)

3.72 | 255 ratings
Renaissance
1969
3.00 | 183 ratings
Illusion
1971
3.69 | 328 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.21 | 543 ratings
Ashes Are Burning
1973
4.07 | 481 ratings
Turn Of The Cards
1974
4.30 | 887 ratings
Scheherazade And Other Stories
1975
3.70 | 303 ratings
Novella
1977
3.60 | 269 ratings
A Song for All Seasons
1978
3.00 | 156 ratings
Azure D'or
1979
2.36 | 101 ratings
Camera Camera
1981
1.64 | 91 ratings
Time-Line
1983
2.04 | 55 ratings
The Other Woman
1995
2.91 | 43 ratings
Ocean Gypsy
1997
2.32 | 47 ratings
Songs from Renaissance Days
1997
3.09 | 81 ratings
Tuscany
2000
3.29 | 99 ratings
Grandine il Vento (Symphony of Light)
2013

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

4.21 | 180 ratings
Live At Carnegie Hall
1976
3.77 | 49 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 1
1997
3.66 | 46 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 2
1997
3.87 | 22 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
4.00 | 6 ratings
Live + Direct
2002
3.52 | 32 ratings
In The Land Of The Rising Sun
2002
3.15 | 8 ratings
British Tour '76
2006
3.11 | 10 ratings
Dreams & Omens
2008
4.16 | 21 ratings
Turn Of The Cards & Scheherazade And Other Stories - Live In Concert
2011
4.00 | 1 ratings
Past Orbits Of Dust: Live 1969/1970
2012
3.06 | 9 ratings
DeLane Lea Studios 1973
2015
3.97 | 4 ratings
Academy Of Music 1974
2015

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

2.87 | 19 ratings
Song of Scheherazade
2008
3.93 | 9 ratings
Kings And Queens
2010

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

2.56 | 10 ratings
In the Beginning
1978
3.33 | 3 ratings
Rock Galaxy
1980
3.43 | 27 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1
1990
3.19 | 27 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2
1990
3.42 | 13 ratings
Da 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)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Northern Lights
1978
1.20 | 7 ratings
Faeries (Living At The Bottom Of My Garden)
1981
3.57 | 15 ratings
The Mystic And The Muse
2010

RENAISSANCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Academy Of Music 1974 by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 2015
3.97 | 4 ratings

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Academy Of Music 1974
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Despite the sad loss of long-time members Michael Dunford and John Tout, there has been a lot of activity and releases keeping symphonic progressive legends Renaissance in the spotlight over the recent years. Live concert DVD's of the band performing some of their classic Seventies albums in their entirety, Annie Haslam's vivid and imaginative art works, a new studio album from a reworked version of the band with `Grandine il Vento' in 2013, and archived recordings from the group in their prime being dusted off for a fresh release like this album. `Academy of Music 1974' is a double CD that showcases the band performing alongside a 24 piece orchestra from the 17th of May of that year, and they deliver a set of favourite tracks from the first three albums that featured Annie as the leading lady of the group.

Thankfully the orchestra only enhances the performances during this concert, never leading the way, overwhelming the band or stealing the attention away from the main musicians. Although the compositions don't differ too much from the studio versions, there's an added urgency to the playing and a livelier energy that long-time fans of the band will appreciate. Annie's voice is vibrant yet more relaxed and perfectly controlled, there's an added warmth to the acoustic guitars, and Jon Camp's thrashing upfront bass mixed thick and upfront is especially satisfying. Superior versions of `Ashes are Burning' (showcasing some wilder guitar soloing in the extended instrumental middle from guest Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash), `Can You Understand?', `Carpet of the Sun' and the classic opener `Prologue' all feature.

But the band most seem to relish playing the new material from their just released `Turn of the Cards' album (they even mention between tracks that it "just came out a few days ago"). The orchestra rises to the occasion for grand interpretations of `Running Hard' and `Mother Russia', Annie's voice is full of wounded purity on the darkly regal majesty of `Black Flame', `Cold is Being' is even more of a chilly mournful dirge than the studio version, and there's a snapping driving heaviness to Terrence Sullivan's drumming on `Things I Don't Understand.'

Always an enjoyable aspect of Renaissance live shows is the cheerful, charming onstage banter between the group members. Considering their music was mostly always serious and dramatic, the band members are light-hearted, amusing and genuine in their interaction with the audience, and the occasionally rowdy crowd in between songs seem to be loving every minute of the show. And why wouldn't they? They're witnessing an amazingly talented band at the peak of their abilities delivering an impeccable performance!

This is a companion release to the `DeLane Lea Studios 1973' CD released earlier this year, and like that one, despite some audio imperfections popping up here and there throughout the recording, this set is certainly fancier than some mere `official bootleg'. After overdosing on the studio versions for so many years, it's a welcome and refreshing change to hear a different kind of life breathed into these classic works, and `Academy of Music 1974' is highly recommended for all fans of this defining and important symphonic prog band.

Four stars.

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 Camera Camera  by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.36 | 101 ratings

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Camera Camera
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Lewian

4 stars Not sure whether it's a wise move making my debut here with writing something positive about this record, but I think it's big fun actually and one of the most underrated albums. Much has been written about them trying to become commercial and even "new wave", but the truth is that if they tried this they failed miserably, at the same time pissing off much of their old fan base. It was probably the wrong album at the wrong time, but my take on it is very different.

I appreciate that they tried out something new and that they took a risk here. I even like the photo, which probably proves my bad taste. I find the album very fresh actually, and it's full of surprises. True, some of the material is pretty straightforward and can't really be called "prog", and one couldn't accuse them of following any consistent direction here, but I actually like the fact that every song is quite different from every other. There are some really excellent and at times extreme vocals here (Annie does other things than "beautiful & epic" here, which may have shocked some), good and dominant bass playing, some good melodies, some of rather mellow and some of rather determined character, some more Eastern influence. The rhythm section in several songs is harder and more "driving" than on other Renaissance albums. My favourite is Tyrant-tula, which is started off by a good guitar riff, has some quite "physical" parts, a quite exciting keyboard solo and some unexpected turns (leading into something of a dead end but that's part of the fun).

I don't mind the 80s keyboards, by the way, and quite a range of sounds and styles is used there, too (including some old school Renaissance piano). Actually, the whole "70s prog band goes 80s commercial" thing fascinates me to some extent; trying to make things a bit slimmer and straighter wasn't too wrong for some. In some cases there are interesting results like here, where the band keeps up their creativity (I think there's more creativity in this one than in a number of their predecessors actually) and it turns out that they put too many ideas in an album to be really commercial.

One can find things to criticise about this, not every idea works well (I don't like "Running Away From You" much but as all the others it's something unique on this record so it at least contributes to the overall number of styles). Considering the warning I just got from the system I should probably refrain from giving it all five stars but still I love this and it's a pretty pretty strong 4.

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 Azure D'or  by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.00 | 156 ratings

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Azure D'or
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Mr. Gone

4 stars I really like this album. Is it as majestic as Ashes Are Burning or Song of Scheherazade? Not at all. It's a more modest-sounding album. Orchestration is replaced completely by keyboards. The flirtation with electric guitar that began on Song for All Seasons is in even more full bloom here. This certainly doesn't sound like the same band that cut Ashes or even Seasons. But somehow, it all still works.

A great deal of it has to do with melody. "Jekyll and Hyde", "Winter Tree", "Golden Key", "Forever Changing" (an earlier reviewer said this song reminded them of Genesis' "Entangled" - I agree wholeheartedly), "The Discovery" - all very melodic and quite captivating. "Kalynda" and "Secret Mission" are also very good. The album stumbles a bit at the end - neither "Friends" nor "The Flood at Lyons" grab me much, and "Only Angels Have Wings" sounds a bit out of place. But the thing is that the group seem to have embraced that the days of writing epics have passed for them, and in this new paradigm they seem to function very well - not overreaching or trying to reclaim past glories which would have maybe sounded insincere or forced (the last couple of albums prior to this seemed to suffer from that at times). Is this an album that should be mentioned in the same breath with Close to the Edge or A Trick of the Tail? Of course not. Is it fully prog? No - there's plenty of pop here. But it's still a minor classic much like ELO's Time album - a small but nicely polished gem from a group on its downslope but producing something incredibly listenable and revealing hidden surprises with each listen. Four stars.

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 Academy Of Music 1974 by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 2015
3.97 | 4 ratings

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Academy Of Music 1974
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars Despite it's horrid album cover painting, which I doubt the band had any control over, especially after the passing of guitarist/songwriter Michael Dunford, who had owned many of the group's copyrighted materials, Live At The Academy Of Music 1974 is both a concert and professional high point for Renaissance as it solidified the band's Tri-state area reputation as well as paving the way for the group's acclaimed Carnegie Hall concerts which took place the following year in 1975.

Live At The Academy is another Renaissance concert album, a double CD this time, put out by Pyramid Records that has no credits as to the source of a the radio broadcast tape. The broadcast was originally aired on WNEW FM Radio, who were one of the major FM radio supporters and proponents of the group, especially in their Ashes Are Burning and Turn Of The Cards album release and touring years from 1973-74.

Joining the band for probably their first orchestral concert was a twenty four piece orchestra which pumped up both the band and the concert crowd. Indeed, as this is probably the most raucous Renaissance audience that you will probably ever hear recorded. Everyone from vocalist Annie Haslam through to drummer Terry Sullivan raised their game and the performances are stellar. Especially prominent were the fantastic bass runs of John Camp, who also sounds in exceptional form as a backing vocalist to Haslam. John Tout's fingers literally dance around his piano in an enthusiastic speed and style which is quite unusual and welcome from him.

The concert starts with the now familiar opener Can You Understand? that features Annie in wonderful vocalise and scat style colorings in this song's wonderful melodies. Outstanding.

The concert focuses almost exclusively on songs from Ashes Are Burning and Turn Of The Cards and it's odd not to hear the song in it's now familiar extended encore version. For this concert, Andy Powell, from Wishbone Ash, is once again a guest performer and does a fantastic solo as well as mirroring John Tout's synths in the song's compelling instrumental section. What is also odd and now idiosyncratic is that the band reprise the title rack Prologue from the mark II line up's debut album.

The sound quality is more than decent and sound's exactly as a FM radio broadcast would at the time with an exaggerated top end (bright sounding) along with some very good bottom end that was really never heard in that era's technology of 15 inch woofers and no subwoofers. Also adding the sound is the excellent "in your face" sound mix that shows off every instrument without causing the mix to sound congested.

Live At The Academy is defiantly not for the audiophile as some minor stage buzzing, feedback and offstage chatter can be heard at times, but the band's stellar performance makes it a must have for Renaissance fans. 4 stars.

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 Past Orbits Of Dust: Live 1969/1970 by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 2012
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Past Orbits Of Dust: Live 1969/1970
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
4 stars Past Orbits of Dust: Live 1969/1970 is a tough album for me to review as it's made up of rare live recordings of the Renaissance Mark 1 lineup with varying degrees of sound quality. The Mark 1 lineup featured Keith Relf and Jim McCarty, formally of The Yardbirds, on guitar and drums respectively, along with Relf's sister Jane on vocals, John Hawken on piano and Louis Cennamo on bass. Hawken was a founding member of the one hit wonder The Nashville Teens, while Cennamo was a young but accomplished session player.

Only Jane Relf was a performing novice, but her contributions were mostly in the form of backing vocals and supplying Aeolian choral backing to all but three of the album's eight songs.

The most striking aspect of these performances are how assured they were and are even more striking when one realizes that the entire first Renaissance album was road tested months before it was committed to vinyl. One of the circumstances that led to such stout performances was the fact that the band shared bills with harder rocking bands, as the concert promoters only knew that the group was formed from the ashes of the disintegrated Yardbirds , and placed them on concert bills with the likes of groups in the same vain as Humble Pie.

As a result, the group had to raise their game and were also much grittier and animated than the performances on their first album would suggest.

The album's two lead off tracks, recorded in late fall of 1969 in Helsinki, Finland are probably the album's two best sounding recordings, albeit a bit mono sounding, and amply demonstrate the band's chops as well as showcasing their new classical sound fused with rock music. The second of these Helsinki tracks features a more bluesy version of Bullit with excellent harmonica playing by Keith along with a Doors-like vocal break in the middle where Keith whispers, then shouts, about children playing with toy guns and what society implies to them about hand guns. The track ends with a great bass solo by Cennamo who employs an explosive fuzz tone and delay to his bass's sound and commences to play his own dark sounding symphony before all members rejoin to give the song it's final few notes.

Innocence is from a New York concert and again features Keith Relf on vocals before Hawken ends the song with his now usual homage to Beethoven, Bach, Johann Straus, Mozart and other popular central European classical composers, without sounding outright derivative of these composers. This track sports good sound with better stereo separation. The same cannot be said about the following track, Wanderer, sung by Jane, as this track has merely passible sound quality as does an early version of Sounds of Yesterday, which is considered one of the best tracks ever recorded by the Mark 1 lineup and was featured on the band's follow up Illusion album that was recorded and released (In Germany only) one full year later in 1971. It's fascinating for fans of this early lineup to hear how completely arranged this song was just a few months after releasing their first album.

The album closes with a jam that was latter partially incorporated into the studio version of Kings and Queens, titled No Name Raga, and a second version of Kings and Queens from a Swedish concert with features the Jane Relf showcased song Island sandwiched inbetween . All three tracks have good sound as does the closing track, an outtake from the 1971 Illusion sessions titled Statutes, which is as close as the Mark 1 lineup came to recording a commercial sounding "pop" song with it's catchy chorus and, it's little more, than two minute length. The song actually sounds unfinished to me as if it need's a lead guitar passage placed over it's bland middle eight section. Again, with it's varying quality of recorded sound, it's a hard album for me to rate. For someone who is an "archivist" of the group, like me, then Past Orbits of Dust is a four star essential. For those who cherish consistent sound qualtity, three stars would seem to be the best rating as these members or fans will rarely play this historical gem more than a few times.

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 Illusion by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.00 | 183 ratings

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Illusion
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by fudgenuts64

4 stars A very odd album here. The lineup is a bit hodgepodge, however the tone of the album stays stronger throughout. Between simpler pieces such as Love Goes On, and um, Love Is All, we have one of the most fantastic epics from any version of the group, Golden Thread. Jane Relf's operatic vocals make this piece feel so grandiose, but it works. It then leads into a more simpler structure with Jim McCarty providing vocals, sounding absolutely beautiful with quite great lyrics. It has a nice little keyboard break in the middle before ending with a great vocal performance by Jim and co. again. Great song. Next up is Mr. Pine, a song penned by soon to be Renaissance member Michael Dunford. Vocals here are done by Keith Relf soundalike Terry Crowe. The atmosphere portrayed on this song is REALLY great, and has that Reanissance vibe you'd expect. The keyboard interlude is a direct predecessor of Running Hard four years later. It ends off back to the main melody and everyone harmonizing, Good stuff.

Two more tracks worth noting. First is the beautiful Face of Yesterday, really showing how good of a singer Jane Relf really is. A very soothing song, quite simple, honestly not very progressive, but just so beautiful and fits the sound here perfectly. This would later be re-recorded on the 1977 album Out of the Mist by Illusion, which I prefer. Finally, we end off with Past Orbits of Dust, a 14 minute... err... experiment. This one loses me quite a bit. Not surprising as it was quickly made to pad out the album for release.

All and all, we have three standout tracks, two decent ditties, and one polarizing avant garde piece that seems out of place. So yeah. Not too cohesive, but the overall atmosphere is so good I recommend picking it up if you love the self titled debut. Four stars for sure.

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 Live At Carnegie Hall by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 1976
4.21 | 180 ratings

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Live At Carnegie Hall
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by rogerthat
Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars In 1975, Renaissance played three nights at Carnegie Hall, New York, all three of which were sold out. The album Live at Carnegie Hall taken from these concerts also charted well. For the band as well in the eyes of ostensibly the press and the fans, LATC was the moment that marked out this upstart band striving for recognition as a force to reckon with. Novella improved upon the charting position of Scheherazade and Song for All Seasons was a silver disc in the UK. So LATC marked an inflexion point in the upward trajectory of Renaissance. I got the CD released in 2009 to mark 40 years since the birth of Renaissance (mk i, that is). In the album notes, singer Annie Haslam lavishes praise on the album and fondly remembers her being in a state of disbelief all through the time. She is also careful not to declare it their best concert.

And indeed, over the years, material has tumbled out of the archives (much of it bootleg quality, no doubt) that suggests that the reputation of LATC belies its quality. And when you put it together with the love showered on the Ashes-Cards-Scheherazade trilogy, LATC has acquired a (not entirely deserved) reputation as the high watermark of the band. As a young fan who did not witness the band live in the 70s, I am not too convinced about that.

One thing LATC does have going for it is it is one of only two Renaissance live albums that feature the orchestra (though I hear even the New York Academy concert of 1974 is now available in CD form?). And it features a more compact version of Ashes Are Burning than the ponderous one taken from the Royal Albert Hall concert (Live At Royal Albert Hall CD). It also neatly features Renaissance essentials from the albums Prologue through to Scheherazade.

While not denying the value of these considerations for a minute, I submit that Renaissance attained maturity after the LATC concerts rather than before it. The success of these concerts made them more assured and relaxed in their live delivery. They felt more confident of trying a few variations. This is especially noticeable in the vocal delivery of Annie, who sticks to note for note reproduction of the studio versions on this CD but allows herself the liberty of somewhat different accentuations and such in later performances.

Also, the presence of the orchestra is a double edged sword. Some would have it that Renaissance without orchestra is no Renaissance worth listening to. And yet, even in their heyday in the 70s, only a select few concerts featured the orchestra. Most others didn't and they capture the band in the settings that most concert going fans were familiar with. It would be revisionist to argue that that is not the essence of Renaissance in concert.

Further, the unique dimension offered by the concerts that did not feature an orchestra was the use of vocalise by Annie to substitute some of the parts performed by the orchestra. There is this black and white concert DVD Song of Scheherazade featuring a concert from 1976 (now also available in entirety on youtube). The band perform Running Hard in that concert too. The difference is that in the interlude, Annie takes over from piano. And frankly I find the effect of Annie hitting a spectacular C6 far more dramatic and spine tingling than the orchestra performing them exactly as on the studio recording. As recent a release as the Cards/Scheherazade DVD released in 2011 features one of the best renditions of Ocean Gypsy by the band. The Albert Hall discs feature an incredible performance of Touching Once, which doesn't even feature on this album (couldn't have as Novella was yet to be released!).

As for Ashes Are Burning. Yes, it is a more compact performance than the one on Albert Hall. I'd also direct you to the performance from their 1979 concert at Ashbury Park, New Jersey. Annie comes up with spectacular vocalise that mimics a guitar solo (similar to the one on the video of the famous 1983 performance) that comfortably eclipses the Carnegie Hall performance, great as it is. I have wondered why this unique facet of Annie's singing did not get the critical acclaim it deserved and perhaps LATC is the culprit!

Many of these alternatives being suggested are bootleg quality, you protest. Agreed. The problem is the LATC recordings are hardly stellar either. The sound is pretty thin and muddy. If you want great sound quality on a Renaissance live recording, look no further than the Cards/Scheherazade DVD of 2011. Hey, they actually feature those entire albums performed in running order. Even the Albert Hall recordings sound beefier than LATC, though they are also 'noisier'.

In summary, LATC is fine for what it actually is: one of the few live prog albums that work well as a best of compilation what with the performances being so ultra faithful. It is undoubtedly a good introduction to the band too. But it doesn't do justice to the band's live act and is certainly not, at least in my opinion, the last word in that aspect. It is also very far from being one of the best live prog albums, a superlative often conferred on it. It is an adequate, well rendered and moderately well recorded representation of a fine band, nothing more and nothing less. A definite notch below the high points of Royal Albert Hall and not lustrous enough to make up score over the low points of that album either. Three stars.

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 BBC Sessions  by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 1999
3.87 | 22 ratings

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BBC Sessions
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by SteveG

4 stars Truth be told, Renaissance is the type of band that seems to be able to perform their most stellar work in their sleep. An illusion given off by the fact that they are so familiar with their material, along with their super musicianship coupled with their always uber professionalism.

Their necessary BBC " live in the studio" session takes, found sprawled across these two sixty plus minute double CD's, issued from Wounded Bird Records in 1999, is quite a gem.

The main selling point is the inclusion and execution of later era material from the Novella album such as Can You Hear Me? and Touching Once (is so hard to keep), both carried off extremely well without backing from an orchestra. I can envision that John Tout did a lot of pre recording on the backing tracks to flesh out the sound along with percussionist Terry Sullivan. Or Perhaps Sir Johnalot simply did his one of his renown octopus imitations with Annie Haslam flailing away on tambourine and maracas.

This material focuses mainly on the best material from the studio albums Ashes are Burning (which of course closes the concert as it's the band's MO) as well as another flawless full length version of Scheherazade (again sans orchestra.)

It really saddens me that this album is currently out of print, but I'm hoping that the BBC will see fit to rerelease this exquisite time capsule recording again in the not too distant future. This is nothing less than required listening for Renaissance's fans.

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 DeLane Lea Studios 1973 by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 2015
3.06 | 9 ratings

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DeLane Lea Studios 1973
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by SteveG

3 stars This 'live in the recording studio" recording sessions recorded at the celebrated De Lane Lea U.K. recoding studios for radio broadcast on an unstated radio station in 1973, was performed right on the heels of Renaissance finishing their second studio album containing the mark II "Annie Haslam" lineup.

Recorded in the company of both friends and family, the group seems usually enthusiastic and performs the material from Ashes are Burning technically perfect, which they do well without any orchestral support.

This album stays close to the Ashes are Burning numbers and includes a live version, for the first time that I'm of aware of, the beautiful melancholy At The Harbor. Another rare gem includes another rarely performed live song, Prolouge's Sounds of the Sea which the band executed flawlessly.

AAB starwarts include the evergreen Can You Hear Understand? along with the killer closing track with Andy Powell reprising his lead electric guitar role that contributed to the studio version. British folk stalwart Al Stewart also adds backing vocals this epic closer.

My only and really subsequent complaint regarding this album is that it seems to be "booted" from what has now become common practice to re-issue source tape copies after the original owners of the producing radio stations have folded and become public domain. The sound quality is a bit thin but passable as is common from masters originating from this type of source tape, and as usual, has a louder than normal level of type hiss on a couple of songs.

As there are no copyright or copyright pending notations in the liner notes, this is probably the case.

The tape is also mastered from what sounds like a multi generation that has some loud extraneous noise for few seconds near the coda of Ashes are Burning.

Not a bad album per se, but there are of course other 'live in the studio albums' that are much better like the now out of print Renaissance At The BBC. If you see the BBC Sessions album for a good price, grab it and run like hell.

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 A Song for All Seasons by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.60 | 269 ratings

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A Song for All Seasons
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A Song For All Seasons was released in 1978, and is generally recognised as the last of the "Prog" albums released by Renaissance, although I personally find much merit in later albums. Not all "AOR" is bad.

Anyhow, that is for future reviews. This album, of course, contains the band's best known piece of music in the wider world outside of progressive rock music fans, Northern Lights, which, deservedly, became a smash hit. It contains, in my opinion, everything that is good about this great band, the soaring lyrics of the beautiful Annie Haslam, intricate and detailed songwriting, performed with panache. I fell in love with this track, and, as a result, with the band as a young 14 year old. I remember taking the album home with me on the school bus, with "who the f**k are they?" ringing in my ear!

The remainder of the album is a glorious example of how the best Prog rock bands from this "classic period" began to reinvent their sound, approach to songwriting, and musical commercial nous. Utilising the services of David Hentschel, he of Genesis fame, and the lovely orchestrations of The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the album still sounds wonderfully fresh and vibrant, and stands as a glorious buttress amongst much of the commercial new wave fodder of the day.

It is, in truth, symphonic folk Prog rock personified, only now, with the exception of two longer, "traditional" tracks, the wonderful Day Of The Dreamer, and the title track which closes proceedings, in a shorter form. This does not mean that any of the things which made this great band so vital are compromised. It merely made them more accessible, and that is never a bad thing to this reviewer's mind. The title track is one of the finest pieces of classical symphonic rock ever put to vinyl. Jon Camp's bass lines are simply to die for, and, at their best, as here, Renaissance most certainly gave Yes a serious run for their money in this sub-genre.

Of course, longstanding fans such as I will already have this album, and it is fair to say it still divides opinion. This review is rather directed to younger folk looking to see what they might enjoy whilst trawling through Prog Archives. If you want an immediately, beautifully performed, accessible introduction to the type of pastoral music that earned us lot the derogatory "bloody hippies" title in our schooldays, then look no further.

A joy to return to, four stars for this. An excellent addition to any serious progressive rock collection.

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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