What you should know about The Renaissance

 

 

Progressive rock is not a very popular genre, but it still managed to deliver some good bands back in the days. One of the most popular progressive rock bands in the history remains the English one named The Renaissance.

It was quite famous back in the 1970s and is known for songs like “Northern Lights” and “Mother Russia”. Here you can delight yourself reading some interesting facts about the band.

The history of two separate groups

Although many bands have their members changed throughout the years, The Renaissance basically tells the story of two different musical groups gathered under the same name. The original group was formed in 1969 by two ex-Yardbirds members, Jim McCarty and Kith Reif.

They are known for creating the band’s original progressive-folk-rock sound and recorded two albums. However, despite their local success in England and their second LP being released in the United States, the band didn’t become famous on the international stage.

By 1971, the membership of the band had changed entirely, welcoming four new people – keyboard player John Tout, bassist Jon Camp, drummer Terry Sullivan, and singer Annie Haslam.

 

The winds of change

Welcoming Annie Haslam into the band was a true blessing for the rest of the members as they managed to become famous in the following years. Thanks to Haslam’s unique voice, the band managed to create songs combining various musical genres, including rock, folk, classical music, and even jazz.

Between 1972 and 1979 Renaissance managed to release seven successful studio albums. They organized various tours and established a dedicated fan base in the northeastern part of the United States.

Unfortunately, the popularity of the band started to decrease at the beginning of the 1980s. The Renaissance released two unsuccessful studio albums and was yet again the subject of personnel changes. Finally, the remaining members decided to call it quits in 1987.

However, the band decided to reunite in 1998 and managed to record another album named Tuscany. It was released in 2001 and, even though it was well received by critics and fans, the members of the band decided to go on separate roads once again.

Another reunion of the band was made possible in 2009 thanks to leading members Haslam and Dunford. Although Dunford regrettably passed away in 2012, Haslam stated that the group would continue to tour. The latest studio album was released in 2014 and is named “Symphony of Light”.  

 

Popularity

Renaissance released several hits and albums throughout its existence. But, even though it never managed to gain a worldwide reputation, it was quite popular in the United Kingdom, the United States, and even Japan. In fact, the band released two different singles for the Japanese fans only, one in 1972, and the other one in 2010.

What you should know about Frédéric Chopin

 

Nocturnes, preludes, waltzes, drama, and fame – Chopin was a Polish composer who gave artistic birth to some of the greatest piano music, appreciated by both classical music lovers and by the casual listener. If you want to learn more about him, his life and his body of work, these interesting facts I’ve put together should satisfy your curiosity.

Frédéric François Chopin was born in Poland, Europe, and he was part of the Romantic era. Ever since his debut, he was called a poetic genius and praised for the complexity of his pieces. He grew up in Warsaw and showed signs he was a prodigy ever since he was a young child.

 

 

Although he loved his native country, at the age of 20, he left for France, where he settled in Paris, a city much more fitted for his artistic endeavors. It’s a well-known fact that for the first eighteen years of his life, he only gave around thirty public performances, mostly because he was shy and loved the intimacy of the salon.

An interesting piece of trivia is the fact that he didn’t grow up rich, despite his immense talent. He had to support himself like most artists nowadays, by selling his compositions to the highest bidder. In this tumultuous period, he became friends with another musical genius, by the name of Franz Liszt.

Initially, he did have many problems, both professional and financial. He made his debut in February 1832, in Paris, where Chopin realized that he was too delicate with the keyboard, too emotional, a thing which was less than ideal for the masses gathered in larger concert spaces. But, as fate had it, he soon met the wealthy Rothschild banking family which changed everything.

His kindness and elegance made him a favorite among the members of the family, in whose house he could often be found playing his compositions. However, even in the middle of the glamorous Paris, his art was strongly influenced by his nationalist feelings, as his body of work contained many mazurkas and polonaises.

In 1835, the musician obtained French citizenship. A sadder aspect of Chopin’s life is that he never seemed able to maintain healthy relationships with the women around him, as all his love connections failed. Also, for most of his short life, Chopin was in bad health. He went on and died in Paris, in 1849 at the crude age of thirty-nine, probably of what doctors suspect was tuberculosis.

The last thing you should know is that all of Chopin’s compositions include the instrument he loved the most, which is the piano. Many of them are for solo piano, though he did also write two piano concertos which are lesser known by the general public. And even though he had a short life, his legacy still lives today, which is no small feature.

What makes the difference between modern and contemporary art?

 

Studying art and understanding its concepts is not that easy as anyone would assume, especially since there are countless forms art can have. If we look around us, everything can be cataloged as art – buildings with their architecture, our homes with our interior decorations, paintings, the music we listen, and even the food we eat while watching a movie.

However, as volatile as it may seem, art does have some strict grounds, especially regarding its type. And, in order to try to talk about it, you first need to know exactly the type of art you are looking at. The different styles of art are mainly dictated by the times in which they appeared, as well as the types of techniques and materials used to create them.

But, while classic art and ancient art can be easily told apart in terms of materials and techniques used, spotting the difference between modern and contemporary art requires a certain level of subtleness. So how do you tell these two apart?

 

Modern art

According to most critics, modern art appeared anywhere between the 1860s and the 1880s and it was heavily influenced by the technological revolutions in Europe. Most of the manual processes were replaced with mechanical ones and the world seemed to learn the perks of technology for the first time.

We consider a piece of art being modern if it was designed or created between the 1860s and the 1950s. The main reason why art was called “modern” back then is because it didn’t rely on something that came before it or techniques that were already discovered.

One of the pioneers of modern art is considered to be the painter Edouard Manet because he was the first one to depict scenes of modern life in his paintings, instead of replicating real life. In fact, Manet had no reason to mimic real life in his paintings, and this inspired other painters to experiment more with their techniques and even create new styles.

As a result, throughout modernism, there were developed a series of other movements, all as famous as modernism itself. From Impressionism to Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, Expressionism, and Surrealism, these all heavily influenced the way we see art nowadays.

Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, Andy Warhol, Claude Monet, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Vincent van Gogh or Pablo Picasso are just some of the most famous modern painters the world gave to us in less than one century.

 

Contemporary art

Contemporary art refers to a specific timetable, mainly after the 1950s. Every piece of art that was created after the 1950s, including all its movements (minimalism, postmodernism, feminism) is considered to be contemporary.

According to other definitions, contemporary art is created by artists who are still amongst us.

 

Famous electric violinists

 

Electric violins are charming and eclectic instruments that don’t get enough coverage in mainstream media. The instruments have such a distinctive sound and can be recognized instantly. They are famous for their powerful notes and for the fact that every time someone plays one, it’s a spectacle. And there are quite a few outstanding players who make electric violin playing an art.

One of the most respected musicians, who even has a custom-made electric violin, is Michal Urbaniak. He is a Polish artist who also loves to play saxophone and Lyricon. His style is a mix of jazz and hip-hop with a dash of blues and folk. He is renowned for his creativity and his unexpected sonic fusions.

He has a few albums that did well commercially and has traveled throughout the world to play his tunes. He mostly played in his native country and had a very warm welcome in Scandinavia, which seems to have an appetite for classical music. The guy has also delved into acting as he starred in My Father’s Bike, a Polish motion picture.

Next in line is Jean-Luc Ponty. He is a French jazz violinist who has a taste for both traditional and electric violins. He is also a composer, a thing for which he has received critical acclaim, and it has enabled him to work with the most famous orchestras of our time. It is a well-known fact that he signed a contract to play with the French band, Concerts Lamoureux, right after he finished music school.

He toured the entire world, but eventually ended up emigrating to the States. Here, he returned to his former love – jazz. It was his passion for jazz and electric violin that has led him to record several successful albums, both on his own and with other musicians. He is often referred to as the best contemporary violin player.

Laurie Anderson is often called the best female musician in the industry. She is a famous electric violinist, part of the avant-garde movement. The artist made a name for herself starting with her first televised appearance as a teenager, and she is one of the first people to pioneer electronic music. She scored many movies, recorded a dozen albums that have made it to the Top 100 charts, and even invented her own instrument, called a tape-bow violin.

All of these great performers have endorsed the benefits of playing the electric violin. It is still a relatively hot area that could use some revamping by fresh artists. If you’re looking for an instrument that could help you shine and make a name for yourself, then it might be a sound idea to buy yourself an excellent electric violin with the help of a useful guide, and start experimenting.