Vangelis, Oscar-winning composer of ‘Chariots of Fire’ and ‘Blade Runner’, dead at 79 – Rolling Stone

Vangelis, the Greek Oscar-winning prog-rocker and composer for films like chariots of fire and blade runnerdied at the age of 79.

Influential artist born Evángelos Papathanassíou died on Tuesday evening, a statement from Vangelis’ “private office” said. his Elsewhere fan page Thursday. The Athens News Agency also confirmed the news of Vangelis’ death. No cause of death was provided, but Greek newspaper OT reports that Vangelis died in a hospital in France where he was being treated for Covid-19.

“Vangelis Papathanassiou was a great Greek composer who excelled on a global level,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias wrote in a translated tweet. “We say goodbye with a big ‘thank you’ for what he has given to music, culture and Greece.”

“Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer with us. For the whole world, this sad news demonstrates that the global music scene has lost the international ‘Vangelis’, the protagonist of electronic sound, Oscars, mythology and hits,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said. tweetedas translated by rolling stone. “For us Greeks, who know that his second name was Odysseus, it means that he began his long journey to the Chariots of Fire. From there, he will always send us his notes.

Born in Agria and raised in Athens, Papathanassíou learned the piano at a young age, although he was enrolled in a music school in Athens, he never formally learned to read or write music. “Orchestration, composition – they teach those things in music schools, but there are things you can never teach,” he said in a 1982 interview (Going through Associated press). “You cannot teach creation.”

His first band as a teenager was the pop group Formynx, but he left his native country in 1968 amid a coup attempt in Greece. After settling in Paris, Vangelis – a variant of his first name, which he says translates to “an angel who brings good news” – formed the cult progressive rock band Aphrodite’s Child alongside fellow Greeks. expatriates. The group released three albums, including the 1972 one 666an epic double LP inspired by the Book of Revelations.

As well as releasing his own pioneering electronic music albums, Vangelis branched out into film composition in the 1970s, creating music for documentaries for French filmmaker Frédéric Rossif. One of these scores, 1979 Wild Operabecame a surprise hit in the United States and led to what was to become Vangelis’ greatest triumph: the 1981 score chariots of fire.

Powered by the instantly iconic movie theme, chariots of fire topped the Billboard 200 for four weeks. Vangelis, who played all the instruments in the soundtrack, would win Best Original Score at the Oscars.

While Chariots of Fire took all the accolades, Vangelis’ next score was perhaps even more influential: In 1982, he created the electronic soundscape that accompanied Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir classic. blade runner, with Vangelis’ synthesizer radiating into the director’s dark urban future. The score is now considered one of the greatest works of the electronic music genre, despite not getting a physical release until a decade after the film was released. Scott and Vangelis then reunited for 1992’s 1492: Conquest of Paradise.

When composing film music, Vangelis would sit and watch the film alongside his trusted synthesizer. “When I compose, I play the music at the same time, so everything is live; nothing is pre-programmed”, Vangelis Told Replay Magazine in 1993. “I don’t make demos. “Improvise” isn’t quite the word, but I use the first idea and impression that comes to mind. I did all my film music like that, and I worked on my albums the same way. It’s much faster, there’s no agony, and if I make a mistake, only I can be blamed. The most important thing is to capture the spirit of the film.

During his prolific career, Vangelis also created the music for The Cosmos of Carl Sagan and international events like the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2012 FIFA World Cup in Japan. Vangelis and Yes singer Jon Anderson also had a long collaboration (Jon & Vangelis) which resulted in three albums; In the mid-70s, Vangelis was rumored to replace Rick Wakeman in that prog band, but when that pairing didn’t work out, Vangelis and Anderson continued to record together.

“I have always tried to extract the maximum from the behavior of a sound”, Vangelis says Prog in 2016. “I think it’s more important to achieve a harmonious result without giving importance to the source from which a sound comes. I remember as a kid putting strings in my parents piano just to see how it would affect the sound! That kind of attitude has always stuck with me.

Comments are closed.