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A Song For All Seasons

A Song For All Seasons

1 Mar 1978
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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A Song For All Seasons
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9:43
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3:19
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4:48
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10:55
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's 1978. I'm a formative thirteen years' old. Music is mainstream in my life. I hear a song by a band and love it to bits. If not my song of the year, it's no doubt in my top ten. It's great and makes me feel good as I singalong. It's called 'Northern Lights' by a group called Renaissance. There is no follow-up hit. Things happen. Time moves on.
More than thirty years later I hear the song again and revel in its beauty. I buy the CD album to which it belongs. But instead of a romantic notion that 'Northern Lights' is all about the mysterious aurora borealis, I find that its lyrics seem to refer rather to returning home to northern England after a long tour: "Horizons seem to beckon me ... Travelling roads and just passing through ... Destination homeward now."
The album 'A Song for All Seasons' is thus my first true taste of Renaissance, the band. And listening to this collection of eight tracks I am most certainly impressed, epitomised by the great sweep of the opening track. At base they seem to have been a folk-inflected rock band, a cross of 1978 Moody Blues, Genesis, and the Alan Parsons Project. And that most certainly is not a bad thing. I only wish I had explored their output more at such an age.
Today it might sound all overblown tosh, tainted with the brush of 'prog rock' just as disco reached its height and punk was just about to come running around the corner with a knife in its hand, but I like this kind of music. Lyrics are replete with words such as 'time', 'dream', 'night', 'eyes', 'yesterday' and 'memories'.
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Great.
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Life in a northern town
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love it
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Renaissance's "A Song for All Seasons" is, for me at least, one of those mid-career peaks that not all bands are lucky enough to experience.

The album sees the band in transition from its pure early symphonic-rock of such albums as "Ashes Are Burning" (1973) and "Turn of the Cards" (1974) to its more conventional rock style of later albums such as "Azur D'Or" (1979) and "Camera Camera" (1981). For my musical taste, then, it combines the intricacy of symphonic rock with the misleading simplicity and joy of pop, resulting in a melodic blend that is always makes enjoyable listening, whatever the mood.

"Opening Out", "Day of the Dreamer" and "A Song for All Seasons" comprise the album's symphonic elements. "Day of the Dreamer", a piece in four movements, follows on seamlessly musically from the first piece, "Opening Out" and is one of the album's highlights. Superbly conceived, the piece makes full use of the band's instrumental virtuosity on piano and keyboards, bass (Jon Camp plays his bass guitar in lead guitar style and produces a wonderful dynamic, driving sound that is a general feature of the band's overall sound) and acoustic guitar - all beautifully complemented by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Also, not forgetting Annie Haslam's voice, so near-operatic at times that it can be rightly perceived as an instrument in its own right and on this piece producing one of the most sublime moments when at the beginning of the third movement she breaks into "To stand and gaze upon your smile/A deep reflection/Held in my soul as a child...." with the most beautifully sung melody - it's enough to send shivers down your spine!
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Format: Audio CD
And what a voice! Perhaps not the voice of an angel that someone suggests earlier but Annie Haslam sets Renaissance apart from other prog/folk bands. It is Haslam's voice and the arrangements of most of the songs on this album that make it such a pleasurable listen. The opener (called 'Opening Out' funnily enough') introduces us to Haslam's fantastic vocals but the stand out tracks include a splendid prog rock/classical workout, 'The Day of the Dreamer' and the hit single 'Northern Lights'. Unfortunately Jon Camp adds his vocals to a couple of tracks and his surname reflects a tad in his singing style. Maybe I'm being unfair here as it would take an exceptional male voice to compare with Haslam on this album and sadly he doesn't compare. Haslam sings a slightly exscrutiating track, 'Back Home Once Again' which was the theme tune to a little known children's tv programme called 'The Paper Lads'. These minor quibbles apart, some of the tracks here compare with any of prog rock's finest and I recommend this album to lovers of this genre and absolutely anyone who enjoys a near perfect singing voice.
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Format: Audio CD
Well, this is my favourite of my current set of Renaissance albums, and one that always gets me cranking up the volume rather more than perhaps one should - but for once I don't care. This is such a powerful, superbly crafted and arranged album that deserves to be heard and not just listened to. I feel confident that complaints from my neighbours are unlikely with this one.
Just occasionally reminiscent of BJH, this is otherwise pure Renaissance. Most vocals are from the excellent Annie Haslam, and this is very much a different offering to Ocean Gypsy; as my comments on the other would suggest. As you'll figure from an average that's currently 5 whole stars, this is not an album that merits much criticism. Instead, and finished as it just has while I write, with the silence decending once more my feeling is simply 'Wow!'.
So in my opinion this is an essential album for any Renaissance fan. If you're not a fan yet, I'd recommend this, and if not a fan after listening you probably never will be.
That's it. Enjoy!
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