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Renaissance - Novella CD (album) cover

NOVELLA

Renaissance

 

Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 379 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars I listened to "Can You Hear Me" for the first time from a tape in a car. The album was just released and I had never heard anything of Renaissance before. I asked him who the band was, he picked the tape out of the reader, and told me Renaissance..... The day after a copy of Novella was in my hands.

Later I purchased the whole discography (I took some years) and this means that this is a good album. Without knowing anything of their previous masterpieces this has been good enough to make me search for other albums of the band.

Now that I'm more deeply into Renaissance I can see the differences between this album and Sheherazade, for example. The music here seems to be more inspired to British folk and medieval music than to Russian classics. It's still symponic, anyway. I have to admit that Can You Hear Me is surely not at the same level of things like Ocean Gipsy, Mother Russia or Ashes Are Burning, but it's a good symphonic prog long track in any case. The long slow volume instrumental part could have been shorter, but it's not much boring. It contains a lot of good moments.

"The Sisters" is a slow song with a Spanish touch given by the trumpets.It has sad and dramatic lyrics. I don't know who the sisters are. It's one of the rare tracks on which Mike Dunford reserved some room for his guitar. His classical training is evident in his touch on the classical guitar.

"Midas Man" is the song that I like less. It's question of tastes, not that it's a bad song. Effectively the chorus is everything but bad, but this song doesn't work a lot on me.

"The Captive Heart" is another of the "Piano and Voice" songs that Renaissance were used to place at least one for album. Somebody could find it too mellow, but I like Annie Haslam's overdubbed vocals on the chorus and the piano base.

At the end of the album a quick return to Russia. "Touching Once" is the only song on this album that's fully reminiscent of the previous great works, even if the chorus reminds more to the flower power. Probably the fact that the bass is played on this track at high volume as Jon Camp was used before is the reason why it sounds like the old good songs.

In few words, Novella is an excellent album which suffers of the fact of being preceeded by three masterpieces (I include the Live at Carnegie Hall). It's not a masterpiece itself, but not so bad as it could seem if you arrive to it after Turn of the Cards or Song of Sheherazade.

I'm not ashamed of rating it with 4 stars.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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