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Vangelis, who composed Academy Award-winning rating for “Chariots of Fireplace,” dies at 79


Vangelis, the Greek digital composer who wrote the unforgettable Academy Award-winning rating for the movie “Chariots of Fireplace” and music for dozens of different films, documentaries and TV sequence, has died at 79.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and different authorities officers expressed their condolences Thursday. Greek media reported that Vangelis — born Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou — died in a French hospital late Tuesday.

“Vangelis Papathanassiou is not amongst us,” Mitsotakis tweeted.

Greece Obit Vangelis
Composer Vangelis Papathanassiou, proper, solutions a query throughout a press convention in Athens, June 27, 2001. 

Aris Messinis / AP


The opening credit of “Chariots of Fireplace” roll as a bunch of younger runners progress in sluggish movement throughout a glum seashore in Scotland, as a lazy, beat-backed tune rises to a magisterial declamation. It is some of the immediately recognizable musical themes in cinema – and its standing in in style tradition has solely been confirmed by the host of spoofs it has sired.

The 1981 British movie made Vangelis, however his preliminary encounter with success got here along with his first Greek pop band within the Sixties.

He advanced right into a one-man quasi-classical orchestra, utilizing an unlimited array of digital gear to conjure up his enormously in style undulating waves of sound. A non-public, humorous man — burly, with with shoulder-length hair and a trim beard — he quoted historical Greek philosophy and noticed the artist as a conduit for a fundamental common pressure. He was fascinated by area exploration and wrote music for celestial our bodies, however stated he by no means sought stardom himself.

Nonetheless, a micro-planet spinning someplace between Mars and Jupiter — 6354 Vangelis — will without end bear his title.

Born on March 29, 1943, close to the town of Volos in central Greece, Vangelis began taking part in the piano at age 4, though he acquired no formal coaching and claimed he by no means discovered to learn notes.

“Orchestration, composition – they train this stuff in music colleges, however there are some issues you possibly can by no means train,” he stated in a 1982 interview. “You’ll be able to’t train creation.”

At 20, Vangelis and three mates fashioned the Forminx band in Athens, which did very nicely in Greece. After it disbanded, he wrote scores for a number of Greek movies and later turned a founding member – along with one other later-to-be internationally well-known Greek musician, Demis Roussos – of Aphrodite’s Little one. Based mostly in Paris, the progressive rock group produced a number of European hits, and their remaining document “666,” launched in 1972, continues to be extremely acclaimed.

Aphrodite’s Little one additionally broke up, and Vangelis pursued solo initiatives. In 1974, he moved to London, constructed his personal studio and cooperated with Sure frontman Jon Anderson, with whom he recorded as Jon and Vangelis and had a number of main hits.

However his big breakthrough got here with the rating for “Chariots of Fireplace” that advised the true story of two British runners competing within the 1924 Summer season Olympics in Paris. Vangelis’ rating received one of many 4 Academy Awards the movie received, together with finest image. The signature piece is without doubt one of the hardest-to-forget film tunes worldwide – and has additionally served because the musical background to countless slow-motion parodies.

Vangelis later wrote music scores for Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (1982) and “1492: Conquest of Paradise” (1992), in addition to for “Lacking” (1982) and “Antarctica” (1983), amongst others.

Vangelis
Greek composer of digital music, Vangelis, twenty eighth January 1976.

/ Getty Photographs


He refused many different affords for movie scores, saying in an interview: “Half of the movies I see do not want music. It appears like one thing stuffed in.”

Vangelis was cautious of how document corporations dealt with industrial success. With success, he stated, “you end up caught and obliged to repeat your self and your earlier success.”

His curiosity in science — together with the physics of music and sound — and area exploration led to compositions linked with main NASA and European House Company initiatives. When British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died in 2018, Vangelis composed a musical tribute for his interment that the ESA broadcast into area.

Vangelis introduced forth his symphonic swells taking part in alone on a financial institution of synthesizers, whereas flipping switches as his toes darted from one quantity pedal to a different.

“I work like an athlete,” he as soon as stated.

He prevented the life-style excesses related to many within the music trade, saying that he by no means took medication – “which was very uncomfortable, at instances.”

Vangelis stated he did not ever experiment along with his music and often did every thing on the primary take.

“After I compose, I carry out the music on the similar time, so every thing is reside, nothing is pre-programmed,” he stated.

The composer lived in London, Paris and Athens, the place he purchased a home on the foot of the Acropolis that he by no means dolled up, even when his avenue turned some of the fascinating pedestrian walks on the town. The neoclassical constructing was almost demolished in 2007 when authorities officers determined that it spoilt the view of the traditional citadel from a brand new museum constructed subsequent door, however ultimately reconsidered.

Vangelis obtained many awards in Greece, France and the U.S. Little was recognized of his private life, apart from the truth that he was an avid painter.

“On a regular basis I paint and daily I compose music,” he stated – in that order.





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