Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Greece Is the Word: Vangelis 80

Vangelis - Chariots of Fire

Suddenly it's Wednesday, and time for a milestone birthday tribute to a recently-departed icon.

Is he the most visible and globally-beloved musician in the history of Greece? If there were ever a man to challenge Aristocleides (or Demis Roussos, or Nana Mouskouri), here he be.

To call his music Romantic with a capital R would be like referring to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as merely Tall.

Beginning musical life breaking through with a still-revered Greek Prog Rock band called Aphrodite's Child, if he'd have stopped there he might yet be a cult figure of significance.

Thankfully, he did not stop there.

Almost joining the even-more-legendary Yes in the mid-1970s, that close call led to a lifelong association with the primary singer of that band, and produced not a few huge smash hits.

But it was when he began to score films that he really exploded into nearly a cultural phenomenon in his own right.

Obviously his Oscar-winning music for Chariots of Fire is his most notorious single piece -- someone, somewhere, is running along a beach right now and humming it -- but he soundtracked so many movies and TV things, it's almost unquantifiably immense to keep track of it all.

Indeed, in the folder alongside today's concert I have placed one of his many unreleased scores, this one for a TV documentary from 1981 called L'Arbre de Vie.

If I had to describe the music of Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou -- known to us all simply as Vangelis -- I'd say it was somewhere in the lush, verdant imaginary landscape between the electronic tone-poetry of Cluster's Hans-Joachim Roedelius and the triumphant Romanticism of Benjamin Britten.

His career and works are the stuff of deserved legend, so I'll not say more. He almost made it 80, but passed away last May before he got there.

The 79 years that preceded his going were wrought of such sumptuous and unforgettable sounds, it seems clear he will never be forgotten.

Sounds of sumptuousness such as these, captured in an outdoor event in Holland at the start of the 1990s, and accompanied by some equally-as-gargantuan guests to boot.

Event of Excellence
De Maaskade
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

01 intro
02 fireworks opening
03 Chariots of Fire
04 Spiral
05 The Other Side of Antarctica
06 Chung Kuo
07 Glorianna (feat. Markella Hatziano)
08 Pulstar
09 Mask, Part 2 
10 Italian Song (feat. Jon Anderson)
11 Kinematic
12 Mask, Part 5
13 Hymne
14 outro

Total time: 54:56

Vangelis Papathanassiou - keyboards & tapes
Markella Hatziano - vocals on Track 07
Jon Anderson - vocals on Track 10

indeterminate transfer of the pre-broadcast audio from this legendary event, as shown live by Veronica TV in The Netherlands
reedited, retracked, repaired & remastered by EN, March 2023
378 MB FLAC/direct link

I've got one more memoriam planned for the end of March, and then it's on to the April, fools.

My personal oscillators would detune, I'm afraid, were I not to give honor to this most extraordinary figure on the day he'd have gone octogenarian, so get out on that sand and start sprinting, tracksters!! *hums*--J.

3.29.1943 - 5.17.2022

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