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Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 21 September 2007
I bought Tuscany, not sure what I was going to get; I last purchased a Renaissance album in the late 1970's. I first thought was that it sounded a little twee in places and, in particular, 'Life in Brazil' was awfully like a happy clappy evangelist tune. I was also unsure about the synth stuff; screaming Moog (effective though it is) and Annie Haslam on the same track ('One Thousand Roses')didn't seem quite right somehow and the twiddly synth 'oboe'on the same track was a bit irritating.

Then I began to notice the subtle gems hidden among the more showy pieces. 'Pearls of Wisdom' and 'In my Life' are loving wistful ballards while 'Dear Landseer' has a majestic quality to it. 'Dolphin's Prayer' was rather striking as I was playing the CD as the news came in that the Yangtze River dolphin had become extinct. 'Eva's Pond' simply has an ethereal quality. 'The Race' really does race along (the synth works this time) and there's a hint of ambiguity in the lyrics, suggesting that athletes are a bit obsessed with winning to the detriment of friendship. Go on, someone, play it at the 2012 olympics, I dare you!

As always, Annie Haslam sings faultlessly albeit with, maybe, slightly less gusto than she did (heck, none of us are getting any younger). The instrumental work is as proficient as ever and the lyrics are more focused than the rather obscure stuff of some of their 70's songs. But, when Annie sings wordless passages the spine truly tingles and that is why there's something worth building on in Tuscany; the top and tail sections on 'Lady from Tuscany', if extended, would constitute a stunning track in their own right.

Renaissance fans will not be disappointed. There's enough classy stuff here to justify the modest purchase price.
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on 15 July 2017
superb fast delivery love it
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on 11 September 2013
This is well away from the Renaissance of the 1970s and it shows. A good album with excellent musicians and a great singer. Just lacking in the old flair and fire this group used to have. Just my opinion, though.
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on 29 April 2016
she may be getting older but still sounds great
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on 19 November 2015
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on 4 February 2002
I'm not sure that this is Renaissance back to their best. I quite liked some of the tunes and the arrangements on some tracks are excellent. Annie Haslam's voice is as good as ever. But without the lyric writing of Betty Thatcher, the songs are not all that they might be.
The final song, One Thousand Roses is getting close to Reniassance at their best.
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on 25 December 2015
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on 16 August 2001
Comebacks and reunions seldom yield truly essential albums. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, and - as a devoted fan of the "classic" Renaissance - I am glad to say that "Tuscany" is one such rarity. It re-unites four fifths of the legendary mid-seventies Renaissance line-up - Annie Haslam, Michael Dunford and Terence Sullivan with John Tout guesting on several songs (main keyboardist here is a new boy Mickey Simmonds) - with a set of wonderful and fresh new compositions that make up a killer album.
Also soundwise "Tuscany" is very much what one would expect from Renaissance. No orchestras, though, but the programmed string parts fortunately avoid sounding too synthetic so the lovely acoustic vibe of the band's trademark sound is largely retained. I think it is fair to say that this indeed is The Renaissance we fans have learned to love and it really feels good to have them back after all these years. The only missing ingredient is Jon Camp's huge bass, but due to the overall strength of the album there's not much point in moaning about that (especially as the guesting bass players Alex Caird and Roy Wood fit in very well).
Somewhat inexplicably, given the quality of the album, "Tuscany" was initially released only in Japan last year, so it is about time to get it generally available.
(Review based on the Japanese pressing on Toshiba-EMI).
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on 4 April 2006
Wow Brilliant is what I heard myself say as the CD finished playing, and it is! All 10 tracks are great. One Thousand Roses is just superb and would make a great single to gain new fans, as Northern Lights did for them in the 1970s. Play this on a real HiFi (Pref. British one) and the group are right there with you with a truly theatrical performance, so good is the production. If you were a fan of the earlier releases from 1970s then you will be pleased to find this 2001 work from most of the original group and I think the last release with Annie Haslam on vocals before she left the group to go to America. Annie sings here just as well as before and the music is as good as ever. The rest of the line up are Michael Dunford, Terrence Sullivan, new addition Mickey Simmonds and guest performances on some tracks by original member John Tout. This is as good as their old work. Don't hesitate to buy it today and enjoy.
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on 2 March 2004
Okay - this is not in the class of 'Ashes are Burning', 'Turn of the Cards' or "Scheherezade" but if you are a true Renaissance nut now approaching 50 years old then what albums are? It is not even as good as "Novella" or "Prologue" and "Song for All Seasons" but to me it is preferable to "Azur D'Or" and "Camera Camera". I didn't even bother listening to the next one! (Timeline??).
Certain songs 1000 Roses being one approach the standards of the old Renaissance , a couple of others approach it. There is only one irritating song to me - "Brazil", but overall the album is good. Annie's voice still captivates me and many of the melodies are strong. Some are a little twee to be fair but so was "I think of You" on Turn of the Cards.
For those of us who went without the luxuries of life (bread, milk and food) to buy their albums and see the concert tours in the 70s when we were students. (Hey we went without the essentials as well (alcohol).) Now is the time to lash out 12 quid and remember.
In case you think I am a totally sad person still living in the 70s - well you may be half correct - but in the last 2 years I have bought Blink182, Limp Bizkit and Beethoven!
Enjoy Tuscany! I did!
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