Self-taught genius of the keyboard, composer who passed through progressive rock, pioneer of electronic music, author of nearly thirty film soundtracks, Oscar winner, Vangelis died on May 17 at the age of 79, Athens announced on Thursday evening. Several of his compositions have achieved worldwide fame. Television and the world of advertising have drawn heavily from his repertoire…
Rain and Tears, with Aphrodite’s Child (1968)
It was with the progressive rock group Aphrodite’s Child, formed in Paris with Demis Roussos on vocals and Lucas Sideras on drums, that Vangelis achieved international fame. Vangelis composed the music on the melodic structure of the cannon by Pachelbel, a famous piece from the 17th century.
It’s Five O’Clock, with Aphrodite’s Child (1969)
Huge hit and self-titled track from Aphrodite’s Child’s second album, It’s Five O’Clock was released in 1969, when the trio had settled in London.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
This arch-famous theme accompanied and carried the British film The Chariots of Fire by Hugh Hudson, which narrates the adventures of two athletes at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games (based on a scenario inspired by a true story). The music of Vangelis will be crowned by an Oscar against a strong competitor among the nominations: John Williams, in the running for the first Indiana Jones, The Raiders of the Lost Ark. This soundtrack is a great success in North America and the United Kingdom. It will also be used for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. In France, the main theme served as the credits for the program Stade 2 (on Antenne 2 then France 2) devoted to sports news.
Blade Runner: main theme (1982)
Inspired by different subjects such as space exploration, futuristic architecture, Vangelis, just “Oscar winner” for The Chariots of Fire, was the perfect choice to set Ridley Scott’s science fiction film to music, an adaptation of a novel by Philip K. Dick, which in 1968 imagined a Los Angeles in 2019 that was not very idyllic. The Greek composer wrote a dark score, mostly played on his synthesizers.
Blade Runner: Tears in Rain (1982)
Tears in Rain (“Tears in the Rain”), like a distant echo to Rain and Tears, for the anecdote… The captivating music that Vangelis composed for blade runner well deserved a second excerpt, that of the moving final scene which moved generations of moviegoers. “I have seen so many things that you humans could not imagine (…) All these moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain”, Rutger Hauer blasts Harrison Ford in the final moments of their clash.
A very beautiful melody composed for missing by Costa-Gavras, a film inspired by the eponymous novel which recounts the disappearance of the American journalist Charles Horman during the military coup in Chile on September 11, 1973.
1492: Christopher Columbus (1992)
Ten years after Blade Runner, Vangelis reunited with director Ridley Scott to set his Franco-British-Spanish fresco to music, released in cinemas on October 12, 1992, exactly 500 years after the arrival of the navigator Christopher Columbus on the American continent. Its main theme, Conquest of Paradiseis a free variation of Iberian music from the 15th century, The Madness. This haunted and solemn piece will have a long career, used on various occasions by leaders and during political events in various countries, but also to serve as the credits of radio or television broadcasts.