Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou[a] (born 29 March 1943), known professionally as Vangelis, is a Greek musician and composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, and orchestral music. He is best known for his Academy Award-winning score to Chariots of Fire (1981), as well as for composing scores to the films Blade Runner (1982), Missing (1982), Antarctica (1983), The Bounty (1984), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), and Alexander (2004), and for the use of his music in the PBS documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan.
Vangelis began his career working with several popular bands of the 1960s such as The Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child, with the latter’s album 666 going on to be recognized as a progressive-psychedelic rock classic. Throughout the 1970s, Vangelis composed music scores for several animal documentaries, including L’Apocalypse des Animaux, La Fête sauvage and Opéra sauvage; the success of these scores brought him into the film scoring mainstream. In the early 1980s, Vangelis formed a musical partnership with Jon Anderson, the lead singer of progressive rock band Yes, and the duo went on to release several albums together as Jon & Vangelis.
In 1981, he composed the score for the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Score. The soundtrack’s single, the film’s “Titles” theme, also reached the top of the American Billboard Hot 100 chart and was used as the background music at the London 2012 Olympics winners’ medal presentation ceremonies.
Having had a career in music spanning over 50 years and having composed and performed more than 50 albums, Vangelis is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of electronic music
1492: Conquest of Paradise is a 1992 music score to the film of the same name by Greek electronic composer and artist Vangelis. The film, a recount of the voyage to America in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, was directed by Ridley Scott, for whom Vangelis had previously composed the music score for Blade Runner, in 1982. The album and the single “Conquest of Paradise” enjoyed a revival in 1995 for various reasons and broke many sales records.
Due to the soundtrack’s success, Vangelis won an Echo Award as “International Artist Of The Year”, and RTL Golden Lion Award for the “Best Title Theme for a TV Film or a Series” in 1996. The album was nominated for “Best Original Score – Motion Picture” at the 50th Golden Globe Awards in 1993.
On this soundtrack, Vangelis plays together with a number of performers, including two Flamenco guitarists and vocalists, violin, mandolin and flutes. As on a number of previous albums by Vangelis, the English Chamber Choir, directed by Guy Protheroe, performs the choral parts.
The sound engineering was done by Philippe Colonna and coordination by French musician Frederick Rousseau (also known for his collaborations with Jean-Michel Jarre), who has been Vangelis’s studio partner since the 1980s till the recording of the Alexander soundtrack.
Vangelis plays all synthesizers, using mainly string patches but also several ethnic ones, to reflect the character of the film, and electric piano and harp patches. Some calmer, atmospheric pieces (tracks 3, 7, 11 and 12) are entirely performed by Vangelis, using pianos, strings and harp.
For the ethnic music, Vangelis consulted with French specialist Xavier Belanger, who has advised other artists on similar issues, including Jean-Michel Jarre.
A video clip was shot in Paris with Vangelis in his Epsilon Studios (since dismantled), with the choir performing.
Three tracks of this album contain lyrics. In “Monastery of La Rabida” and “Deliverance”, the choir sings Latin hymns (“De Profundis” and “Dies Irae, respectively”). In “Conquest of Paradise” Vangelis used a pseudo-Latin invented language.
Both the album and the EP had poor sales upon their release in 1992, but success came three years later, in 1995, for disparate reasons: In Germany, local boxer Henry Maske used the album-track “Conquest of Paradise” as his introduction theme during boxing bouts. When he became the IBF world title holder in the light heavyweight category, the piece received wide coverage and a single was hastily released.
In Portugal, the local Socialist Party also used “Conquest of Paradise” as its theme for the general election campaign (it won). The song has also been used as a theme for the Crusaders, a Super Rugby team based in Christchurch, New Zealand, for English rugby league team the Wigan Warriors, for the 2011 Cricket World Cup, and for the 2010 and 2014 cricket World Twenty20 championships.
The soundtrack album charted very well, and went on to be certified gold and platinum in over 17 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Holland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K., culminating with over million copies in Germany.
The single “Conquest of Paradise” also topped the charts in a number of countries, including 10 weeks at No. 1 in the Netherlands and Germany, where it sold 1.5 million copies, 8 weeks at No. 1 in Belgium and Switzerland. (by wikipedia)
Suitably grand in scale and far-reaching in its scope, this soundtrack is the first new music from Vangelis since 1990’s The City. 1492 stands up well next to Vangelis’s classic Chariots of Fire, due to his innate ability to get right inside the material and provide an integral part of the film itself. Vangelis succeeds in capturing the 15th-century mood, mixing rich choral portions with modern elements, and portraying the larger than life character of Columbus, complete with full-range, dynamic sound. (by All Music)
Francis Darizcuren (mandolin, violin)
Didier Malherbe (flute)
Pepe Martinez (guitar, vocals)
Guy Protheroe (vocals)
Vangelis (keyboards, synthesizer)
01. Opening 1.22
02. Conquest Of Paradise 4.48
03. Monastery Of La Rábida 3.39
04. City Of Isabel 2.16
05. Light And Shadow 3.47
06. Deliverance 3.29
07. West Across The Ocean Sea 2.53
08. Eternity 2.00
09. Hispañola 4.56
10. Moxica And The Horse 7.06
11. Twenty Eighth Parallel 5.14
12. Pinta, Niña, Santa María (Into Eternity) 13.20