Vangelis - chapter 7


Vangelis at his legendary sound laboratory Nemo Studios. The studio provided a haven to write inspired music. If an idea sprung to mind the studio was always ready for him, and he could start recording creative ideas right away.

In June 1984, Vangelis composed the music for the film adaptation of Mutiny on the Bounty, directed by Roger Donaldson, starring actors Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson. This was a historically accurate film of the mutiny on the infamous HMS Bounty. The story was told in a sequence of flashbacks, as Captain Bligh recalled his ordeal at the court martial. The musical score demonstrates Vangelis’ growing confidence for writing a contemporary soundtrack for a period film. The music featured intense symphonic orchestrations, intimately reflecting the ship’s turbulent voyage and the building tension between the ship's crew and officers.

Soil Festivities

The success of Vangelis’ music in the film industry did not deter him from continuing his own personal discoveries into the exploration of music. His next venture was about the cycle of life and Mother Nature. This was his first solo album in three years, entitled ‘Soil Festivities’, which was released in September 1984. The music expresses the interaction between nature and its microscopic living creatures. The music Vangelis created perfectly captured nature’s sudden and dramatic changes. The album received praise among music aficionados, who thought it was a masterpiece, even though it is arguably among the least accessible works in Vangelis’ repertoire.

Sauvage et Beau

Vangelis continued his collaboration with film-maker Frédéric Rossif, and in December 1984, he wrote the musical score for the wildlife film Sauvage et Beau. The music exudes playfulness, bringing a certain charm to Rossif’s animals, which were filmed in their natural habitats. The film went on general release in cinemas across Europe.

Invisible Connections

In February 1985, the follow-up to ‘Soil Festivities’ was a release called ‘Invisible Connections’. While ‘Soil Festivities’ focused on nature at a microscopic level, ‘Invisible Connections’ suggested delving deeper, exploring the world of elementary particles. It drew attention to a world invisible to the naked eye, a world devoid of human emotions, where the passage of time is indiscernible.

Soil Festivities

A month later, Vangelis released the album entitled ‘Mask’, where his musical exploration ascended from the elementary to a world more familiar to mankind. The album delved into the theme of the mask, an obsolete artefact which was used in ancient times for concealment or amusement. This intrinsic album still has relevance in today’s society, with regard to human emotion and the mask we all hide behind. The music, which featured the English Chamber Choir, oozed with glorious contemplative moments enhanced with sublime vocal arrangements.

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