Exposé Online banner

Renaissance — Novella
(Wounded Bird WOU-6024, 1977/2001, CD)

Renaissance — A Song for All Seasons
(Wounded Bird WOU-6049, 1978/2001, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2002-09-01

Novella Cover artA Song for All Seasons Cover art

The history of Renaissance is much too convoluted to go into in a review, but it’s safe to say that these two albums were the end of the “classic” period of the “classic” line-up for the band. They were just coming off the peak they reached with Ashes Are Burning, Turn of the Cards, and Scheherazade. The live album in 1976 reprised their strongest material, and for a couple years thereafter, the band stuck with their established formula, producing these two albums to relatively little hoopla, as the heyday of heavily orchestrated rock was past. While the bombastic choir sections of “Can You Hear Me?” on Novella are clearly overdone, the piece still stands nearly equal to the band’s best efforts. The quieter acoustic sections of the thirteen minute piece are lovely, and John Tout’s piano is nimble as ever. Jon Camp manages to work some very nice bass playing into the elaborate arrangements, adding a nice bite to the orchestral patina. A Song for All Seasons simplifies things a little, as was the trend at the time, and presents eight tracks instead of the previous record’s five. “Northern Lights” has always been a favorite of mine, catchy and full of nice touches, from the backing vocals to the bassoon countermelody behind the verses. Looking back after all these years, it’s easy to say that the Renaissance of 1977-78 was just going through the motions, but it’s also apparent that even at their least inspired, this band could come up with some very nice music.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 25, 2001 releases, 1977 recordings, 1978 recordings

Related artist(s): Annie Haslam, Renaissance

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mawwal - This Is All There Is, There Is No Other Place – The first Mawwal release was one of the highlights of 2007, and here they’ve done it again for 2008, and not by simply remaking the first album. While many of the things that made Black Flies so...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues