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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the 2006 remaster-accept no substitutes
..and the sound is stunning. (Cat # REP 5079)
mini LP case with a nice insert, and UPC is on a sticker on the cellophane-not on the cover.
These were rather quietly released and much love was put into them.
Published on 12 July 2007 by Mark C.

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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pretty decent effort
This is an OK album by a band that had not yet shown their whole potential. From the first album with Anne Haslam ("Prologue") to their last album that was backed by a symphony orchestra ("A song for all seasons") they just got better and better. Until they sadly gave up their artistical ambitions after 1978. But of course, if you like Renaissance you should have all of...
Published on 26 Jan 2008 by Unsmart


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the 2006 remaster-accept no substitutes, 12 July 2007
By 
Mark C. (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Turn of the Cards (Audio CD)
..and the sound is stunning. (Cat # REP 5079)
mini LP case with a nice insert, and UPC is on a sticker on the cellophane-not on the cover.
These were rather quietly released and much love was put into them.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The glorious voice of Annie Haslam at her very, very best, 1 Feb 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Turn Of The Cards (Audio CD)
"Turn of the Cards" is my favorite Renaissance album, although as I listen to them all in order I am struck by how it also perhaps the most atypical example of their progressive (nee classical) rock. Taken as a whole these songs are relatively unadorned. "I Think of You" is a relatively simple piece, ending with one of those wonderful high notes by Annie Haslam followed by some nice harpsicord work by John Tout. Likewise "Black Flame" begins with the simple elegance of an acoustic guitar (a reminder that the forthcoming "Unplugged" Renaissance album is not really breaking new ground for the group).
Of the two set pieces, "Running Hard" is most decidedly in this simpler vain, which has the overall effect of better showcasing Haslam's glorious voice. The other showpiece, "Mother Russia," shows that the group was paying attention to Russian dissidents (the song is dedicated to Alexander Solzhenitsyn) as much as they were Russian classical musicians and offers an emphasis on percussion quite usual for a Renaissance song in the driving conclusion. Again, Haslam's voice soars over and above, as well as through, the rhythmic progression of the music as proves that she does not need to be singing actual words to contribute to the beauty of a song.
Perhaps it is insightful to recall that in terms of Michael Dunsford's music, "Turn of the Cards" is the album that proceeds his most ambitious project, the Scheherazade cantanta. Whatever the reason, this is the Renaissance album that best showcases the vocal talents of singer Annie Haslam.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't give 5 stars often, but..., 1 Jun 2007
By 
This review is from: Turn Of The Cards (Audio CD)
What _is_ it about this album?

I mean, I like Renaissance a lot, they tick all my prog boxes. Dense, symphonic song structures? Check. Soaring multi-octave feminine vocals? That'll be Annie Haslam then - check! Atmospheric and slightly pretentious lyrical conceits? Let me see: existentialism, the Cold War, mystical mumbo jumbo - check again! Already this album is scoring high. Plus, I like their other stuff: A Song for All Seasons is a delight, with that lovely one-off hit single they had (Northern Lights); Novella sounds great on a sunny Sunday morning; that Carnegie Hall live album works as a sort of Greatest Hits. But this album, "Turn Of The Cards"... this album is in a league of its own.

I came across this disk on vinyl back when I was at school and took a C90 cassette tape to college (with Genesis on the other side, I recall). Long after the cassette had frazzled I hungered after the disquieting arctic tones of this record, so back in 2000 I scoured the internet for a CD release. Slipping it into the disk drive I expected disappointment. It would sound naff, dated, a paean to my adolescence. But no! Out rolled that chilly, driving opener 'Running Hard' with its none-so-Seventies vocal chorus reminding me of the old Pearl & Dean ads in the cinemas. Sit back. Enjoy.

I can see from other reviews that I'm not alone in being won over by the cold, distant quality of the production on this album. It is truly unearthly, something from a far off time or parallel dimension. 'I Think Of You' replaces crashing piano chords with spidery acoustic guitar while 'Things I Don't Understand' builds to an awesome virtuoso performance from Annie, the combined effect of which is to trounce Bohemian Rhapsody in the operatic rock stakes. Then, of course, the Luciferian strangeness that is 'The Black Flame'. Brr-rr. 'Cold Is Being', leaning so heavily on its classical interpretation, is perhaps the weakest song in the collection, but is so dark, Nordic and bitter that it carries itself through on sheer polar intensity. Then the (melo)dramatic closer that is 'Mother Russia', catapulting us into the gulags of the Asian tundra. Somewhere, in the distance, Jim Steinman was taking notes and wondering how it would all sound if a fat bloke sang it to lyrics about girls and motorbikes.

Renaissance don't seem to have realised what they accomplished with this album and certainly never went near this territory again: the rest of their material is clever and sophisticated, frequently pretty, but eschews the sort of tombstone chill this recording gives off.

I've done my best to convey the subtle but compelling ambience of this awesome collection. Sure, it is and remains a Seventies prog output, with lots of "lah-lah-lah" vocal noodlings, part of the musical tradition that didn't so much catalyse punk rock as place an uncocked Uzi in its sweaty little hands. If you like angry little men with bad breath shouting to choppy guitars, you can walk right by this one: nothing to see here.

But if prog rock is among your guilty pleasures... like a bit of Mike Oldfield from time to time ... Clannad, they were good weren't they?... anybody remember Barclay James Harvest?... well look no further. This is an album that will grow old with you. Enjoy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff, 24 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Turn of the Cards (Audio CD)
I like creative music and music with melody but I wouldn't describe mysefl as a "progressive rock" fan and I don't think this music IS progressive rock or experimental, it's simply good music. Vast orchestral arrangements with good melodies that interweave throughout the tracks give this album instant gratification bit with depth too. It reminded me of the earlier Kate Bush albums which I also love, and for me Mother Russia is up there with Wuthering Heights at the very top in terms of depth, feeling, meaning, production and melody.

On the remaster issue. Personally I never did like cardboard sleeves for CD's and prefer jewel cases. A fold out sheet with new sleeve notes is included and the on-disc printing is pretty too. The sound quality is better here, notably a little brighter and there is definately more stereo space but that said unless you compare this with the 2002 release one after the other then I doubt anyone would notice the difference.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic, 14 May 2010
This review is from: Turn of the Cards (Audio CD)
I bought this album on vinyl from a second hand record shop 25 years ago. I loved it then but hadn't listened to it for years. Since buying the album again on CD I've barely stopped playing it. Musically brilliant, its haunting melodies, enchanting and pure vocal, and the quality of the orchestration are simply superb. Cold Is Being (based on Albinoni's adagio) is probably the best blend of classical and progressive music ever. Renaissance were a much under-rated outfit - and this is without a doubt one of their best.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 good tracks, 9 Oct 2000
By 
Ian Murray - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Turn of the Cards (Audio CD)
I first heard this album as a teenager, the best part of 20 years ago. I can now say that recording is one of those classic landmark albums. A sort of cross between Clannad and Genesis, there are 6 good tracks with RUNNING HARD, THINGS I DON'T UNDERSTAND and MOTHER RUSSIA being quite outstanding. In my opinion Renaissance have recorded about 12 great titles, 4 or 5 are here in the original studio recorded form. Look for other old Renaissance line-up albums - those sung by Annie Haslam - Song for all seasons, Ashes are burning being the best after this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Renaissance - a band out of time?, 20 Oct 2008
By 
M. J. Sexton "Prog rocker" (Crayford, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Turn Of The Cards (Audio CD)
Other reviewers have summed this album up well. However, I think Renaissance were a band always searching for an audience. They werent prog and the arrangeements were too complicated for folk, so what were they? Carving a niche in a similar vein to Barclay James Harvest, who they toured with in the Seventies, they had a unique sound. A superb band of musicians, they suffered with record company deals and at the hands of another band who also used the name. Their music had the 'what the heck is this?' factor. Not sure what became of the others, but vocalist Annie Haslem still sings and paints in water colours in the States.

Some say that Magenta inherited the band's mantle, however, they have struck out in a new direction on their current cd, Metamorphosis.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to a great band, 16 Jun 2010
This review is from: Turn of the Cards (Audio CD)
The album that introduced me to Renaissance. How could you have a prog rock band with no lead guitar and the keyboards were piano more often than organ or synth? But it worked. Putting words to Albinoni's Adagio for strings is, on the face of it, prime pretentiousness, but you know what, it works. And sung so beautifully by Annie Haslam.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant prog rock, 23 Mar 2010
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This review is from: Turn Of The Cards (MP3 Download)
I had this album (record) in my mid-teens, I am now in my mid-50s. I still have the vinyl, but have just re-bought it as an MP3 download and have also bought the Scheherazade CD, too (not available as MP3 download). I love Annie Haslam's clean, pure voice set against semi-classical piano and violin backings; the rising and falling of the mood and intensity. Very emotional, moving music - especially So Cold, set against Adagio. Running Hard is another brilliant track, with the piano element. But, hey, they are all good, what am I thinking....Listen to it in a warm darkened room, headphones on and it takes you to another place, really. I look forward to being reaquainted with this music over the coming weeks.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the darkest albums I have ever heard., 13 July 2001
By 
M. Steele - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Turn of the Cards (Audio CD)
"Mother Russia" is an absolute tour-de-force and "Cold is being" is better still. For the latter they nicked the tune from Albinoni's best-known work Adagio. This is often used as a love theme, for example in the original Rollerball movie. However Renaissance dropped the bass part, changed the violin part to soprano and added the most pessimistic lyric ever written. The mood of the song is as dark as it gets. "Black flame" is pretty good and as dark as its name suggests. "Running hard" is pretty good too but the remaining tracks let the album down a little.
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Turn Of The Cards
Turn Of The Cards by Renaissance (Audio CD - 1994)
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