Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, nicknamed “Vangelis” had signed the original tapes of “Blade Runner”, “1492: Christopher Columbus” or even “Chariots of Fire” for which he had received an Oscar. The Greek composer died on Tuesday at the age of 79.
For ordinary mortals, he is the author of an Olympic theme, which goes without saying for a Greek citizen. An ostinato is produced by a sequencer, enhanced by two synthesizer notes as if to announce a sunrise over the ocean. A stunning drum machine effect, triplets used as a melodic motif, precedes the piano exposition of a Rubenesque theme, before an even more lyrical chorus. The image of British athletes, all dressed in white, who are preparing for the 1924 games in Paris, by running along a beach, comes to mind. And the plot of Chariots of Fire plot(1981), a film by Hugh Hudson which won four Oscars, one necessarily going to the author of the music: Vangelis. The soundtrack rose to the top of the American charts with sales reaching one million copies.
This instrumental with international repercussions should be programmed as a priority to salute the disappearance of the Greek composer, who died on Tuesday, May 17 in a French hospital, at the age of 79. Because after the release of the film, this Title which will be renamed Chariots of Fire continued its sporting career thanks to its repeated use, by the organizers as well as by television, during successive editions of the Olympic Games. Which could hide the rest of the work that made Vangelis, alongside Wendy Carlos and Giorgio Moroder, a master of synthetic music in cinema. More cult among soundtrack fans is indeed his score composed in the wake of Blade Runner (1982) , by Ridley Scott, a perfect symbiosis of epic grandeur and harrowing climates.