Vangelis - chapter 11

Blade Runner

In July 1994, the eagerly awaited soundtrack to Blade Runner was made available to the general public for the first time. It coincided with the re-release of the film. Vangelis included tracks that were originally recorded for the film but were previously omitted. This was a lovingly assembled album which befitted the storyline and highlighted the key moments in this iconic movie.

Throughout his illustrious career, Vangelis avoided actively promoting his music. He gave very few interviews and limited his personal appearances in the media. Vangelis believed his music should be accepted on its own merit and did not warrant mass media exposure.

Sometimes, however, unintended promotion comes from the least expected sources. In 1995, Vangelis experienced one of his most extraordinary commercial success stories, when a German boxer used ‘1492: Conquest of Paradise’ as a personal intro. The music excited the audience, and soon its popularity spread to the radio, prompting its regular airplay. This resulted in Vangelis’ music reaching the masses across Europe. The theme was eventually issued as a single in Europe, and it became a resounding success. In Germany, it was the biggest selling single in chart history. It was the same story for the album, which eventually attained certified gold and platinum discs in over 20 countries. ‘Conquest of Paradise’ has since been established as one of the most recognisable modern instrumentals, often overshadowing Vangelis’ other well-known music.


In late 1995, Vangelis released the poignant composition ‘Voices’, which, for the first time, added a human voice to his music. The album featured sensual songs filled with breathtaking nocturnal orchestrations, from which two singles were released. These included the captivating title track ‘Voices’ and mysterious ‘Ask the Mountains’. The latter also contained a rare song called ‘Slow Piece’.

A few months later, in 1996, Vangelis was asked to write for Greek director Iannis Smaragdis, for his film Kavavis. This was a portrait of the life of the modern Greek poet Constantine P Cavafy. The story was depicted in the form of a dream told from Cavafy’s deathbed. It used little dialogue, relying mainly on a recitation of Cavafy’s poetry and Vangelis’ musical mastery to drive its narrative. The movie was exhibited at a number of distinguished film festivals, and Vangelis received two honouree awards for the score.


The follow-up to ‘Voices’ was entitled ‘Oceanic’. This was inspired by Vangelis’ love of the earth's beautiful oceans. The album, released in October 1996, explores the mystery of underwater worlds and portrays a dream of sailing to distant harbours. ‘Oceanic’ demonstrated Vangelis’ symphonic work at his best. It allowed the listener to take on a personal voyage of discovery into the magical world of poetry, music and the earth’s natural treasures.

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