RIP, Vangelis

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I read just a bit ago that the legendary Greek keyboard wizard Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, better known as Vangelis, has died at the age of 79. He is best known for his Oscar-winning soundtrack to Chariots of Fire, but a far better work in my opinion was his absolutely stunning soundtrack for Blade Runner. Everyone remembers that movie for the stunning imagery, but it would not have half the impact without Vangelis' remarkable music.

He started out playing in rock bands in Greece, then went solo and carved out his own musical niche. He composed quite a few soundtracks in addition to his solo albums. He also had an occasional series of collaborations with former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, released under the name Jon and Vangelis. His most recent solo album, Juno to Jupiter released earlier this year, was inspired by the Juno mission to the planet Jupiter.

He was one of the titans of my personal music pantheon and I am greatly saddened by his death, all the more so upon learning that it was related to Covid. I shall certainly be listening to his music over the next few days and reflecting on the role of his music in my life.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: RIP, Vangelis

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@ Olorin (but not exclusively)
Go here and listen to the music.
(You don't have to listen to the whole thing.)
Then tell me what it reminds you of.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: RIP, Vangelis

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OK, they’re both choral music, and maybe I have a tin ear, but they don’t really sound that similar to me. On the other hand, Vangelis and for that matter other composers were known to lift things occasionally. The last line of Vangelis’ well known song Hymne, which got used for a wine commercial, is pretty much the same as the last line of silent night.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: RIP, Vangelis

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Ah, yes, "lifted" music, and also not the first to do it.

Go to the 1:43 marker for this
(You could start at the beginning, but it starts out in a pretty slow tempo, maybe largo or adagio)
Geminiani (this one), Corelli, Vivaldi, and I don't know how many others (Wikipedia says 150), on up through the 20th C to Vangelis.

I'm not a big fan of Vangelis... can take him or leave him.
But when I first heard his CoP music (quite by accident) I sat bolt upright.
"Why is that familiar?", I thought... "Where have I heard that theme before???"
And then it came to me... from the Geminiani work (my first exposure to it).

It wasn't until years later that I heard the Taize sacred music version.
They are all variations of a centuries old work , all using the same theme: La Follia (or La Folia) The Folly or The Foolishness.
Wikipedia entry La Folia .... pretty interesting.
Anyway, it is one of the few Vangelis works that I really like, and it's solely due to his using that one "lifted" theme.


"Unless you're prepared to surrender everything, don't surrender anything."

When seconds matter, it's reassuring to know that the police are only minutes away.

"Only the paranoid survive."

Re: RIP, Vangelis

7
Olorin wrote: Thu May 19, 2022 11:40 am I read just a bit ago that the legendary Greek keyboard wizard Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, better known as Vangelis, has died at the age of 79. He is best known for his Oscar-winning soundtrack to Chariots of Fire, but a far better work in my opinion was his absolutely stunning soundtrack for Blade Runner. Everyone remembers that movie for the stunning imagery, but it would not have half the impact without Vangelis' remarkable music.

He started out playing in rock bands in Greece, then went solo and carved out his own musical niche. He composed quite a few soundtracks in addition to his solo albums. He also had an occasional series of collaborations with former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, released under the name Jon and Vangelis. His most recent solo album, Juno to Jupiter released earlier this year, was inspired by the Juno mission to the planet Jupiter.

He was one of the titans of my personal music pantheon and I am greatly saddened by his death, all the more so upon learning that it was related to Covid. I shall certainly be listening to his music over the next few days and reflecting on the role of his music in my life.
He will be missed. I remember the first time I heard his music. It was in the credits for the Carl Sagan tv show Cosmos - and throughout the show. My father and I loved that piece of music. I eventually got the Heaven and Hell album when I started getting my own music collection. Years later his score for Blade Runner blew me away and it became an obsession tracking down the best bootleg sources of all of that material, and getting into his studio albums up to that point. A lot of his later stuff I could take or leave, but when he hit the mark he composed some fantastic music. Especially any time he used the Yamaha's CS-80. He was master on that instrument.
KRDS

Re: RIP, Vangelis

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Given that he was known first and perhaps foremost for his soundtracks, it is ironic that relatively little of his soundtrack work is actually available on CD. This may sound crass or opportunistic, and it's not meant to be, but perhaps now that he is gone, his estate will be a little more open to allowing more of his music to be released. He famously got in a snit with somebody over Blade Runner and because of that, never allowed an official release of that music until 1994, 12 years after the movie came out. I was thrilled to get that disc but it was pretty disappointing after such a long wait, once the thrill of having it wore off. I'm not a big fan of inserting clips of dialog into a soundtrack album (although the ones used here were well-chosen), and the way the music was chopped up and moved around made it worse. To me, one of the most iconic parts of the Blade Runner soundtrack was the main title music, with its ominous percussive notes and the chilling synth presentation of the main theme. Yet the 1994 version skipped that completely, opting to open the cut with a dialog clip prior to going into the more full-bodied evocation of the main theme.

When he released the 2007 3-disc version to tie in with the 25th anniversary and the Final Cut blu-ray, I got my hopes up again, only to be dashed. The first disc was identical to the 1994 release, and while the second disc included some cool stuff omitted from the first release, the third disc was pretty much a waste of plastic, being just stuff he threw together "inspired" by Blade Runner. Ultimately, something approximating the original opening music was released on the 2012 best-of, "The Collection." It is still the dialog based version but it has the original opening restored ahead of the dialog interlude. So, it somewhat took the sting out of the immense missed opportunity that I found the 2007 release to be.

Anyway, I would love to see a proper release of the Blade Runner soundtrack, analogous to the complete soundtracks of the Lord of the Rings. I concede it will probably not happen, but hey, a guy's gotta have a dream, right? Vangelis' private life was pretty private, so it's not clear if there will be any family members calling the shots in the estate, a la Christopher Tolkien. Vangelis was apparently never married and had no children, though he is said to have had a number of long-term relationships. I'm guessing the estate will not be controlled by family, though certainly it could be controlled by a friend or agent that he trusted to manage his material in the way he wanted. Then again, consider his unconventional approach to so many things, it's altogether possible that he made no provisions for the time beyond his passing, and the rights situation will just be the wild wild west. Time will tell.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: RIP, Vangelis

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Olorin wrote: Sat May 21, 2022 6:12 am He famously got in a snit with somebody over Blade Runner and because of that, never allowed an official release of that music until 1994, 12 years after the movie came out. I was thrilled to get that disc but it was pretty disappointing after such a long wait, once the thrill of having it wore off. I'm not a big fan of inserting clips of dialog into a soundtrack album (although the ones used here were well-chosen), and the way the music was chopped up and moved around made it worse. To me, one of the most iconic parts of the Blade Runner soundtrack was the main title music, with its ominous percussive notes and the chilling synth presentation of the main theme. Yet the 1994 version skipped that completely, opting to open the cut with a dialog clip prior to going into the more full-bodied evocation of the main theme.

When he released the 2007 3-disc version to tie in with the 25th anniversary and the Final Cut blu-ray, I got my hopes up again, only to be dashed. The first disc was identical to the 1994 release, and while the second disc included some cool stuff omitted from the first release, the third disc was pretty much a waste of plastic, being just stuff he threw together "inspired" by Blade Runner. Ultimately, something approximating the original opening music was released on the 2012 best-of, "The Collection." It is still the dialog based version but it has the original opening restored ahead of the dialog interlude. So, it somewhat took the sting out of the immense missed opportunity that I found the 2007 release to be.
I think all of us Vangeis fans went through that same thing with the BR soundtrack. Always getting our hopes up, then being disappointed. Some of the omissions in those official releases were baffling, and I can't stand it when movie dialog is added to soundtracks. I thought some of the new music he created for those releases was good, but it did not fit in with the actual Blade Runner music at all.

By the time of the 2007 3-disk release, I had already acquired nearly all of the actual film music in high quality from various sources. Between the various BR soundtrack bootlegs (Gongo, Ultimate Edition, EMS Recombination) and learning how to extract the music from the surround channels of the 5.1 mix myself, I have a more than complete soundtrack, including Vangelis early music from the workprint. An official release of the the actual BR music now would probably pale in comparison to what is already out there.

Tangerine Dream's music from the Michael Mann film The Keep was a similar situation, but even more of a disappointment. When an official soundtrack was eventually released about 15 years later, it only contained about 6 minutes of actual film music! Then another official release came out a few years ago, but it was nearly identical to the first release.
KRDS

Re: RIP, Vangelis

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Yeah, I've heard of all the bootleg versions. I'm not a big fan of bootlegs, partly for the illegality of it but partly for not knowing what sort of sound quality I'm going to get. I'm not judging anyone who indulges; I'm just saying I'm generally reluctant to do that myself.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."

Re: RIP, Vangelis

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I'm not talking about the unlicensed knockoff stuff that shady bootleggers sell at a conventions that sounds like a low quality mp3 played through a dixie cup. I'm referring to the high quality extractions and mixes that BR fans have been sharing online for the past 15+ years of the music that has never been officially released. We don't sell it, and every collector I know bought all the official releases. Most of the bootleg BR tracks I have, including the stuff I put together, are the same quality as the officially released tracks, as it's all from the same sources.

A lot of what I compiled was extracted from the surround sound channels of the DVD and Blu Ray releases I have bought. With the right software it's simple to isolate and split the surround channels and remove just the music, without the dialogue and sound fx. Where that is not possible, things can be patched or fixed seamlessly if you know what you are doing. I have been recording and doing audio mixing since the early 2000s, so that stuff is kind of second nature to me.
KRDS

Re: RIP, Vangelis

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Yeah, my skills there are close to non-existant. I only have iTunes. I can rip a song, modify its metadata, and even rip at a higher format and down-convert to cut long tracks (like, say, the two tracks comprising Vangelis' Heaven and Hell album) into shorter tracks. But that's about it.
"Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten...."
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