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Renaissance - Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Part 1 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.81 | 59 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Beautifully crafted orhestra live performance

Renaissance has always been in my special attention especially when talking about classic progressive music as the band is quite legendary, as legendary as King Crimson, because the originally made their first debut the same year as In the Court of the Krimson King in 1969. I have to admit that I knew the band quite late, i.e. when they released "Scheherazade" album. I have reviewed most of their albums here and only recently I realized that I have this CD but got no chance yet to write something about it here.

Following the release of their next studio album, Novella in 1977, the band embarked on a brief three-city English tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Harry Rabinowitz. After performance in Birmingham and Manchester, the final show at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall took place on October 14, 1977 and was recorded by the Island Mobile studio for the King Biscuit Flower Hour.

As the basic music of Renaissance is basically orchestra in nature, I actually did not expect much on how different with the studio album. But as I played the album over and over I finally found some different subtleties of the music with this live orchestra. First of all, of course it sounds much grandiose than the studio; but not only that. There are may segments with nice string section.

This record starts with a an excellent instrumental "Prologue" (8:14) by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The opening orchestra really sets the overall tones of the whole concert. Right after the long instrumental, a gentleman narrated to welcome Renaissance to play "Can you understand" (11:17) from Ashes are Burning album followed nicely with "Carpet of the sun" (3:48) from the same album. "Can you understand" demonstrated a great opening through the sounds of piano followed with floating music in medium tempo, augmented by tight and dynamic bass lines. The music flow sounds really natural and it brings you to the end of the song without getting noticed about it since the arrangements are good. During the vocal line, the main rhythm is an acoustic guitar. It's really nice, especially when Annie Haslam delivers her excellent voice.

Only then Annie Haslam introduced the song from the next album Novella " Can you hear me" (13:58). "Can you hear me?" was written by Jon Camp, Michael Dunford and Thatcher. It starts bombastically with an beautiful orchestra which remarks the grandiose side of this song. As far as taste concern, this is one of may favorite tracks by Renaissance for couple of reasons. First, I like the structure of the song where I can see some changes, even though not dramatic, in moods and styles to accentuate the story behind the lyrics. Second, I like its melody which flows beautifully from start to end. Third, I like Annie Haslam voice which turns very high (register notes) at interlude section when the music turns slow. Fourth, the music is very suitable for contemplation in search of God - the Almighty, the merciful. "Fly like a song, fly while you're singing. A song without you, is a bird without winging. Some city flights leave in the morning. Some city nights end without warning. Can you hear me call?". What a great lyrical chorus line.

The record was concluded with the epic "Song of Scheherazade": (25:17) which comprises 9 chapters. You may find this live version is a bit shorter than those live at Charnegie Hall, but it still a great epic to perform live.

Overall, this is an excellent live performance of great legendary band Renaissance> You must have this collection to complete all albums of Renaissance. It's really worth it. The only annoying thing is the technical glitches / storing that appears throughout the record. Keep on proggin' ..!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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