I've been listening to the music of Renaissance a lot lately. No, not the music of the Renaissance, but the music of the English progressive folk-rock band Renaissance. Funny thing is, Rob (Jabber Inc.'s CEO) stopped by my desk about an hour ago and noticed my Renaissance CDs -- it turns out he's a big Renaissance fan, too! They're pretty obscure, so that's quite a coincidence.
So what kind of music is this? Long-time readers of this weblog know that I'm a big Yes fan, so it's easiest for me to compare the two than to talk about Renaissance in isolation. First off, I know less about Renaissance because I'm not quite as a big a fan of theirs and I possess only the two volumes of their "greatest hits" (entitled Tales of 1001 Nights). Whereas Yes is perhaps the best-known progressive rock band, Renaissance's music is more like progressive folk. Their lyrics, almost all of which were written by a poet who was not a member of the band, are more openly-understandable than those of Yes. In addition, they featured a symphony orchestra on a number of their recordings, whereas Yes orchestrated their pieces with only the standard rock instruments (although some of those keyboards almost sound like a string orchestra). Supposedly Renaissance was influenced quite strongly by Russian music, and one of their songs is even entitled "Mother Russia" (it's about Solzhenitsyn). Personally I think that the music of Renaissance is a little more simple than that of Yes. Plus the fact that Renaissance has a woman vocalist (the incredible Annie Haslam) gives them a different sound. And their music is more piano-focused than that of Yes. But if you ask me, both bands are amazing! Especially this live version of Ashes are Burning that I'm listening to right now (yes, it clocks in at 23:47!).
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