What are your first memories of Vangelis? Well I can remember buying an album on Polydor many years ago which was the soundtrack to the film, , which I am sure was in 1973, the thing is it was a spur of the moment thing, I was in London up at 58 Dean Street and it was one of those times when there was not really a lot out, so a trip up to London and come back with nothing was un-thinkable, I had to take something back. I must admit I had seen the LP a few times in the rack and looked at it and then put it back, so why not? Vangelis Papathanassiou I thought, wonder who he is?. It was a happy accident as they say, because it was a wonderful score and was something, I think that made me more aware of Vangelis as a soundtrack composer.
The film itself was a wildlife documentary directed by Frederic Rossif. The music was different from what I had been listening too, Morricone, Barry, Goldsmith all had a symphonic style, yes they all used some synthetics but this was electronic fully with one maybe two conventional instruments. But it was rhythmic, melodic and so emotive, the composer had created a score that was overflowing with poignant themes, touching nuances and haunting musical poems that would become familiar and also long-term favourites that I would return to many times throughout the years. The brief but affective opening track or Generique was filled with a musical energy, percussive and also melodic, Vangelis creating an up-tempo percussive backing to which he laid upon an imposing and powerful sounding theme of sorts.
A track that has stayed with me over the years is the mesmerizing and alluring LE PETITE FILLE DE LA MER, this is certainly the highlight of the entire score, again attractively compelling, with its light and poignant musical persona oozing melancholy, fragility and beauty. It is a charming and highly affecting cue, which beguiles and enthrals which is something I for one did not think a synthesised score could do before hearing this. The same can be said for track number three, LE SINGUE BLEU, this time the composer adding trumpet which is laid back and jazz influenced, underlined and subtly supported via vibes that are equally laid back, it is a relaxing and chilled listening experience as is track number four, LA MORT DU LOUP, the entire score has to it a new age sound, which for 1973 was very much ahead of its time. It is in my opinion a classic but sadly one that sometimes gets overshadowed by BLADE RUNNER. Check it out and discover the musical excellence that is Vangelis. This and other soundtracks by Vangelis are available on places such as Spotify and I tunes and on a thirteen disc set of compact discs, entitled, DELECTUS. Which includes not only his soundtracks such as CHARIOTS OF FIRE, BLADE RUNNER, and ALEXANDER, but also his pop songs including I.LL FIND MY WAY HOME with Jon Anderson.