MEMORIES OF GREEN (BLADE RUNNER) with sheet music by Vangelis
Browse in the Library:
and subscribe to our social channels for news and music updates:
Vangelis, the great composer of music with galactic evocations.
He was the author of dozens of soundtracks, some of them very famous, but his great merit lies in having put music to the melodic subconscious of millions of music lovers. It is an enormous merit for a synthesist who never practiced as a singer and who built the bulk of his career around instrumental music, in theory always further away from mainstream tastes.
With Vangelis it was not like that: his popularity, particularly in the transition between the seventies and eighties, was colossal throughout the world.
The Greek composer, who had turned 79 in March 2022, died on May 17, for reasons that have not been specified. His law office did not report the loss of him until two days later, to a further bleak feeling. During the new century, very little had been lavished, but the publication in 2021 of the extensive album Juno to Jupiter, where he resumed his fascination with the space theme, raised hopes that he would return to activity and new deliveries would arrive.
During his golden age, Evangelos Odysséas Papathanassíou (Agria, Greece, 1943) stood out as an author not only innovative and highly personal, but also extraordinarily prosperous. The world discovered him as a member and shadow mastermind of Aphrodite’s Child, a splendid Greek psychedelic pop trio that in the early 1970s delivered beautiful songs admired in select circles, notably Rain and Tears or Spring, Summer, Winter and Fail.
All eyes were on their charismatic vocalist, Demis Roussos, then very famous in his somewhat mannerism solo career and who disappeared in 2015. But Vangelis pulled the strings and had too many concerns on his mind to restrict himself to the pop universe, due to the many progressive airs that it included.
In 1973 Earth would arrive, the first official solo album by the artist from Agria, a small town that has now disappeared and is integrated into the city of Volos.
The great constants of his work already appeared there: a passion for planetary environments, music with a symphonic vocation but with very accessible melodic dimensions, a dramatic mastery of the latest generation synthesizers. It was impossible for that universe to go unnoticed among the apostles of symphonic rock.
The Yes group offered Vangelis to join the band to cover the vacancy of Rick Wakeman, but the Greek in extremis the tempting offer to focus on his own production, from then on very copious. Albums like Heaven and Hell (1975), Albedo 0.39 (1976) or Spiral (1977) were accessible and addictive, and led him to star in the eyes of fans in a rivalry with the French composer Jean-Michel Jarre, of relatively similar characteristics, for the scepter of what was then called electronic music. Because the name of new age would not arrive until years later, always overshadowed by pejorative connotations of spiritual transcendence.
Works of a more avant-garde and experimental nature would also arrive, especially Beaubourg (1978), which for many of his followers was inaudible and caused a barrage of returns in stores. Papathanassíou’s irruption in the audiovisual universe also fell by its weight, in view of the ambient, evocative and enveloping character of his scores.
The arid Ignacio (1975) and The wild party (1976) meant its premiere with the soundtracks, but the great emergence in this facet would obviously come with Chariots of Fire (1981), the Hugh Hudson film that was made with the Oscars for best film and best music. The central theme, unforgettable and reproduced ad infinitum, translated the epic of the athletes into eighth notes and meant, incidentally, Vangelis’s tribute to his progenitor, who had worked as a tenacious amateur runner.
To the filming glory was added the surprising adventure of Jon & Vangelis, the duo with the singer Jon Anderson, who at that time had momentarily left the ranks of Yes. It was an atypical and unexpected tandem, but it remained active for three very interesting LPs, essentially The Friends of Mr Cairo, also from 1981. That formula of vocal pop with synthesized wrappers was so striking that State of Independence, one of the cuts from The Friends…
The years of maximum splendor reach the soundtrack of Blade Runner (1982), by Ridley Scott, where its Love Theme (dominated by a tenor sax) and the final credits form an essential part in the history of film music.
Vangelis’ ascendancy was losing steam as he resumed his solo activity, with a handful of highly recommended albums (Soil Festivities, Mask, Direct…), but framed in a time of less fascination for instrumental music and thematic albums.
However, the name of the Greek would return to all the headlines when he was commissioned to write the music for 1492: The Conquest of Paradise, Scott’s mega-production around the fifth centenary of Columbus’ landing in America. The film was far from convincing critics, but the 55 minutes of original compositions are among the masterpieces of its author.
Those nineties would already be of lesser notoriety in his production, despite the fact that he continued to maintain a vigorous rhythm and reached milestones such as an album with guest vocalists (Voices, 1995) or the neoclassical El Greco (1998), in which Montserrat Caballé appeared.
The 21st century would be even less propitious for him, but the rise of Vangelis’s work seems, never better said, stratospheric. And not only because of his most famous soundtracks. It’s almost impossible not to have heard solo tracks like Pulstar, used ad nauseam in commercials and tune-ups. Or the move from Heaven and Hell that Carl Sagan took advantage of for his Cosmos series. Never has the sound of the celestial spheres been so well represented.