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Wicked keyboarding skills
April 30, 2009 12:35 AM   Subscribe

Vangelis: The Man And His Music (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) profiles prolific Greek keyboardist and composer Evanghelos Odyssey "Vangelis" Papathanassiou in a rare 1984 television interview.

After helping drive the opaque brilliance of Aphrodite's Child, he struck out on his own in the early 1970s, and redefined music along the way. Perhaps best known for his soundtrack albums, including Chariots Of Fire and Blade Runner (in many iterations), his music was also used during Carl Sagan's Cosmos. and 1492: Conquest Of Paradise, and Alexander, and he recorded pop albums with Jon Anderson and... and... and...

Notoriously interview-averse, there are nevertheless some other choice Vangelis media bits to be found, such as a 1992 interview with Judi Spears (Part 1, 2), or waxing philosophic about music and recording for German television, or from 2001 speaking about his Mythodea concert.

Particularly stunning is this lengthy French program from (it appears) the early 1990s huge amounts of wonderful performance bits (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) [no subtitles, none needed. just sit and wait for the next musical bit to come along.]
posted by hippybear (36 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is why I love the Blue. It's almost 1 AM, I have to get to bed, and I certainly can't turn up the volume in my house with the sleeping spouse and sprog, but here's this amazing post with terrific music and deep resources on an epic talent that I'm going to enjoy for a long time to come. I'm so thankful for the favorite feature. Well done, hippybear.
posted by yiftach at 12:58 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Vangelis also did much of the great music for the old PBS series Cosmos.
posted by JHarris at 1:35 AM on April 30, 2009


An epic post for an epic composer (and performer). And I mean epic in the most literal and classic sense of the word!
posted by PostOfficeBuddy at 1:42 AM on April 30, 2009


The fact that "Chariots of Fire" -- a mediocre movie now pretty much consigned to well-deserved obscurity -- was even nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in the first place (let alone winning it over several superior entries) is a testament to the power of the music and the almost hypnotic effect it had on the general public when it first hit the mainstream.
posted by RavinDave at 1:51 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Vangelis also did much of the great music for the old PBS series Cosmos.


It's one thing when people don't follow the links in a post. But to not actually even read the post before commenting? What it is, Slashdot?
posted by outlier at 2:02 AM on April 30, 2009


Just popping in to note that Vangelis did much of the great music for Cosmos, the old PBS series.

Also: bum bum bum bum BUM bum...bum bum bum bum BUM....bum bum bum bum BUM bum...bum bum bum bum BUUUUUM
posted by DU at 4:30 AM on April 30, 2009


Vangelis also did the music for some old PBS show about space. Can't remember what it's called.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:35 AM on April 30, 2009


I don't know much about Vangelis apart from Chariots of Fire, but a friend of mine is really into him and some other guy who did the music for a sci-fi thing Carl Sagan wrote, whose name I can't remember.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:04 AM on April 30, 2009


it's Cosmos
posted by RufusW at 5:06 AM on April 30, 2009


music by Vangelis
posted by RufusW at 5:07 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, no, no ... Cosmos was on PBS.
posted by RavinDave at 5:11 AM on April 30, 2009


Blade Runner?
posted by Meatbomb at 5:19 AM on April 30, 2009


The Esper Edition of the Blade Runner soundtrack is the one you want.

Van the Man also wrote the catchy theme that shows up in the middle of The Year of Living Dangerously. It's called "L'Enfant" and appears on his Themes album. [But not the movie soundtrack.]

Little known fact: He also wrote the music for the Carl Sagan PBS series Cosmos!
posted by Joe Beese at 5:23 AM on April 30, 2009


This is a great post, and great music.

One thing that a lot of people don't know is that Vangelis also did the soundtrack for Blade Runner.
posted by Super Hans at 5:42 AM on April 30, 2009


Vangelis? Was that the guy with the sled and the newspaper business?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:31 AM on April 30, 2009


I've got the Vangelis soundtrack for Blade Runner and it is very tasty, especially on a rainy Saturday morning. And either Vangelis or the producer had the smarts to leave in Roy Batty's last words.
posted by Ber at 6:44 AM on April 30, 2009


Great post, I can hardly wait to get through each of your links.

No thread about Vangelis would be complete with a mention of the Yamaha CS80 synthesizer.
posted by fatbaq at 6:46 AM on April 30, 2009


My friends were surprised to know that Vangelis didn't score the soundtrack to that vampire movie Eric Red made with Bill Paxton and Lance Henricksen, but they cheered up a bit when I mentioned that Vangelis had done some TV work for that guy who tried to sue Apple.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:56 AM on April 30, 2009


The Blade Runner soundtrack (and specifically the Esper Edition that Joe Beese linked) is quite simply one of the most sublime, melancholy, epic works of music, ever.
posted by Floach at 8:12 AM on April 30, 2009


The Friends of Mr. Cairo, can anyone find the long version online? (pardon if it's in the links, I'm at work and can't watch them all right now).
posted by 445supermag at 8:20 AM on April 30, 2009


The Friends of Mr. Cairo, can anyone find the long version online? (pardon if it's in the links, I'm at work and can't watch them all right now).

This is probably it.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:27 AM on April 30, 2009


Vangelis? Wasn't he the one that did the music for that Carl Weathers show on CBS?
posted by FatherDagon at 8:44 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is this post about?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:02 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


The fact that "Chariots of Fire" -- a mediocre movie now pretty much consigned to well-deserved obscurity

what
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:07 AM on April 30, 2009


A Vangelis post? Hell yes! Thank you, hippybear. Will be watching all these when I get home.

It's so hard to find his interviews. My biggest disappointment with the Bladerunner Final Cut dvd set: there was almost no mention of Vangelis and no special feature on the importance of the score. However, there is a brief interview on the Chariots of Fire dvd, where Vangelis talks about how the famous title theme was almost not used in the film (the filmmakers liked one of his existing themes before he wrote the one used in the movie). And for the record, Chariots is an excellent movie :)
posted by wundermint at 9:53 AM on April 30, 2009


666 by Aphrodite's Child. Listen to it
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:06 AM on April 30, 2009


Evanghelos Odyssey "Vangelis" Papathanassiou

What's up with Greek Names? (with semi-apology)
posted by wendell at 10:43 AM on April 30, 2009


Beaubourg, while not as accessible as some of his other work, is also quite enjoyable.
posted by bouvin at 12:06 PM on April 30, 2009


Great listen on a hot summer day: Antarctica
posted by wundermint at 12:48 PM on April 30, 2009


That 1492: Conquest of Paradise album is pretty great, even though the movie stinks.
posted by zardoz at 7:44 PM on April 30, 2009


Many don't know that Vangelis also did the music for the magazine Cosmopolitan
posted by jcworth at 8:39 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


State of Independence,
as sung by Donna Summer
and by Moodswings
posted by eye of newt at 11:08 PM on April 30, 2009


first link fixed: State of Independence.
posted by eye of newt at 11:11 PM on April 30, 2009


There is a staggering amount of new music coming out now that is nakedly derivative of his work contemporaneous with Aphrodite's Child, called L'Apocalypse des animaux. Particularly, the song "La Petite Fille de la Mer"
posted by Pastabagel at 6:40 AM on May 1, 2009


I wonder if Vangelis, had he been accepted as a member of Yes in 1974, would have had the time to compose any of his film soundtracks? Or would we now be talking about the awesome Blade Runner soundtrack as composed by Rick Wakeman?
posted by stannate at 9:58 PM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


stannate: you phrase that as though Vangelis was rejected by Yes. He pretty much intimates that he realized early in the discussion process that they have differing visions. "I know all the records of the Yes, and we don't exactly have the same perception. We go in two different directions. If we have to be together, then this is a problem more important than the union problem.

"I can say that Yes' music is very interesting. In every record that they do there are some parts I like, some parts I don't. I think the 'Topographic Oceans' is more of a 'head' work. I prefer 'heart' work."


What I find fascinating is that Vangelis claims that most of the Short Stories album with Jon Anderson was recorded spontaneously in single takes. Sensing a note of disbelief, Vangelis booms triumphantly, "You can go the studio, try all the tapes and you won't find a song that took two takes. No way. It doesn't exist." Anderson seems to back up that claim in the second part of this recorded interview.
posted by hippybear at 11:05 PM on May 2, 2009


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