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Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom

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Renaissance picture
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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RENAISSANCE Videos (YouTube and more)

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Ashes Are BurningAshes Are Burning
Repertoire 1995
Audio CD$5.89
$7.32 (used)
Live at the Carnegie HallLive at the Carnegie Hall
Import · Remastered
Repertoire 2008
Audio CD$8.98
$9.00 (used)
Scheherazade And Other Stories-The Deluxe EditionScheherazade And Other Stories-The Deluxe Edition
Friday Music 2015
Audio CD$20.11
$20.10 (used)
Live at Carnegie HallLive at Carnegie Hall
Repertoire 1994
Audio CD$9.18
$7.15 (used)
Repertoire 1995
Audio CD$7.69
$7.00 (used)
Turn of the CardsTurn of the Cards
Repertoire 1994
Audio CD$6.39
$5.76 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Renaissance - Live Fillmore West 1970 (CD Used Like New) USD $10.59 Buy It Now
Renaissance-1st Album-With Keith Relf(CD, Mar-2002, Collectors' Choice Music) VG USD $32.99 Buy It Now
The Renaissance Mary Jane Daytime Lovers Polydor 56736 USD $33.38 Buy It Now
Audio CD: Live at Carnegie Hall, Renaissance. Good Cond. Live, Import. 766483690 USD $11.03 Buy It Now
VARIOUS COMPOSERS-Divine Madness - When renaissance melancho (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $16.55 Buy It Now
CD-Renaissance-King Biscuit Flower Hour Pt.2~nice UK prog psych-SEALED USD $12.99 [0 bids]
Renaissance Noel 1995 USD $5.94 Buy It Now
Ren Clemencic - Dances of the Renaissance [New CD] USD $8.85 Buy It Now
Renaissance ?- Scheherazade And Other Stories ?- MFSL 1-099 USD $55.00 Buy It Now
Renaissance - Northern Lights - Opening Out - Vinyl Record 7" Single - 1978 USD $5.33 Buy It Now
The Association Renaissance on Valiant VLM 5004 VG+ 1966 mono USD $6.99 Buy It Now
Renaissance: Mix Collection USD $11.82 Buy It Now
A Bright New World Renaissance The New Hope LP LS-5537-LP VG+ USD $17.95 Buy It Now
P ALAN STIVELL Renaissance Of The Celtic Harp LP Eliz Iza Pontkalleg Gaeltacht USD $8.68 Buy It Now
The Sound of Renaissance Vol. 1 (2 X CD) USD $3.99 Buy It Now
Time Life Classic Renaissance III CD Classic 60s 70s MOODY BLUES TROGGS Rare USD $11.99 Buy It Now
The Little Barley-Corne: Winter Revels From the Renaissance USD $5.42 Buy It Now
Renaissance The Master Series Part 18 Nick Warren 2 x CDs USD $33.38 Buy It Now
Various Artists - Renaissance Ball: Polish Early Music / Various [New CD] USD $15.89 Buy It Now
RENAISSANCE "Novella" 1977 Vinyl LP Sire SA-7526 VG+ USD $14.99 Buy It Now
Music from the Renaissance (Lamentabile Consort) (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $16.19 Buy It Now
Masters of the Italian Renaissance (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $16.19 Buy It Now
Renaissance - A Song for All Seasons (Sire 6049) ('76) (Annie Haslam) + Poster USD $19.99 Buy It Now
NEW Renaissance Mark Schultz (2011, CD) Factory Sealed USD $9.95 Buy It Now
Aswad - Renaissance - Gatefold LP ?- SMR 866 USD $7.98 [0 bids]
Renaissance Revelers - Renaissance Romance [New CD] USD $13.92 Buy It Now
Bal reneswansowy - A Renaissance Ball (CD, Feb-2003, Dux Records) USD $12.95 Buy It Now
Music of the Spanish Renaissance (CD, Feb-1994, Naxos (Distributor)) USD $7.49 Buy It Now
Renaissance Portugal (CD, Aug-2005, Coro (Classical Label)) USD $9.97 Buy It Now
Glory Of Gabrieli Vol II, E. Power Biggs, LP 1968 Renaissance, Baroque Classical USD $8.99 Buy It Now
Various Artists - Renaissance (The Classics, 2005) USD $3.99 [0 bids]
The Hilliard Ensembl - Renaissance & Baroque Vocal Music [New CD] USD $17.17 Buy It Now
Renaissance-Your Private Address In Paris (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $8.83 Buy It Now
Michael Craddock Renaissance G-Tabulatures De Guiterne (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $16.55 Buy It Now
RARE Crosby Stills & Nash,"Renaissance Fare" 1969 New Zealand Pressing vinyl LP USD $16.03 Buy It Now
Fantasy at the Faire ~ Joe Jewell ~ Hammered Dulcimer ~ Renaissance ~ CD ~ New USD $15.00 Buy It Now
RAY CHARLES? - RENAISSANCE - (VG+) - Crossover Records CR-9005 USD $10.36 Buy It Now
Renaissance Revelers - Renaissance Romance [New CD] USD $13.86 Buy It Now
Renaissance Camera Camera 33RPM 70019 121016LLE USD $9.74 Buy It Now
Heard It on the Radio, Vol. 3 by Various Artists (CD, Oct-1999, Renaissance... USD $10.98 Buy It Now
Alan Stivell, Renaissance Of The Celtic Harp, UK Philips USD $4.01 [0 bids]
Renaissance: Scheherazade and Other Stories (stVG++ 1st US Sire SASD-7510 LP) USD $16.95 Buy It Now
Motets and Organ Works (Bocker, Weser-renaissance, Cordes) CD NEW USD $15.86 Buy It Now
Benny Carter x 6 Harlem Renaissance Central City Sketches Live at Princeton Mood USD $19.79 Buy It Now
Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words From the Harlem Renaissance [Box] by Var... USD $38.99 Buy It Now
Vol. 1-Doo Wop Renaissance - Doo Wop Renaissance (CD Used Very Good) USD $6.15 Buy It Now
Song For All Seasons - Renaissance 4009910114629 (CD Used Very Good) USD $8.96 Buy It Now
Lionel Richie - Renaissance (2000) CD Album USD $2.36 Buy It Now
707 - 707 / The Second Album CD 1998 Renaissance US BRAND NEW! USD $11.67 Buy It Now
Benita Washington - Renaissance [CD] NEW AND SEALED USD $6.67 Buy It Now
Soweto String Quartet : Renaissance CD USD $4.84 Buy It Now
Christmas Renaissance Cassette Tape VG+ Tapes #CT15 USD $5.95 Buy It Now
The Renaissance by Q-Tip (CD, Nov-2008, Universal Motown) Bonus Track *NEW* USD $22.60 Buy It Now
The Da Vinci Collection-Music of the Renaissance USD $5.63 Buy It Now
Renaissance [IMPORT] by Lionel Richie (Oct-2000, Universal/Island) USD $2.99 Buy It Now
kurt WEINHOPPEL Secular Music of the Renaissance MHS 713 lp de la torre oop rare USD $29.00 Buy It Now
2-LP, Renaissance Live at Carnegie Hall, Sire SASY 3902, 1976, VG++ USD $9.00 Buy It Now
Akercocke - Renaissance In Extremis [ Vinyl LP] USD $23.90 Buy It Now
Prism - From The Vaults 1997 Renaissance US BRAND NEW!!! USD $23.34 Buy It Now
Kerry Livgren - Time Line CD 1996 Sony/Renaissance US BRAND NEW!! USD $23.34 Buy It Now 38m 9s
Rehmann - The High Renaissance LP Mint- ARC 3074 Vinyl Record USD $30.00 Buy It Now 39m 51s
Renaissance - A Song For All Seasons - LP Record VG+ VG+ USD $5.44 Buy It Now 41m 49s
Renaissance- Novella- 12" Vinyl LP- SA 7526- B253 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 45m 29s
Chet Baker "Live at The Renaissance II" CD USD $7.99 [0 bids]
USD $10.99 Buy It Now
47m 38s
USD $6.99 Buy It Now
48m 17s
4 lp lot the Association insight out great hits and then along comes renaissance USD $19.00 Buy It Now 59m 36s
The Byrds - My Back Pages / Renaissance Fair 7" VG+ 4-44054 Vinyl 45 1967 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1h 13m
Box Of Frogs - Box Of Frogs / Strange Land CD 1996 Renaissance US BRAND NEW!! USD $11.67 Buy It Now 1h 14m
Renaissance Tales of 1001 Nights vocal art/prog rock *great compilation on 2 CDs USD $11.95 Buy It Now 1h 27m
Slack Jaw Trailer Park Renaissance USA Cassette Tape private indie rock USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1h 38m
Beilschmidt / Heller - Fortuna Desperata - Gothic & Renaissance Organ [New CD] USD $17.65 Buy It Now 1h 45m
Vanilia Fudge - Renaissance - 1968 33 RPM ATCO Records SD 33-244 USD $3.99 [0 bids]
1h 57m
Fear, Hope & Frustration [Digipak] * by Renaissance of Fools (CD, Oct-2011, C24) USD $4.95 Buy It Now 1h 58m
Golden Treasury of Renaissance Music, New Music USD $14.33 Buy It Now 1h 58m
Renaissance Deluxe Expanded Mono Edition The Association CD 2011 USD $7.00 Buy It Now 2h
Popular Renaissance Music (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $16.19 Buy It Now 2h 14m
Renaissance Awakening Mixed By Dave Seaman USD $5.17 Buy It Now 2h 14m
Renaissance - Live at the Carnegie Hall [New CD] Germany - Import USD $12.98 Buy It Now 2h 36m
STOIC MODE - Renaissance - Japan CD NEW J-POP 1993 USD $17.99 Buy It Now 2h 47m
The Stephen Scott Trio ?- Renaissance (C234) USD $11.31 Buy It Now 2h 50m
Renaissance Man - Sealed Jamaaladeen Tacuma German vinyl LP album record USD $38.67 Buy It Now 3h 5m
Renaissance Man Jamaaladeen Tacuma vinyl LP album record German GR8308 USD $25.32 Buy It Now 3h 5m
VA Ladykillers LP New Renaissance GWD 90541US 1986 HELLION HIGH RISK SEALED! OOP USD $38.95 Buy It Now 3h 10m
Beilschmidt / Heller - Fortuna Desperata - Gothic & Renaissance Organ [New CD] USD $16.14 Buy It Now 3h 30m

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RENAISSANCE discography

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

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

3.73 | 301 ratings
3.06 | 215 ratings
3.71 | 382 ratings
4.22 | 635 ratings
Ashes Are Burning
4.08 | 557 ratings
Turn Of The Cards
4.31 | 1048 ratings
Scheherazade And Other Stories
3.72 | 345 ratings
3.62 | 310 ratings
A Song For All Seasons
3.00 | 178 ratings
Azure D'Or
2.41 | 115 ratings
Camera Camera
1.61 | 102 ratings
2.13 | 65 ratings
The Other Woman
2.89 | 53 ratings
Ocean Gypsy
2.16 | 59 ratings
Songs From Renaissance Days
3.03 | 96 ratings
3.27 | 117 ratings
Grandine Il Vento [Aka: Symphony Of Light]

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

4.25 | 201 ratings
Live At Carnegie Hall
3.80 | 55 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 1
3.68 | 52 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 2
3.84 | 24 ratings
BBC Sessions
4.08 | 11 ratings
Day of the Dreamer
2.45 | 12 ratings
Unplugged - Live at The Academy of Music, Philadelphia USA
3.19 | 14 ratings
Can You Hear Me
3.32 | 12 ratings
Mother Russia
3.90 | 10 ratings
Live + Direct
3.50 | 38 ratings
In The Land Of The Rising Sun
3.20 | 11 ratings
British Tour '76
3.19 | 14 ratings
Dreams & Omens
4.15 | 25 ratings
Turn Of The Cards & Scheherazade And Other Stories - Live In Concert
3.91 | 2 ratings
Past Orbits Of Dust: Live 1969/1970
3.14 | 15 ratings
DeLane Lea Studios 1973
4.05 | 10 ratings
Academy Of Music 1974

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

2.89 | 22 ratings
Song of Scheherazade
3.97 | 13 ratings
Kings And Queens
4.70 | 8 ratings
Live at the Union Chapel
3.91 | 4 ratings
Live at the BBC Sight & Sound

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

2.57 | 12 ratings
In the Beginning
4.00 | 3 ratings
Rock Galaxy
3.44 | 30 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 1
3.21 | 30 ratings
Tales of 1001 Nights Volume 2
3.45 | 16 ratings
Da Capo
2.53 | 5 ratings
2.57 | 4 ratings
Trip To The Fair
3.83 | 3 ratings
Songs For All Seasons
4.00 | 2 ratings
2.00 | 4 ratings
Midas Man

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
3.00 | 2 ratings
Northern Lights
1.20 | 7 ratings
Faeries (Living At The Bottom Of My Garden)
3.57 | 16 ratings
The Mystic And The Muse


Showing last 10 reviews only
 DeLane Lea Studios 1973 by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 2015
3.14 | 15 ratings

DeLane Lea Studios 1973
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by rogerthat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Annie Haslam, vocalist of Renaissance, earned the sobriquet of Queen of progressive rock for her incredible exploits. But even she had to start somewhere. Given that her first proper band experience (excluding the cabaret band she was in earlier) was with Renaissance, she was still finding her feet in the early years. While her innate talent and classical training gave her a headstart, the contrast with her mid 70s peak is pretty stark.

As it is, unfortunately, on this album. On the face of it, the track selection alone should make this album, taken from a 1973 concert at DeLane Lea studios, a winner, even within the cornucopia of Renaissance live albums. Let It Grow, At The Harbour and Sounds of the Sea aren't on any official live releases of the band, though the former did make it to Annie Haslam's solo live album Brazilian Skies. Further, Andy Powell and Al Stewart guest on Ashes Are Burning, making it one of only two recorded live performances which have the guitar solo (the other being the Academy of Music concert).

But, as said above, Annie is yet to attain the sheer, frightening perfection she would only a couple of years down the line. There are pitch issues but I wouldn't mind them so much if not for another issue that really spotlights them: her attack. At this point, her attack is still a bit harsh and it makes her singing sound stiff (in comparison to what she would go on to do). If you were to compare her performance of Carpet of the Sun here to the one on Midnight Special in 1977, it is particularly evident. There was, after all, a point of time when even a singer as great as her was worried about getting it right. Ironically, this fear pushes her into committing more errors than she would in concerts from later on where she simply cut loose.

Not to worry, Annie's B minus game is still pretty damn good and the vocalese coda of Sounds of the Sea is especially gorgeous, with an unexpected twist at the end. There is also the mesmerizing coda of At The Harbour to savour. And as in so many other shows, she raises her game come time to perform Ashes Are Burning. The musicians perform their parts impeccably well and with feeling, which too forgives a lot. The sound isn't awesome but it will do. So what gives?

Just that there isn't a compelling reason to add one more Renaissance live album to your collection here. Not unless you are particularly fond of the rawness of bands in their early days, say like the popular music reviewer George Starostin. Me, I do like the rawness but only when it adds to the energy of the performance. Rawness can also mean hesitation and lack of confidence and there's more of that here. Renaissance gave better concerts than this one and plenty of them. But if you do get this album, you won't regret it.

 Scheherazade And Other Stories by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.31 | 1048 ratings

Scheherazade And Other Stories
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by RossJWarren

5 stars I belive this to be the very best album from the classic line up. Sadly at the time it failed to click with the public, and the band remained critically mostly highly respected but there was no breakthrough into mega sales. However this is one recording that really rewards repeated listening. There absolutely no filler here, you are left wanting more. The only criticism I could honestly come up with is that perhaps the lyrics to Trip to the fair, might be a little repetitive, the story is not toled well. However this hardly distract from the opening track which is excellent. Annies voice is wonderful throughout, and utterly captivating during Oceanne Gypsy. The 2nd side is as good an example of symphonic prog you could wish to hear. THe vocals drive the story nicely. Can anyone else` hear the theme that Lloyd-Webber borrowed for his requiem in here?

Such an important recording should be found in all good progressive rock collections, I cannot see any good reason not to award all 5 Stars, as this one truly deserves it.

 Scheherazade And Other Stories by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.31 | 1048 ratings

Scheherazade And Other Stories
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars Symphonic crossover prog?: 8/10

I would have never expected that the rather folksy and vocal and piano oriented RENAISSANCE (at least here) could be so appealing. This formula made me apprehensive because (for some reason) female vocals and classical piano are my biggest turn-offs. Luckily, we're talking about Anne Haslam and John Tout (respectively), which does present a much greater variety than I could ever expect.

The opener, A Trip to the Fair is initiated by a melancholic, dramatic piano, followed right after by the main section where Haslam's vocals are prominent. Her timbre is mezzo-soprano, although easily prone to attending higher notes; her voice is robust and powerful, really similar to HEART's Ann Wilson. Loved it. There is a short jazzy interlude, followed by a powerfully symphonic end. Right away, the introduction of RENAISSANCE's strong points (vocals + piano) is optimal.

Truth be told, for as progressive as they might, by definition, be, throughout the first three tracks there is little to call "innovative". The lack of instrumental prominence and heavy folksy tone is perhaps one of the clearest examples of the relative "simplicity", even with the usage of various keyboards and (mildly) complex arrangements. Of course, this didn't depreciate the album, but I assume crossover prog fans will enjoy it much more than symphonic prog ones.

However, we still haven't spoken about the high point, which is Song of Scheherazade - the full blown symphonic nine-sections suit that honors RENAISSANCE's labeling.

I can imagine sometimes song epics can feel boring. Twenty minutes of music can be tiresome if done unwisely. Perhaps RENAISSANCE was afraid that pianos and vocals couldn't entertain the crowd for so long. Therefore, the best option naturally is to literally make a movie-song. I mean it. The sections are (almost) perfectly divided into what could be "scenes". For instance, the introduction sounds terrifyingly a lot to what could be the soundtrack of a 60s Hollywood movie with the same name. Picture this: static shots of Muslim spearmen wandering on desert hills; lavish (Turkish) villages with sprawling markets shown by a helicopter shot, yadda yadda yadda. This is by no means a flaw, it's so cool actually. It's a surprising burst of adrenaline of a band that was sounding so soft until very little ago. The story is told linearly. There are many mood variations, ranging from slower but no less melodramatic parts to nice symphonic-jazz parts with a healthy dose of flutes and "epic" brass. The outro is terrific: atop the emotional symphony in the background, a choir (lead by Haslam, of course), powerfully chants Scheherazade's name. Maybe she killed the Sultan. Oops, spoilers.

The first side is not dull by any means, but calling it compelling would be a stretch. Worth of three stars for me. However, Scheherazade's brazen, blatant cinematographical pretension and its success doing so raise the bar quite a lot. I'm conflicted on the rating - whether 8 or 9 out of ten, so this might change in the future. What won't change for is my recommendation that any symphonic fan should grab a copy of this to enjoy the astounding Song of SCHEHERUAZAAAAAAAAAAAAAADE...

I mean it, it's pretty good.

 Live at the BBC Sight & Sound by RENAISSANCE album cover DVD/Video, 2016
3.91 | 4 ratings

Live at the BBC Sight & Sound
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by rogerthat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Repertoire Records has previously dug out the De Lane Studios and Academy of Music concerts of Renaissance for official release. In comparison, this 'Live at the BBC Sight & Sound' package includes material that fans are well acquainted with. It draws from the previous BBC Sessions CD and adds, as the main attraction, video of the concert performed by Renaissance at the Hippodrome, London in 1977 as part of the Sight & Sound in Concert series. However, this main attraction has already been available, 'unofficially', on youtube for a few years now, something that the band acknowledged while promoting this release on their facebook package.

I was excited as this was the only colour footage taken from a live performance given by the band in the 70s. And it is a beautifully shot concert, way ahead of all of the band's DVDs including the recent ones in that aspect, covering the band from a whole variety of angles. However, when I saw the nervous look on Annie Haslam's face in the first close up shot in the concert as they perform Carpet of the Sun, I began to have misgivings. After a somewhat glaring misstep (hard to be too harsh when somebody's got a voice like that) towards the end of that song, her confidence seems to drop even more and she wears a kind of anxious and downcast look through the rest of the show, for the most part. The wide variety of giggles and grins sported by her in shows over the years attest to how unusual it is for her to be that aloof while performing. I didn't mind the show on the whole but I was also not overwhelmed and just said to myself that you can't have it all. Maybe best quality audio and video had to come at the (slight) expense of musical quality and show(woman)ship.

So I decided to play the audio CD version of the concert, just to see if the audio was better on it as compared to the DVD (it was). And I began to get a different impression of the concert, indeed of Annie's singing. On video, she looks tentative, perhaps weighed down by her perfectionist streak and perhaps also battling a throat that was protesting the workload she had imposed on it. But, on audio, I heard beautiful, confident and expressive renditions, as always. Yes, with those little missteps hither and thither, but it is much harder to notice when the sheer quality of her vocal delivery overwhelms you.

Turns out the Sight & Sound concert is another fine example of Annie's quiet resilience. Perhaps she may have been embattled by inner demons and may have completely abdicated the role of frontperson for this show to the more composed Jon Camp but she was still striving to give her best song after song and did not disappoint the eager fans who had turned up to watch the show. I could finally put in perspective the enthusiastic cheering from the crowd after every song. No, it is not that they were forgiving. It is that she and the band as such had truly mounted a wonderful show, in spite of the somewhat scripted quality these Sight & Sound shows have compared to less high profile performances by Renaissance (or other bands). My pick would be Ocean Gypsy but don't miss John Tout's wonderful piano work on Mother Russia. There are some fine, subtle variations in there that he's sneaked in unobtrusively without altering the spirit of the composition.

He is bolder still on the 1975 Sight & Sound show, also performed at the Hippodrome, shining especially on Ashes Are Burning, where he attempts a modest harmonic expedition rather than trying to play fast. No, it's not the second coming of Dave Stewart but it's still the most interesting keyboard solo I have heard from John Tout on this track. He's on a roll as such on this show and some of his best work on Ocean Gypsy can also be heard here. Annie is in finer voice, that is to say more like her usual, frighteningly invincible self and knocks Ashes Are Burning in particular out of the park. If I haven't said much if anything about the others, it's only because there isn't much to add except to say they are all in reliably good form, just as fine as on any of the other shows from the 70s.

The Paris Theater show is also a fine set but there's little to add because the song selections overlap, barring Song of Scheherzade. It is a more by-the-book set compared to the 1975 show. There is also a little trio of songs performed as part of 'BBC Sessions' first released on radio in 1978. Of these, Day of the Dreamer turns out best and has some lovely bass playing by Camp, especially in the slow second verse.

So, is it worth it at the end of it all? If you are only interested in the DVD, maybe not, because you necessarily have to buy the full compilation of Renaissance's BBC appearances. Maybe they could have (and can still) release the DVD as a standalone purchase. But if you don't have the earlier BBC Sessions release, it is well worth the money. Not only because the performances are good but because the recordings are top notch too, easily better than Live at Carnegie Hall or Live at Albert Hall. You do miss the orchestra here, but as I have said in other reviews, the orchestra was never a quintessential aspect of Renaissance's live shows, only a special addition in a select few shows. If you want to hear Renaissance the way they usually were, except a bit more formal, this is a fine place to start.

 Live At Carnegie Hall by RENAISSANCE album cover Live, 1976
4.25 | 201 ratings

Live At Carnegie Hall
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review N 114

"Live At Carnegie Hall" is the debut live album of Renaissance and was released in 1976. It features songs from all their studio albums that were attended by the new Renaissance's line up, until then, which corresponds too, to their musical golden era. The release of this live album was taken from a live show recorded at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1975, which was performed with the backing of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Carnegie Hall is a famous New York theatre better known for its classical performances than for rock concerts. Curiously, or maybe not, this was the local chosen by Renaissance to present this live performance. Sincerely, I'm convinced that this local was purposeful and not by chance, because their sound is so close to the classical music that made a complete sense to play this live show in that place.

However, Renaissance was for some unknown reasons always more popular in the USA than in Europe. So, it was quite natural to record their classic live album over there. "Live At Carnegie Hall" featured songs from their four previous studio albums, and proved that the band could pull off their complex and orchestral compositions and arrangements very well on stage, too. When I say "their four previous studio albums", I mean the first four studio albums from their second line up, "Prologue", "Ashes Are Burning", "Turn Of The Cards" and "Scheherazade And Other Stories". So, it not includes "Renaissance" and "Illusion", the two debut studio albums that belong to their first and completely different line up. Anyway, these four albums are in general considered their four best studio albums, at least three of them, "Scheherazade And Other Stories", "Turn Of The Cards" and "Ashes Are Burning", for this precise order.

About the performance of the line up on this album, Annie Haslam is the obvious starting point with her pure five octave range that she uses so well. To the keyboardist John Tout lacks, perhaps, the stage presence of Rick Wakeman, but his playing is a key part of Renaissance's instrumental sections. The acoustic guitarist Michael Dunford is equally retiring. He composes the bulk of the material with the non playing lyricist Betty Thatcher. The bassist Jon Camp is all over the play and often his runs are more like lead than part of the rhythm section making a perfect interplay with the energetic drumming of Terence Sullivan. It's the interplay between both that gives the band such a vibrant energy.

The tracks performed on this live set were "Prologue" from "Prologue", "Can You Understand", "Carpet On The Sun" and "Ashes Are Burning" from "Ashes Are Burning", "Running Hard" and "Mother Russia" from "Turn Of The Cards" and "Ocean Gypsy" and "Song Of Scheherazade" from "Scheherazade And Other Stories". About the live performance of them, the title track from "Prologue" kicks it all off, and is followed by strong versions of "Ocean Gypsy", "Can You Understand", "Carpet Of The Sun", "Running Hard" and "Mother Russia". All these versions may not add anything that the studio recordings didn't have, but it's still great to listen to them in a live setting. The band also talks and comments a lot between the songs, adding a very interesting and familiar magic live atmosphere that far too many live albums lack. These are all tracks included on the first record. The second record in the set is taken up by only two tracks. First we have, of course, their great suite "Song Of Scheherazade". What is really very interesting about this track is that the album itself was actually still not released when the band played it here. So, you can imagine that the audience must have gotten some quite enormous expectations for it after listen to this track for the first time, that night. But the real highlight of the album is the fantastic 23 minute version of "Ashes Are Burning". This is one of the best performances the band ever caught on vinyl, and Camp delivers some of the most beautiful bass playing I've ever heard from him. In reality, "Live At Carnegie Hall" remains as one of the best live albums from a progressive rock band in the 70's.

Conclusion: There are some bands that are equally good performing on studio or live and Renaissance is one of those cases. "Live At Carnegie Hall" has great live performances, the repertoire chosen is magnificent and the live sound quality is excellent. All of these factors contribute that "Live At Carnegie Hall" be one of the best live albums ever made. This album is simply amazing and it has true fantastic musical live moments and basically it represents some of the best material from their golden era. All their musical performance is absolutely irreproachable, but the live performance of the second part of the concert is completely unforgettable. The 30 minutes of the "Scheherazade" suite is absolutely amazing and particularly the live version of "Ashes Are Burning" is, for me, even better than the original studio version. It's the highest musical moment of this live set. "Live At Carnegie Hall" is, perhaps, the best way to describe Renaissance's music for those who aren't yet familiarized with the typical sound of the band. This is one of the best postcards of the group and subsequently, one of the best musical works that can introduce anyone into their music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Grandine Il Vento [Aka: Symphony Of Light] by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.27 | 117 ratings

Grandine Il Vento [Aka: Symphony Of Light]
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars A fitting Tribute to Michael Dunford, and a Great Return to Form.

It took a long time. Thank goodness for crowd-funding. Like so many other wonderful 70s bands, record company pressure forced a change in their sound. You first hear it in 1979's Azure D'Or (although still a decent album), but the changes would continue with Camera Camera and degenerate to the point of no return in Time Line (where the band's time line literally ended, for a long while). For some reason, it took Renaissance much longer than other bands for the two key members to get back together to make a new album (both Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford tried their own separate versions of Renaissance in the 1990s, but those don't cut it). I am very glad they finally did. Michael Dunford passed away during the recording of this album, after writing most of the material. It is a testament to his strengths as a composer that this material is as good as it is. Annie Haslam writes all the lyrics here, which are (mostly) very good, and although her voice has aged she sounds very good for a 65 year old. She has that same presence, and is still able to hit those (very) high notes.

Musically and stylistically, this album comes closest to A Song for All Seasons. The song "A Symphony of Light" opens the album, and (on the first release, before the bonus tracks) the song "The Mystic and the Muse" closes it. These are the two best and most musical songs, as well as the longest and most progressive, on the album. In between are a number of songs of mixed quality, with most of the album fairly soft, slow and mature. (So, again, in its structure it mirrors A Song for All Seasons). Some of the other tunes are quite good. "Blood Silver Lake Moonlight" is probably the third-best tune, and features a duet with Annie Haslam and John Wetton. In also find "Waterfall" to be quite musical, as well as parts of "Grandine Il Vento" and "Air of Drama". On the other hand, I find "Porcelain" and "Cry to the World" to be weak, in the same way that some of the songs in the middle of A Song for All Seasons are weak (that is, a bit too cheesy, with some trite lyrics). Three bonus tracks were added to the initial release, with two of these explicitly written as tributes to Michael Dunford and recorded after his death ("Immortal Beloved" and "Renaissance Man") although the third also sounds like a tribute to my ears ("Tonight"). These are all decent. Of these three, I like "Tonight" the best musically, but all three fit very well with the rest of the album, and together add up to a very fitting tribute. I agree that this is the best Renaissance album in almost 40 years. Who knows if Renaissance will make another album, but even if this turns out to be their last it is a great gift to the world. All taken together, I give this album 7.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to (high) 3 PA stars.

 Camera Camera by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.41 | 115 ratings

Camera Camera
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

2 stars Things Get Dicey...

Under strong pressure to produce a hit, Renaissance, now reduced to only three members, gave in and went full-hog into the early 80s new wave sound with an eye on radio play. The result is, shall we say, less than flattering. Unlike Azure D'Or, which kept its dignity and class even in the face of a complete change in sound, Camera Camera just comes across as crass. Even the photos on the album show them pandering. Of course, this being Renaissance, there is still some decent music on this album, but it is dwarfed by the majority of tunes which are generally quite bad. There are basically three songs here that I like and can listen to: "Tyrant-Tula", "Okichi-San", and the closer, "Ukraine Ways". The other 6 tunes range in quality from throwaway downward. But even these three decent tunes are not good enough to warrant making this part of your Renaissance collection. I give this album 3.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to low 2 PA stars. Only for dedicated fans and archivists.

 Azure D'Or by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.00 | 178 ratings

Azure D'Or
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars A Change in Sound, but still OK.

This is the album where Renaissance gave in to the record company, and began writing directly for radio exposure, melding a distinctly early British new wave sound into their own style. The result is that if you did not know in advance, you might not realize this is Renaissance when you hear it. All of the songs here are short and poppy, and use lots of synth. Saying this, this is the best of their new wavey albums, and I don't think any of these songs are bad. They won't turn you off. But most of them are not that good either. The best tracks are the opener and the closer, "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Flood at Lyons" - these are really the only memorable tunes. Some other tracks, including "Winter Tree", and "Only Angels Have Wings" have some charm too. There is one decent instrumental too, "Discovery", which would have been a great introductory section to an extended epic, but alas it just ends instead of morphing into another tune like would have happened on one of their earlier albums. The general effect is one of a nice pleasant album but one you don't really remember or care about too much. Definitely not as bad as the two albums that would follow this one. I give this album 5.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates as low 3 PA stars.

 A Song For All Seasons by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.62 | 310 ratings

A Song For All Seasons
Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Mixed, but still rooted in their classic sound.

This is the last Renaissance album to contain the classic sound of their previous albums. The late 70s found record companies pushing artists to produce more hits and to adapt to the new sounds that were coming out on the radio (whether punk, disco, or new wave). While Renaissance would do this on their next album (Azure D'Or), A Song for All Seasons avoids such temptations, but it is still clear that they have compromised, mainly by mixing shorter more catchy songs among their longer extended compositions. The result is an album that is both is a mix of Novella (and its extended symphonic approach), and of a more 70s-contemporary AOR approach with a bunch of four-minute tunes meant to please the record company execs. The structure is in the form of a sandwich. The good (extended) compositions come at the beginning, and end, of the album, with the shorter AOR pieces in the middle. Of course, the three best tracks are the ones in the former mode. These are "Opening Out", "Day of the Dreamer" and the title track "A Song for All Seasons", which although only three tracks they take up more than half of the album (since these are the longer tunes). These are the tracks that make the album worth getting. Of the middle/shorter tracks, I find only "Northern Lights" does anything for me. The other songs are not bad though - nothing off-putting, just too fluffy and mainstream-AOR sounding for my taste (unlike later albums like Camera Camera and Timeline, which contain some actually bad songs). I give this album 6.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to mid 3 PA stars.

 Novella by RENAISSANCE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.72 | 345 ratings

Renaissance Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars High Quality, if Slower.

Building on the symphonic approach they developed on their previous album (Scheherazade and other stories), Novella continues with extended pieces that develop over multiple sections, and that use the interaction between the music and lyrics to wax philosophically about life. This album has been faulted by some reviewers for being slow, and for sure it is slower (in tempo, and in getting to the punchline) than their earlier albums. It leans more on the progressive symphonic build-ups, and less on standard rock approaches. But what they sacrifice in rocking edge, they gain in subtlety and compositional development. This is the most mature-sounding album in the whole Renaissance catalogue. They very clearly are not interested here in commercial success, but instead on making lasting quality music. And it works. The album begins with "Can You Hear Me?", a tune which both harkens back to their earlier pieces like "Can you understand" and to the first tune on their previous album "A Trip to the Fair", in that it couples ambivalence and questions in the lyrics with pensive musical arrangements to create a piece of music that makes you think. This approach continues throughout the album, with "The Sisters", "The Captive Heart" and "Touching Once" all building on the pensive atmosphere. ("Midas Man", in the middle of the album is also pretty good, but not quite in the same league). It is true that I (also) would like to have heard more diversity in terms of tempo and soloing - this would have lifted the album even higher, perhaps into the five-star territory. Alas it does not, and does not reach the heights reached on their previous album. But it is still excellent as it is, among the best of Renaissance's albums. I give it 8.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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