Friday, 29 March 2013

Song of Scheherazade (Renaissance, 1975)

Renaissance are one of the most controversial prog bands ever. The world is sharply divided in two: those who love them in an almost religious way and those who treat them like false prog or even musical trash. Well, I think they're great and this suite always charms me with its classical and oriental flavour. I like them and above all I like Annie Haslam's pure voice.

Renaissance today.

This 24 minute suite is a real treat and also a musical tour de force exploring different classical sources in its nine movements. So you'll find not only Rimsky-Korsakov here, but also folk-rock, Arabic variations, sudden changes, beautiful melodies and - last but not least - smart lyrics about Scheherazade's story as read in 1000 And One Nights. Nothing is more risky than orchestral arrangements in a rock track, but Renaissance succeed in melting all the orchestra sections and the electric instruments in a majestic but never exceeding epic. As usual with them, the sound is bright and warm. This is like a ride through Wonderland, except that you're not Alice, I suppose.