Vangelis – Live in Rotterdam – June 18, 1991 – Live and Loud.com –
Editors Note: I originally ran this concert two years ago, but with the sad news of the death of Vangelis it’s only fitting I run this as a tribute again today. His influence and artistry cannot be over-emphasized – his contribution cannot be underestimated. RIP – you were wonderful. G.S.
Vangelis in concert tonight. Recorded in Rotterdam on June 18, 1991 – resurrected and spiffed-up by Flip Martian at Live and Loud.com.
The music of Vangelis has a reasonably long history with me. Being familiar with his early involvement in the band Aphrodite’s Child and later finding out Vangelis was pursuing a solo career after the band split, I became a fan right after his second album (Earth) came out. I always thought his music had an intense visual component to it – I always thought it would lend itself nicely to films. However, he wasn’t known at all in the U.S. and only vaguely known in Europe where he was gathering a following among Prog and Experimental enthusiasts and other musicians who saw a more lyrical approach to his music, rather than his German contemporaries who were taking the more Techno road. I always thought his milestone work was L’Apocalypse des animaux, his soundtrack to the Frederic Rossif documentary for French TV.
It was when I became Music Director of the PBS/BBC Series Cosmos, with Carl Sagan in 1980 that the opportunity to potentially expose a larger, more mainstream audience to the music of Vangelis seemed possible. At first, it wasn’t enthusiastically received – Sagan was keen on using Bulgarian Choir music as the opening theme – and even though I was also a fan of those amazing Bulgarian Women’s Choirs, using the opening theme from Heaven and Hell just lent itself more visually to the overall concept of the show. The show’s producers also wanted to use a lot of music originally included in the Voyager space probe. But I saw it as an opportunity to expose the audience to music that was unfamiliar, but fitting to the vibe of the show.
Needless to say, the Vangelis theme won out and became the lynchpin to the series, where Heaven and Hell signaled the start of each episode, week after week.
I was thinking about all that as I was listening to this concert – being reminded just what a powerful force Vangelis was in Progressive music in the 70s and early 80s. Shortly after Cosmos he landed Chariots Of Fire. And from there he went on to compose music for numerous films and become a household name practically everywhere – but this period always holds a soft spot.
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