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Renaissance - Prologue CD (album) cover

PROLOGUE

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

3.74 | 428 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 265

'Prologue' is the third studio album of Renaissance and was released in 1972. However, it can be considered the first studio album from Renaissance Mk. II. The original Renaissance's band released two studio albums, 'Renaissance', in 1969 and 'Illusion', in 1971. After the disbanded of the original line up, in 1972, Annie Haslam and John Tout remained to building a new band, although they never have been part of the original line up of the first Renaissance's version.

So, the reborn line up of Renaissance, started with this first or third studio album, as you wish, and is constituted by Annie Haslam (lead & backing vocals and percussion), Rob Hendry (vocals, guitars, mandolin and chimes), John Tout (backing vocals and keyboards), Jon Camp (vocals, bass and tamboura) and Terry Sullivan (backing vocals, drums and percussion). The album has also the participation of Francis Monkman (synthesizer), as a guest musician.

'Prologue' has six tracks. The first track is the title track 'Prologue' and was written by Michael Dunford. This is clearly one of the highlights of the album and is also, in my humble opinion, one of the best songs written by them and it's also one of my favourite songs too. This is essentially an instrumental song, despite it has female vocals, but there are no lyrics and the vocals only singing the melody. Musically, this opening song shows us how strong the influence of the classical music on their music is, and indicates clearly which path the band would follow in the near future. The second track 'Kiev' written by Betty Thatcher and Jim McCarty is another great song and is extremely beautiful. It's somehow an unusual song because the singing is lead by a male voice. Musically, it's a tradition based piano piece of music which became a classic piece on Renaissance's musical catalogue. It represents the type of the music that the band would forward in the future and where the better example of that is, without any doubt, their greatest masterpiece, their sixth studio album 'Scheherazade And Other Stories'. The third track 'Sounds Of The Sea' written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is a very beautiful piano ballad and where Annie Haslam sings wonderfully. Some reviewers consider that it suffers from being very long, especially the last part, which isn't properly much necessary. Sincerely, I don't agree with them and I think that the song flows naturally and beautifully along it. Personally, I think it has one of the Annie Haslam's best vocal performances and every time I hear this song I feel this is a perfect song and full of emotion. The fourth track 'Spare Some Love' written by Betty Thatcher and Michael Dunford is also a very good and interesting song, but, in my humble opinion, is a little bit inferior to the previous three songs. It's a song with an unusual musical introduction because the song starts with acoustic guitar instead of piano, as is usual. It's also another extremely beautiful song with the perfect and clear voice of Annie Haslam very well accompanied by all members of the band and also by a nice choral work. However and although an indisputable quality of the song, I think it lacks to it some of the musical complexity that the group had already accustomed us all over the album. The fifth track 'Bound For Infinity' written by Betty Thatcher and Jim McCarty is another song sung beautifully and wonderfully by Annie Haslam. It's a mellow pastoral ballad very simple, nice and melancholic featuring soft and nice piano and a transparent and beautiful voice. It's a song that shows us the perfection between two worlds, the world of the voice of Annie Haslam and the world of the piano of John Tout. This song also shows us why Annie Haslam became as one of the brightest stars in our progressive rock world. The sixth and last track 'Rajah Khan' was written by Michael Dunford. This is the lengthiest and the epic track on the album and represents the most complex and progressive song on the all album. It represents also probably the most ambitious and the best song of this album and consequently it represents also its highest musical moment. As like the opening track 'Prologue', it's basically an instrumental song with no lyrics, but where we can hear female vocals merely leading the melody. This is the most original and powerful song on the album with some influences of the Oriental music, according with its title. This song had the addition of Francis Monkman from Curved Air on the synthesizers. This is a wonderful closing track to this magnificent piece of music.

Conclusion: 'Prologue' is, without any doubt, a great album and is almost perfect. The songs 'Prologue', 'Kiev' and 'Rajah Kahn' are truly masterpieces, but unfortunately the other three aren't, especially 'Spare Some Love' which is, in my humble opinion, as I wrote before, a little bit inferior to the others. However, 'Prologue' is an excellent start for this new reborned line up and a fantastic prologue to their most classical musical manifestations. 'Prologue' is with 'Ashes Are Burning' and 'Scheherazade And Other Stories' my first three contacts with their music and I must confess I love these three albums. So, 'Prologue' was a beloved album by me, since the first minute, and even after so many years and when I know almost all the others, it represents, even today, one of my favourite works of Renaissance.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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