The good news is Renaissance is alive and kicking and Annie Haslam’s voice is in fine form. The real good news is their new album Symphony Of Light ranks as one of the better releases of their career. The bad news is the album is practically the same as their previous release Grandine Il Vento. The real bad news is long-time member Mike Dunford has passed away.
Renaissance was born in 1969 when former Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty decided to form a new band to explore the fusion of classical and rock elements. By the early 1970’s all of the original band members had departed and guitarist/songwriter Dunford and vocalist Haslam had taken over the leadership of the band. Albums such as Scheherazade And Other Stories, Live At Carnegie Hall, and Novella found commercial success in the United States.
Over three dozen musicians have passed through the band but Haslam and Dunford, (minus a few years), have been the constants.
Three songs have been added to their new album to complement the original line-up of Grange Il Vento. Two of the songs, “Tonight” and “Immortal Beloved,” were taken from a previously unreleased EP but the other track, “Renaissance Man,” is a poignant farewell to Dunford.
If you have purchased the previous album, then this is one you may want to forgo because of the repetition. The other release aside, the music collected here is excellent. “Mystic And Muse” has a very 1970’s feel and “Cry To The World” features Ian Anderson’s flute.
Symphony Of Light demonstrates that Renaissence has not lost their creative edge or ability to put together a solid album. A worthwhile release from a band over 40 years into their career.