El Greco is a 1998 classical album by Greek electronic composer and artist Vangelis (born March 29, 1943). The title is a reference to the man who inspired the composition, Dominikos Theotokópoulos (known as El Greco, “The Greek”; 1541–1614), the painter and sculptor of the Spanish Renaissance. It consists of ten long movements performed on electronic instruments.
This album is an expansion of an earlier album by Vangelis, Foros Timis Ston Greco. That album had been released in 1995, in a limited edition. For this general release, the track order was rearranged, three new tracks were added, and the album title was changed.
Vangelis composed and arranged the album, and performed all the instruments, accompanied by a choir conducted by Ivan Cassar. The music is in a Byzantine style yet sounding contemporary due to his use of synthesizers. Soprano Montserrat Caballé and tenor Konstantinos Paliatsaras make guest appearances on one movement each.
The album reached #66 in France and #74 in Germany. At the Billboard New Age Albums chart peaked at #9 position.
The image on the album is “The Knight with His Hand on His Breast” by El Greco.
(Not to be confused with El Greco Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, a 2007 album also by Vangelis)
This 1998 album expands the original ‘Tribute To El Greco’ (released semi-privately in Athens in 1995) to a full-length CD by adding three tracks (Movements III, V and VII) to the original ones, which have not been tampered with for this international release, only reordered slightly. The lavishly packaged 1995 release was limited to 3000 signed copies and officially obtainable only through the National Gallery museum in Athens which used the money thus generated to help acquire an El Greco painting (called ‘Saint Peter’) for its collection, although various copies have been bought by determined fans through different channels. I’ve always found the reasoning behind this restricted release a bit suspect – if you really want to generate a sizeable sum of money then why not create a great album and make it an international (or certainly internationally obtainable) release, perhaps upping the price a bit to account for its charity purpose. Anyway, a great album it was so this re-release has been much welcomed by fans unable to get hold of the original. The project shows Vangelis at his most inspired by the almost exclusively religious paintings from Domenikos Theotokopoulos (to give El Greco his full name) and his general artistic outlook. This becomes apparent from a rare personal note by Vangelis in the booklet, which is basically the mystic statement that, in order to be a truly creative artist, one must be true to one’s own nature and thus to Cosmic nature in general, as they are identical. The music’s flavour is very Byzantine, using Greek orthodox harmonies, church-bells, choir-sounds and more. It’s got a faint religious touch and is both austere and rich at the same time – austere because of the generally sparse orchestration, rich because of its deeply felt emotions. One of Vangelis’ main musical strengths, which is the use of rubato (the slight quickening up or slowing down of the tempo of the music to create those subtle effects), is very much in evidence throughout. Two singers from the classical world also make a contribution – a great aria by Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballe accompanied on piano and on another track tenor Konstantinos Paliatsaras. The album’s promotion (what little there has been) occurred mainly through classical channels and although it’s hard to think of a classical composer creating music equivalent in nature to ‘El Greco’ still anyone who likes classical music (for instance Wagner – similar use of rubato, or perhaps Eastern European religious music) will in all probability like this music as well. (by .vangelismovements.com)
Doménikos Theotokópoulos (Greek: Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος [ðoˈminikos θeotoˈkopulos]; 1541 – 7 April 1614), most widely known as El Greco (pronounced: [el ˈgɾeko]; Spanish for “The Greek”), was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. The nickname “El Greco” refers both to his Greek origin and Spanish citizenship. The artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος (Doménikos Theotokópoulos), often adding the word Κρής (Krēs, “Cretan”).
View of Toledo (c. 1596–1600, oil on canvas, 47.75 × 42.75 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) is one of the two surviving landscapes of Toledo painted by El Greco.
El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.
El Greco’s dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western painting (by wikipedia)
Montserrat Caballé (soprano)
Konstantinos Paliatsaras (tenor)
Choir conducted by Ivan Cassar
01. Movement I (Movement I) 10.04
02. Movement II (Movement II) 5.18
03. Movement III (new) 6.48
04. Movement IV (Movement III) 6.21
05. Movement V (new) 4.30
06. Movement VI (Movement V) 7. 52
07. Movement VII (new) – 3:18
08. Movement VIII (Movement IV) 9.43
09. Movement IX (Movement VI) 12.00
10. Movement X (Epilogue) (Movement VII) 6.21
In parenthesis, correspondence to the track listing of Foros Timis Ston Greco.
The Vision of Saint John
(El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (1541–1614)