Vangelis has died

Story here - https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/may/19/vangelis-greek-composer-chariots-of-fire-blade-runner-dies

His soundtracks to Chariots of Fire, and Blade Runner were critically acclaimed for their evocitive mood setting. He was dismissed by some as a New Age light-weight but that evaluation was totally misguided.

Here is a track

That’s sad news; I enjoyed a lot of his work from the '80s. I’d know that he’d collaborated with vocalist Jon Anderson of Yes (and I have one of their collaboration albums), but I hadn’t realized, until I read the obituary above, that he had, at one point, been approached by Yes to be their keyboardist.

I have one of their collaborations also. I used to be much more in New Age and honestly can’t remember the last time I listened to the CD.

I was an avid watcher of Cosmos. That’s where I first heard his music. Blade Runner, The Year Of Living Dangerously… I’ve never seen Chariots Of Fire.

Far from being a lightweight, Vangelis was a master of combining orchestral and synthesized music, in my opinion only second to the also-now deceased John Barry, although Vangelis was definitely known for his more expansive, moody scores. His soundtrack for Blade Runner was not available for many years because of some permissions issues (it was a very complex production with a lot of producers and investors trying to recoup some of their investment from a complicated and ultimately unprofitable film despite now being a cult classic) so only a cover from the New American Orchestra was available, which was…fine, but I celebrated when the original Vangelis tracks were made available. In addition to Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire, and 1492: Conquest of Paradise he also conducted and produced music for the 1984 The Bounty and 2004 Alexander, and while neither are really great movies they are notable for their music. Vangelis (Vangelis Papathanassiou) had a long career and was much sought after, doing music for countless documentaries including Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, so critics who were dismissive of him were clearly outshouted by directors and producers who appreciated his work.

It doesn’t look as if he’s done much in the last couple of years so I assume he was in ill health, but he’ll certainly be long remembered for his nonpareil work, and despite many imitators his work is immediately identifiable as such.

Stranger

I ended up hating that song, Chariots of Fire. It got strangely overplayed when it was new.

Yeah, it did. I didn’t end up hating it, but I liked the music in the shows I’d seen better.

An annual road race in my city, which attracts Olympic-caliber athletes, plays that on a loop at the finishing line. After a while, enough people finish at once that you can’t hear it any more.

(Or they used to; I haven’t been a race volunteer for quite a few years.)

I’m listening to Friends of Mr. Cairo (with Jon Anderson). A nice paean to film noir.

By the way, once I saw this, it became the ONLY version of Chariots of Fire to me:

I liked a lot of his original works, too. Direct, Voices, and Rosetta are gorgeous all on the own.

Damned Covid.

What an amazing electronic musician. Vangelis and Klaus Schulze both gone within weeks of each other. Rest in peace.

Heh, I ended up hating it because I was an orchestral student at the time of its peak popularity. We played it a lot, and it’s far from a fun piece for the orchestra to play, IMHO. But that’s not its purpose in life, and it’s a perfectly fine piece of music, despite my feelings about playing it.

But as I got older, and into keyboards and synthesizers, I began to appreciate what he accomplished more and more. Plus, I had a friend who owned a record store that kind of revered the Blade Runner soundtrack. That guy had introduced me to enough stuff that I had to try to listen and digest that, as well. He’ll never be as some others are to me, but still, he had a mastery of “mood” that still informs me, and I try to think of it when writing - especially when I’m composing things like space metal.

So yeah. Thankya, Vangelis. Very nice run.