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




Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 64 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Lovely biscuits

The "King biscuit flower hour" sponsored live concerts by many fine bands, most of whom put on excellent performances. Thankfully many of these were captured on tape at the time. It is however in only relatively recent times that the performances have been made available commercially.

This performance by Renaissance took place in the Royal Albert Hall in London, and dates from October 1977. It was never actually broadcast in full, and lay unreleased for many years. The album features a full rendition of the "Song of Scheherazade" suite, complete with accompaniment by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Prologue" is a great opener, which while effectively an instrumental, originally contained some superb vocals by Annie Haslam. Here it is performed by the orchestra alone as an overture, prior to the band taking the stage. The orchestration was done by Louis Clark, who had previously performed the same task for the Electric Light Orchestra (among others). The rendition is superb, vibrant and symphonic, giving the piece a whole new dimension.

The orchestrated versions of "Can you understand", "Carpet of the sun", and "Can you hear me" are all pretty faithful to the original renditions on "Ashes are burning" and "Novella", but they benefit from the orchestration, which fills the sound out superbly.

"Scheherazade" certainly benefits from the live performance with orchestra, the majesty and power of the track being brought out well. John Camp and John Tout both made their first compositional contributions to the band on this suite, but it's very much a band effort. The length of piece allow all the band members, including Annie Haslam whose five octave range is given a full work out, to spread themselves out a bit more. That said, in my opinion this is not one of Renaissance's masterpieces, being enjoyable but unexceptional.

In all, an excellent performance by both the band and the orchestra, a highly recommended purchase for those who enjoy the symphonic prog of Renaissance.

The recordings on this album only represent about half of the concert (it was far longer than a "Flower hour"). The remaining tracks are available on the "Part 2" release, and also on a budget album entitled "Mother Russia".

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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