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This update: June 23, 2010

End of the World and It's Five O'Clock reviewed

 
 
 

This Monday, Esoteric Recordings' remastered CD issues of "End of the World" and "It's Five O'Clock" will become available in the UK, marking the first time these albums are released in the United Kingdom and other big European markets.

Esoteric is known for carefully re-issuing classic rock albums, in remastered fidelity, with bonus tracks and booklets with pictures and extensive liner notes. The Aphrodite's Child CDs come with a sticker proclaiming "An Esoteric Recordings Definitive Remastered Edition". This leaves the question... What do these new CDs sound like? ... The difference is instantly noticeable.

Remastered CDs traditionally aim to improve on subtle problems in sound quality by going back to the original analog masters and redoing the transfer to digital with state of the art technology and more experienced insights, applying mastering tricks (equalizing, dynamics processing, etc.) more suitable for the modern media. However, in an effort to score results, some labels started to actually improve on the existing masters' sound quality, reducing noise, correcting distortions, etc. This boils down to a dilemma: Authenticity versus modern fidelity.

Esoteric clearly went for the "improvement" option. With very interesting results. The music sounds clearer than ever before. Background noise is almost gone, and the hazy, muddled spectrum is replaced by a clear and punchy sound. You can more precisely hear instruments that were hard to point out in the wall of sound before. It's not the mix was altered or any of the reverb effects were affected, in fact I'm quite convinced this was indeed sourced from the completely mixed master tape. But the mastering technique and processing Esoteric applied did bring out "new" high tones, with clarity and punch, which makes listening to these recordings a new experience. The music sounds fresher and can easily compete with music recorded 10 years later, fidelity wise.

There is of course a downside to this type of mastering. Some will complain that this is simply not how the Aphrodite's Child albums sounded. The muddled sound may be part of their charm or nostalgia and may just have been quite a concious choice by Vangelis. Another side effect of these changes is that the pumped up high tones can sometimes sound a bit overdone, or from time to time even a bit metalic, although never as much as one might imagine reading this. The bottom line is that it depends on your taste if this sort of enhancing is acceptable. But if improved recordings from the 60s are within your interest, it's unlikely you will ever hear them done better than this.

Both CDs come with 16 page full colour booklets with extensive, well researched liner notes by Mark Powell. You may have seen most or all of the band photographs on the internet before, it's nice to see scans of exotic sleeves. It would be a treat to see more Vangelis albums receive such treatment.

All in all, both Aphrodite's Child CDs are both highly recommended for any collector or Aphrodite's Child fan, both for the fresh sound and for the well done packaging.

Tracklist - END OF THE WORLD (eclec 2205)

     1. End of the world
     2. Don't try to catch a river
     3. Mister Thomas
     4. Rain and tears
     5. The grass is no green
     6. Valley of sadness
     7. You always stand in my way
     8. The shepherd and the moon
     9. Day of the fool
     
        BONUS TRACKS
    10. Plactics nevermore
    11. The other people

Tracklist - IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK (eclec 2206)

     1. It's Five O'Clock
     2. Wake Up
     3. Take Your Time
     4. Annabella
     5. Let Me Love, Let Me Live
     6. Funky Mary
     7. Good Time So Fine
     8. Marie Jolie
     9. Such a Funny Night
     
        BONUS TRACKS
    10. I Want To Live
    11. Magic Mirror
    
    12. Lontano Dagli Occhi
    13. Quando L'Amore Diventa Poesia
    
    14. Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall
    15. Air
    

This update: June 6, 2010

Aphrodite's Child CDs released in the UK

   

The first two Aphrodite's Child albums have become available on CD in Greece and Japan during the last decade or so, but a proper release in the UK or more international territories has never materialized.

Esoteric Recordings, a UK label specialized in reissuing remastered and sometimes expanded editions of albums from the 70s and 80, is now releasing both albums in the UK on June 28.

Both CDs will have additional bonus tracks, taken from Aphrodite's Child's singles released outside of their albums, but for each of these tracks goes that it's been readily available on various compilation albums. Still, it's a nice way to spice up these albums a bit.

  • End Of The World - Esotoric - eclec2205
  • It's Five O'Clock - Esotoric - eclec2206
 

Sex Power on DVD in France

After having been screened in a cinema, and then coming available for online viewing and a DVD-on-demand, Henry Chapier's Vangelis scored Sex Power movie is now available as a proper DVD release in France. The DVD also includes a short movie called "Un Ete American", also directed by Henry Chapier but with no involvement by Vangelis.

For more information, See for instance:
www.amazon.fr/Sex-Power-Henry-Chapier/dp/B003DKFUO0

Rare recordings on GoldTV web site

Remember the GoldTV web site? See last year's August 9 update (indeed, in times when news comes slowly, that's only one update ago) for more info on Nikos Mastorakis releasing his archives of radio and TV material for online streaming.

In recent times, this site has been expanded with 4 new relevant clips, all involving recordings from the 60s with Vangelis performing music. Log in on GoldTv.gr and search for:

While 8 Forminx files were mentioned here last year, there seems to be a ninth track that lacked a proper credit. It's now more clearly linked to the Forminx. See here: www.goldtv.gr/view_video.php?viewkey=799518692

Note: In order to listen to follow these links, one has to first go to the GoldTv.gr website and log in. Before being able to log in, one has to register with a valid email address. Sadly, leaving your email address is required and this will be used for a steady stream of Greek language emails, so consider carefully if that is worth it.

Special thanks to Zyser for the heads up and lots of additional information.


This update: August 9, 2009

Unreleased Forminx tracks on www.goldtv.gr

"The Forminx" was the Greek band Vangelis was a founding member of in his younger years as a student in Athens. Greek television presenter Nikos Mastorakis was involved with them, by writing lyrics and composing a few songs. He now has a web site sharing archival footage with the public, available for online viewing as streaming movies.

Among the material presented on his site are 8 unreleased tracks that the Forminx recorded for a never released movie called "Troubles". Listening to the music is free of charge, but a user registration on this website is required.

Browse to www.goldtv.gr and use "Forminx" as search term, or go directly to:
www.goldtv.gr/search_result.php?search_id=forminx&search_type=search_videos.

An automatic translator can help decipher the Greek language. For instance, use Google's translation services with a link like this one:
translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&sl=el&tl=en&u=http://www.goldtv.gr/

When registering, the fields are as follows: Email, name, surname, age, occupation, user name, password, the password again (for verification), then type the 5 characters you find in the image.

Special thanks to Zyser for his detailed information.

"El Greco" movie DVD in Spain

 

Spain now sees the release of the Vangelis scored "El Greco" movie on DVD. One may acquire it from these or any other Spanish DVD stores:

For our DVD collectors: Note that since earlier this year, "Testimony", the documentary about pope John Paul II with titles music by Vangelis, has been available for online ordering, albeit only from within the United States or Canada. When asked about international ordering the people behind the site promised the movie would see a quick international release on DVD, but so far, this has yet to happen. Until then at least those in the Northern Americas may be interested to hear Vangelis' powerful music within the scope of the movie, presented in the English language.

Thanks to Fernando Hoya for the "El Greco" information.


This update: July 7, 2009

"ina.fr" video archive site update

 

ina.fr is an amazing French initiative that has been digitizing and storing huge archives of old French television broadcasts. Vangelis enthusiasts may remember them because of their Discorama DVD release, as well as their site selling the Vangelis scored "Sex Power" (1970) movie for online viewing.

Now, this site is again worthy of our attention, for two very good reasons:

First of all, somewhere in the last week, their archive has been expanded with a wealth of added archive material from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Some of the footage they have included helps unearth a large number of rarely seen or long lost Vangelis scored broadcasts. Note for instance, the following gems that have been added to their database:

Some of the smaller material can be viewed for free. The larger programs, including Cousteau's Rio Earth Summit movie can be previewed for free, but need a purchase by credit card to be able to watch the entire show.

The second reason to check ina.fr again is the fact that it now offers a service where the purchased clips can be ordered (legally!) on a custom made DVD-R. According to their website, they burn a DVD-R that can be played on any DVD player. Whether the quality will be better than online viewing remains to be seen, but no doubt many of us will prefer a version on DVD in either case, if only for convenience or for longevity, in case one day ina.fr's web policies change.

No doubt more material, beyond the listed links and the obvious search on "Vangelis" on this site will be of interest to us. More research in these archives is much needed. Please feel free to e-mail links to anything you find to elsew.com@gmail.com. Anything of real interest will be presented in upcoming news updates on this site. Thanks in advance for your input.

Thanks to my anonymous source, as well as Robert Eichelsheim for their input and initial research.


This update: December 12, 2008

Ordering the "Swiadectwo" soundtrack

With everyone eager to buy the "Swiadectwo" soundtrack CD, many have researched posibilities to best order this from outside Poland. The shop listed in the previous update limits its orders to the Polish territory exclusively. For some reason not all Polish web stores have this album in their selection.

Currently the most popular web store to order the soundtrack CD as well as the movie on DVD (note that this version comes spoken in the Polish language, without subtitles) is called Merlin.pl. It's one of the first to offer the CD and it has a handy buyers guide in English that explains how to use the site when you can't read Polish. See the options near the right bottom of the screen for this.

This shop also has a few sound sample excerpts for a Lo-Fi first impression of the music.

For the record, this is not the album's official store that is expected. Also, ordering anywhere remains your own risk, the Elsewhere Vangelis site is not related to any of the sites linked to.

Thanks to everyone who e-mailed about this and other stores.


This update: December 10, 2008 [Edited December 12]

"Swiadectwo" soundtrack review

It's a very pleasant surprise to see Vangelis' most recent work in the world of cinema properly released on a soundtrack CD. Fans of his work have had years and years of training, trying to accept the fact that some of Vangelis' great movie scores (Think of The Bounty, Bitter Moon, Cavafy) remained completely or mostly unreleased on albums. But since Alexander, El Greco, the Trilogy edition of Blade Runner and now also "Swiadectwo" that tide has undeniably turned.

In case anyway missed this: Swiadectwo is a Polish documentary film about Pope John Paul the second, currently still playing in Polish theaters and expected around the world in the near future.

While Vangelis was commissioned to write and record the title music, Polish composer Robert Jansson composed the underscore for the rest of the movie. The combined result has now been released on a soundtrack CD, for the time being only available to the Polish audience.

The album's complete track list:

  Vangelis - Part 1

    1. Sanctus        4:34
    2. Aeternitatem   1:58
    3. Humanum Est    3:08
    
  Robert Jansson - Part 2

    4. Dziecinstwo    7:09
    5. Podroze        4:59
    6. Swiadectwo 1   4:12
    7. Powolanie      4:53
    8. Swiadectwo 2   2:29
    9. Triumf         3:28
   10. Swiadectwo 3   4:03
   11. Nadzieja       4:30
   12. Zlo            1:25
   13. Cierpienie     4:16

The packaging for this edition of the CD is quite special. It's in fact a small hardcover book with 30 pages, after which the CD is safely stored in plastic attached to the back cover. The booklet contains pictures from the film, an interview with Jansson, a bio and picture of Vangelis, etc...

 

Some may have already heard the gentle reflective (and "Alexander" reminiscent) tones of "Sanctus", as radio stations in Poland have on occasion broadcast a promotional edit of this track. In the full piece on this CD however the piano, strings and choirs build to a bigger climax with bells and church organ. Although relatively simple, this graceful composition, performed in Vangelis' delicate fashion that seems to come straight from the heart, just keeps getting better and better, every time you listen to it.

Not many will be able to see "Aeternitatem" coming. Although still very "Vangelis", this is unlike any music you've heard before. A very full, fast and dynamic sound, at once both serene and energetic, both dark and bright... It has echoes from 1940s or 1950s movie music, while sounding festive, celebratory. Although "orchestral" in sound, it's performed by Vangelis on his synthesizers with joyful energy. Such a pleasure to witness!

"Humanum Est" returns to the gentle, calm sound, sad at its core but with a hidden sense of optimism. Composed in the same fashion as the gentler pieces on the recent "El Greco" soundtrack album, but because it's longer this may in fact be a bit easier to sit back to and enjoy. It forms a beautiful end to what can easily be seen as a perfect mini album.

After that, the CD switches to the part composed by Robert Jansson. A very different story indeed. Jansson wrote a light, more restrained score, music that should live in the background not detracting from the actual film. It's quite well done and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. But if you've just spend 10 minutes being sucked into Vangelis' world, moulding the mood, setting and your emotions, getting under your skin and touching all the subtle buttons, Jansson's light and generic orchestral flavors can only be an abrupt interruption of the illusion. It's another world entirely. Perhaps it's better to listen them separately, on another occasion and see what you think then. Because otherwise, this music will fall very flat indeed.

Remember, this album is currently only available in Poland. It may still see an international release at a later date. An official web store especially for this album is expected, but not yet operational at the moment. There are Polish retail web stores carrying it, but no guarantees on how reliable or how fast they are. Relevant pages for one online retailer who lists both the soundtrack CD and the DVD can be found here:

[Note: Ordering (in the Polish language, for the Polish territory only) here or anywhere else at your own risk...]


This update: November 26, 2008

Discorama interview details

Some details about the recent "Discorama" DVD release in France:

Vangelis' item lasts about 3 and a half minutes. He plays a very melodic tune on his keyboards (with some percussion too), for about a minute, followed by a short conversation where he demonstrates also some percussion. It was recorded with multiple cameras in black-and-white. The audio quality, especially at the beginning is very good for an item dating back to 1972.

A few screen shots...

Cosmos DVD set in Holland

Fans of Carl Sagan's legendary "Cosmos" series may be interested to hear that it has now also been released on a DVD set in Holland.

This version of the series should basically be the same as the famous American DVD box set, originally released near the end of the year 2000. This means that some (but not all) the music Vangelis wrote for the 1986 Halley's Comet edition of the series is included. This music cannot be heard anywhere else. Only one theme was released on CD, on the now rare Cosmos 2CD soundtrack, also from late 2000.

This new Dutch DVD set comes with some additional "extra" features.

Here's the producer's press release page:
www.brightvisionentertainment...

Thanks to Kees Wolvers for the tip.

 

This update: November 16, 2008

1972 Vangelis interview released in DVD box set "Discorama - L'Anthologie"

 

"Discorama - L'Anthologie" is a DVD set, released on the French market since November 6 this year. It's a collection of footage from a now legendary series of TV interviews by Denise Glaser, broadcast over many years in the 60s and 70s by public TV station TF1.

Disk 2 of this set contains an item on Vangelis. The chapter called "recherches en Tabacologie" reportedly shows Vangelis playing his keyboards for about two minutes, followed by an interview. The item was originally broadcast on June 4, 1972. On this DVD it is filed under "les Genies" (The geniuses), along with Salvador Dali and Iannis Xenakis.

The DVD set (French language, DVD Region 2, PAL TV system) can be ordered from any of the big French internet retailers, for instance:

Expect some more details and screenshots here, later this week...

Special thanks to Mourad Gamha for the tip!

"El Greco" in Spain

The Vangelis scored "El Greco" film will finally see its major release in Spanish cinemas this Friday. The film was co produced with Spain, as much of the story was set in Toledo and some of the main actors being Spanish.

A gala premiere took place on November 4, visited by Spanish Queen Sofia, who commented she would want to see it even a third time.

The movie is being advertised on television with parts of Vangelis' score in the background.


This update: October 28, 2008

"Wii Music" game uses "Chariots of Fire"

   

The game "Wii Music" for the Nintendo Wii game console has "Chariots of Fire" in a list of compositions that the player can "perform".

The Nintendo Wii is a game console that is not controlled by the usual gamepad or joystick controls, but instead is mostly played by actually motioning a controller in the air, which detects its movements and thus allows to intuitively influence the game. Nintendo is now using this for their new release "Wii Music", where those motions influence the performance of pre-programmed musical compositions, by a band of six on-screen characters. Vangelis' "Chariots of Fire" is one composition in the list of pieces. The user can influence its performance by messing with settings (instruments, stage, etc.) and while the music performance, by pressing buttons and gesturing movements. Or, in an alternative mode, by conducting the piece, swinging the control to indicate its tempo.

Wii Music has been released in the USA and Japan, but will roll out in Europe in the following weeks.


This update: October 23, 2008

Greek magazine "Ti.Vo" comes with poster

Greek fans may be interested in checking the stalls for the current edition of Greek TV guide "Ti.Vo", as it comes with a fold-out Vangelis poster, roughly in A3 size, printed in color. That's something you don't see every day.

It also comes packed with a CD (which includes Forminx track "Until the End") and reprints of three copies of the famous 60s magazine "Modernoi Rythmoi" (all in the Greek language, obviously), which used to write a lot about Vangelis and the Forminx.

The next issue is expected probably by Friday, so hurry if you still want to obtain this poster.

Special thanks to Octavian Buda for the info.


This update: October 17, 2008

"Testimony" commercial with Vangelis' music

The Polish television commercial for "Swiadectwo" (aka Testimony) uses Vangelis' music:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4Y7BL7kjb0

Thanks to Samuel Gomez for his post on the Direct mailing list (The Vangelis Yahoo group).


This update: 23:00, October 16, 2008

"Testimony", first reactions...

Enthusiastic reports from Rome, by guests of the "Testimony" premiere, both for the impressive scale of how this movie was launched as well as for the movie itself.

One guest was "touched" by the story - and do be sure this comes from a modern, worldly, non religious viewpoint - for the human interest perspective. Not only the footage of the international work done, but also at a smaller scale, some more personal moments, amusing and even humorous at points.

Vangelis' music, both for the opening and closing titles part of the movie accompanied scenes from the funeral of Pope John Paul the 2nd, the focus of this documentary. Both of Vangelis' compositions are described as - each in different ways - conveying a certain sadness, a sense of loss yet at the same time feeling uplifting, a promise of hope and continuation. As some describe, these pieces are not a big departure for Vangelis: He does here what he does so very well and it seems to be exactly what the movie needed.

The premiere screening took place in a hall that was almost completely filled. This means somewhere around 6000 people watched as the film was projected and Pope Benedict XVI followed it with a speech. Among the audience were high profile people from Poland, Italy and the Vatican, with legends like Lech Walesa attending. Some of whom joined the reception held afterwards at a nearby palace, opened up for the occasion, to go on for most of the evening.

Thanks again for the input from Italy on this topic.


This update: 19:00, October 16, 2008

"Testimony" premiere

"Testimony", also known as "Swiadectwo" in country of origin Poland, will be premiering early this evening at the Vatican.

The movie will screen at the Pope Paul VI Auditorium, right next to the St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. The hall can accommodate approximately 7000 people, and indeed several thousand invited guests will enjoy the premiere in attendance of the current pope, Pope Benedict XVI.

The date of the premiere coincides with the 30th anniversary of the movie's protagonist's election as pope, and ceremonies around the premiere will be celebrated in that light.

Hopefully, you can read some more info about Vangelis' music here, later today, after the premiere ends.

After that, it seems that the movie should play in Polish cinemas very soon, at 130 different theaters throughout the country. Other countries expected to follow, with the movie being translated into all the major European languages.

Special thanks to my source attending the events.


This update: October 15, 2008

"Swiadectwo" press conference

Tomorrow's premiere of "Swiadectwo" will be preceded by a press conference today, also at the Vatican in Rome, with some of the principle forces behind the movie appearing, such as narrator Michael York, producer Przemyslaw Häuser, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz and Federico Lombardi, press secretary to the Vatican.

Two different movie poster designs are seen around the location, each clearly crediting Vangelis for his music, as well as the movie's other composer Robert Janson and narrator Michael York.

Expect new details here, as they become available. It seems the press conference is actually delayed a bit, because large groups of people are still being flown in from Poland today.

Special thanks to my source attending the events.


This update: October 13, 2008

"Swiadectwo" premiere approaching

This Thursday October 16, the documentary "Testimony" (or "Swiedectwo" in Polish, where the film was produced) will premiere at the Vatican in Rome. Expect to read here some first impressions from a source who will have the honor to attend this event.

As far as Vangelis' music goes, last Friday Polish radio station "Zlote przeboje" quite unexpectedly broadcast a part of Vangelis' end titles music. An incomplete, low quality, audio file is now circulating the internet.

The movie should be released theatrically in various countries in the coming months. A DVD release of the movie is expected to appear next year, with the month of February being mentioned for Poland.

The movie's official site is now also available in:

The new trailer again does not feature Vangelis' music.

For the record, the Vangelis scored "El Greco" movie should play in Spanish cinemas finally on November 21.


This update: September 15, 2008

"Swiadectwo" film poster and link

October 16's official premiere of "Swiadectwo" at the Vatican is drawing nearer. In the mean time, the film's official web site is expanding. It now shows the film poster, with Vangelis' credit (for the opening and closing titles music).
www.swiadectwofilm.pl/Swiadectwo/0,0.html.

Another page on the site lists a short bio on Vangelis (in Polish), together with a rarely seen recent photograph:
www.swiadectwofilm.pl/Swia...Vangelis.html.

Thanks to Giuseppe for his input!

 

This update: August 3, 2008

Music for "Swiadectwo"

As it turns out, it really looks like the reports in the Polish press were true. (See the June 16 update) Vangelis has composed music for "Swiadectwo", a new documentary about the life of the late pope John Paul the 2nd.

While a Polish composer is working on the underscore, Vangelis has been commissioned to write the music for the Opening and Closing titles of the movie. Sources are talking about two pieces with a combined duration of approximately 10 minutes.

The official premiere should take place on October 16, while screenings of the movie may take place around that time in other places in the world. More details when they become available.

For the record: Note that the trailers for this movie that are currently online do not include Vangelis' music.


This update: July 13, 2008

WSA public choice voting

The World Soundtrack Awards are taking votes again for this years Public Choice Award. Each year, the public is invited to vote for their favorite movie scores by submitting their choice on the WSA's internet site. Voting is open to everyone with an email address.

In 2005, this price was awarded to Vangelis for his score for "Alexander". This year, the award will be presented as part of the "8th annual World Soundtrack Awards" ceremony (Ghent, October 18 2008), the closing event of the Ghent Film Festival.

All films released within a 12 month window are automatically nominated. This does include Vangelis' score for El Greco, which can be seen listed on the site:
www.worldsoundtrackawards.com/awards.cgi?go=search&find=&type=list&from=800&show=100&sort=&ref=.

Votes will be accepted until September 15, 2008.

El Greco on the big screen

More chances to see El Greco on the big screen are coming up.

First off, the Toronto Film Festival (running from September 4 to September 13) has selected El Greco as part of its Contemporary World Cinema selection. (see for example www.moviehole.net/2008/07/10/toronto-film-festival-additions/).

Other opportunities to see the film will include a screening at a film festival at the European Parliament in Brussels (December 9), screenings in New York (October, most likely) and the still impending national theatrical releases in Hungary and Spain, probably by the end of November. More details will follow.


This update: June 30, 2008

Sex Power for sale as streaming video

[Note on June 31: Corrected downloading to streaming]

INA - a French institute that specializes in archiving French cinema and television material - has just released the recently digitally restored "Sex Power" movie (see the June 21 update), as streaming video on their site. After a credit card payment of €6, a DivX file can be streamed and viewed on the PC (or DivX stream capable device).

Note that to be able to play this movie a recent DivX player needs to be installed on your computer, one that can handle TIX files and DRM (Digital Rights Management) functionality involved with this purchase.

Visit: www.ina.fr/archivespourtous/index.php?vue=notice&id_notice=VDD08000001

Sex Power is a 1970 movie with an original score by Vangelis, now mostly remembered because of its soundtrack LP, having become a true collectors rarity.


This update: June 21, 2008

Report on Sex Power screening.

Reports are coming in on yesterday's special "Sex Power" screening in Nice. A festival included Henri Chapier's "Sex Power" movie, a now almost unseeable French production that Vangelis composed the score for in the early days of the 1970s.

The movie is being described as complicated and abstract. With the narrative jumping back and forth in time, and things happening that often make no rational sense, the story itself is much open for interpretation. As for the title, don't let it fool you, only scarce nudity can be seen, the film is not as erotic as some have speculated.

As it turned out, this score precursored most of Vangelis' other scores, in that the music in the movie differs from the album. Indeed, most of the themes can be found in both, but for most of them goes that the album contains different takes, while there are also pieces in the movie completely unreleased on the album, and bits on the album that do not appear in the movie. Much like Vangelis' later releases of scores like Chariots of Fire, Blade Runner, 1492 and Alexander.

Interestingly, the print that was screened yesterday had been digitally restored, which caused for interesting speculation among members of the audience. And indeed, Chapier later that evening confirmed: There are plans to re-release this movie in some as yet to be determined form. There could for instance be a DVD release at some point, although things still need to be worked out, and could take months or years before anything materializes.

Special thanks to Robert, Sweder and Sufian.


This update: June 17, 2008

Heritage Orchestra's Blade Runner performance.

Tonight London's famous Royal Festival Hall hosted the "Heritage Orchestra"'s performance of Vangelis' score for "Blade Runner", mixed by Massive Attack.

Thanks to some reports from audience members, we can now get a better idea what this was all about. Contrary to what many people expected, the music performed was not a beefed up, remixed, modernized version of the music. Instead, it seems the goal was to stay as close to Vangelis' original music as possible.

Even in terms of structure the performance respected Vangelis' own dealing with the material, as the music they played quite closely followed the 1994 CD (Disk 1 from the Blade Runner Trilogy release), starting out the same way, following the same segues... It included even the "new" tracks like "Rachel's Song" and "Damask Rose". One track most notably added was the one known from Trilogy's CD2 as "Dr. Tyrell's Death".

According to reports, the orchestra carefully imitated Vangelis' sound as closely as they could, at least trying to get every little note just right. Sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn't. Most of the parts were performed with acoustic instruments, to surprisingly great effect; Some of the score's synth leads played on keyboards, not quite encompassing the intended Vangelis' sound. Massive Attack's input must have been very minimal. But overall a very respectful and certainly enjoyable recreation of the score.

On one hand this faithfulness gave bare its short comings, when they simply couldn't quite reach the levels or nuances of Vangelis' studio work. But on the other hand, whenever they really did manage to nail it, the crowd adored it, with performances of Rachel's Song (including live vocals), Memories of Green (including phasered piano sound and little bleeps and blobs) and the End Titles being mentioned as the biggest crowd pleasers. After the End titles, the enthusiastic applause for a while prevented the orchestra to continue into the "Tears in Rain" track, which they had to try and pick up after the audience allowed them to.

To show Vangelis' apparent blessing to the event, the time before the concert started - as the audience entered the hall - was accompanied by images being projected on a screen, showing unique and never before seen footage of Vangelis in action at Nemo Studios, back in 1982, actually working on the Blade Runner score. This was inter cut with scenes from the movie, all of it accompanied by live sound effects generated on stage.

Judging from the reactions so far, it's certainly a pity that details on this event came out so late and tickets sold out instantly, so that only a small section of the score's hard core fans managed to secure access to this performance. As it turns out, those who did were the lucky ones!

Thanks to my sources for their kind reports!


This update: June 16, 2008

Rumors about documentary music.

A number of news paper publications in Poland have been reporting on an as yet unsubstantiated rumor claiming that Vangelis would be commissioned to compose (some of?) the music for a documentary called "Swiadectwo".

According to these articles, the film about late pope John Paul the 2nd will be intended both for the cinema and in an extended version for broadcast as a short series on TV. The cinema version is expected to premier in October this year.

But all this info is premature; we will have to wait and see if the news papers are correct. More later...

Thanks to Samuel Gomez and Pawel Piotrowicz for their input.

More awards...

The "4th Annual Athens Hellenic Heritage Achievement & National Public Service Awards Dinner" was held at the Grande Bretagne hotel in honor of both Vangelis and Kitty Kyriacopoulos, with hundreds of guests witnessing Vangelis being honored by the American Hellenic Institute, in the presence of several ministers as well as the American Ambassador to Greece.

Vangelis was also presented with the "The Golden Lyre of Apollo" award which had been officially bestowed upon him on an earlier occasion.


This update: June 12, 2008

Unique opportunity to see the "Sex Power" movie.

 

-> Nice, France, Friday June 20 2008, 16:30

In 1970 French journalist and film maker Henry Chapier directed an experimental movie called "Sex Power". He commissioned Vangelis to write the music, resulting in the first non Greek movie with an original Vangelis score. A soundtrack album was released on the French market (in small quantities) thus "Sex Power" became Vangelis' first solo LP.

The movie however, by no means a mainstream effort, was quickly forgotten and we can safely conclude that it is now only remembered as the "mysterious" source for Vangelis' ultra rare and collectable LP.

With no sign of the movie ever airing on TV, never released on VHS, DVD or any of the home cinema formats of the past years, it is in fact quite impossible to find people who've actually seen this film. Hence, any details we know are sketchy and were derived from old press statements or preserved articles from the time of its release.

That's why it is so unique that there will finally be a chance to see this movie. On Friday June 12, barely a week from now, the "Cinémathèque de Nice" Acropolis cinema in Nice, France for one single time will show the movie on the big screen, as part of a Henry Chapier theme night. The film will start around 16:30. There is a minimum age of 18 years for entrance.

The hall has 252 seats. Reservations are not generally possible, but the operators don't expect a lot of people at all. On the same day however, director Henry Chapier will make an appearance at the same venue. There will be the "Soirée Claudia Cardinale", a recording of a Henry Chapier television interview with Claudia Cardinale, which will in fact be attended by both Cardinale and Henry Chapier themselves. This event, taking place in the evening of the same day, June 20 2008, is expected to draw crowds and may be hard to attend.

More information:
www.cinematheque-nice.com/programme/index.php?date_debut=2008-06-20&date_fin=2008-06-20

Special thanks to Robert Eichelsheim for the tip and input on this item.


This update: June 6, 2008

About "Paris, May 1968"...

 

It's time to evaluate the Ta Nea premium CD containing Vangelis' "Paris, May 1968", previously known as "Fais Que Ton Reve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit".

Judging by the sound, the audio has been sourced from an LP. For most tracks it's not that bad at all, but usually at least some distortion in the high tones, crackle and other noises give away the nature of the source.

For the CD release, the two sides of the LP have been faded into each other, so that instead of 2 separate soundscapes of segueing parts, there is now one large soundscape of segueing parts, split into 10 seamless tracks. No list of names is available for the tracks.

One confusing aspect is that while the disk was manufactured as a pressed CD, some papers have turned up with the album burned as a CD-Recordable. Although it's not clear how these came into circulation, theories suggest that these may be copies returned unsold from newsstands, that went back into circulation. If some newsstands returned fake copies hoping to resale the originals on ebay, these fake returns may have actually shipped out internationally. Needless to say, the CD-Rs look of lesser quality and may appeal less to collectors, but sound exactly the same. Should your copy be a CD-Recordable, it could be a good idea to contact the shop or individual you bought it from. The pressed CDs (which are correct, original) can be distinguished as being more silver on the back, subtly quoting the text "FABEL SOUND 2008 NEO PAPATHANASIOU" (incl. incorrect spelling) near the hole, where the (possibly fake?) burned CD-R instead has some random numbers.


This update: May 31, 2008

Ta Nea article

Today's update just to confirm that the Ta Nea newspaper is in Greek shops today, available with "Paris, May 1968", the CD edition of Vangelis' "Fais Que Ton Reve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit".

The CD is packaged in a jewel case, with a front sleeve and back inlay, appropriately minimalistic for a newspaper premium. Furthermore, the art section of this paper comes with a small interview article, spanning parts of two pages.

 


This update: May 29, 2008

Obtaining the "Paris May 1968" CD

As many have noticed, it is extremely difficult (if at all possible) to order Greek news papers online, even more so when looking for the optional bonus goodies like this "Paris, May 1968" CD.

Luckily, Greek Music Shop (www.greekmusicshop.gr) makes an exception this time and will include this edition of the paper in their stock temporarily, because of its musical nature. The offer will probably be limited, since the newspaper is available only for one day.

As usual, they allow ordering from abroad, and when needed their web site interface can be switched to the English language in the right top of the page.

"Paris May 1968" is Vangelis' 1972 album "Fais Que Ton Reve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit", now finally available on CD, but, at least at this point in time, only in Greece for one day as part of the Saturday edition of the "Ta Nea" news paper. See the May 28 update.

For the record, this site has no affiliation with this or any other shop. Any purchase will be purely between you and the retailer you deal with.


This update: May 28, 2008

Special Greek CD release of "Fais Que Ton Reve...."

Ta Nea, one of Greece's most important national newspapers today advertises this Saturday's edition. On Saturdays this paper can be bought (for 2 Euro extra) as a version with a bonus CD included. The Saturday May 31 2008 edition will come with a CD called "Paris May 1968". This is in fact a CD edition of one of Vangelis' most loved early solo albums, "Fais Que Ton Reve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit".

The album, sometimes referred to as Vangelis' "Poeme Symphonique", has never before been released on CD. The original LP first saw the light of day in France in 1972 in quite a luxurious gatefold sleeve, now an expensive rarity for collectors, later re-released in Greece as well as some other European countries as simpler editions, always only on vinyl, long before CDs were invented or sold.

This work being a concept album in every positive sense of the word, Vangelis took his inspiration from the famous student protests in Paris, those days back in May 1968. In an almost visual sense of the word, the listener catches a glimpse of the mood, the setting, the emotions and the atmosphere of that place and moment in time, as Vangelis may have experienced it wandering through Paris during the events. The music is intermixed with sound scapes, news excerpts, songs and other related recordings, resulting in what feels like a very real sense of witnessing something quite remarkable and important, in its own way.

It's easy to conclude that this release is due to those events taking place exactly 40 years ago, this month.

More details on this release later....


This update: May 7, 2008

 

Vangelis to be Honorary Doctor / Professor Emeritus

The board of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens has unanimously decided to grant Vangelis the title of Honorary Doctor, inviting him to become Professor Emeritus at their Faculty of Primary Education.

Vangelis will be welcomed into the University's Community because of his "exceptional contribution to the overall education of the Greek people and to the international promotion of Hellenism".

A proclamation ceremony will take place next week in the beautiful ceremony hall of one of the university's most prestigious buildings.

 


This update: April 25, 2008

 

El greco DVD details

A few additional details about the "El Greco" DVD, recently released on the Greek market:

To correct an earlier misunderstanding: There are no English subtitles on the current Greek release. This should not be too big a problem; The majority of dialogs and all monologs are in English. However, certain scenes between Greek or Spanish actors are spoken in their local languages.

The good news is that it's been released as a 2 disk set, in luxurious packaging. No other editions are available at this point. Disk 1 contains the movie, plus its trailer, while disk 2 contains an assorted set of extra features. A small booklet is included, with photographs from the film, as well as Vangelis and director Smaragdis.

The film's visual quality on the DVD is absolutely perfect. The audio depends on the chosen channel with three options available (all in the same mix of languages).

Disk 2 includes about two and a half hours of footage, excluding the photo galleries:

  • Greek version of the End Titles sequence
  • Photographs of the artists
  • Still pictures from the movie
  • Promotional features and interviews (from various TV channels)
  • Award Ceremony (excerpts related to "El Greco")
  • Footage and TV coverage on the official Premiere in Athens (includes Vangelis arriving)
  • "Making Of" documentary

The "Making Of" documentary is the same as broadcast late last year on Nova TV, but sadly the small segment of Vangelis visiting the set has been cut from this particular version.

This release can be ordered on-line from the following Greek web shops, with the ordering process available in the English language:

Remember that Region2 DVDs in the PAL TV format do not properly playback on equipment in certain countries. See for info:
www.paradiso-design.net/DVD_RegionCodes.html

Live Remix of "Blade Runner" by Massive Attack and The Heritage Orchestra

Southbank Centre in the UK has announced a rather unique upcoming event. Trip Hop pioneers Massive Attack are set to perform a live session, essentially remixing an orchestral live performance of Vangelis' score for "Blade Runner". The "Heritage Orchestra" will perform the score, probably in their loose and almost jazzy, cacaphonic style, while the two members of Massive Attack add their electronics and transform it to the final results.

The event will take place on June 17 in London's famous Royal Festival Hall, as part of the "Southbank Centre's 2008 Meltdown Festival".

Tickets have been selling like crazy from the festival's official site:
www.southbankcentre.co.uk/all-events/meltdown.

With the exception of a few chairs, they have essentially sold out. However, it seems Ticketmaster still has tickets available at:
www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/1F004098C04A4C47?artistid=943151&majorcatid=10002&minorcatid=203

Be sure to realize Vangelis will not be performing: He does not seem to be involved in the event at all. This is essentially a cover / remix concert, which receives massive attention because of the source material's legendary status, as well as the high profile artists set to perform and mix this material. Expect the music to be very different from the original score, both in sound and feeling, but it will be based on Vangelis' original work.


This update: April 13, 2008

New Vangelis interview in Greek newspaper's Sunday edition

   

Greek fans who happen to read this update as early as today (Sunday April 13) would better rush to the news kiosks, as the "ViMagazino" insert of today's edition of national news paper "To Vima" features a large new interview with Vangelis. This is available in news stands throughout Greece, only for today!

Quoting to the magazine's introduction:

One of the most popular Greeks globally, composer Vangelis Papathanassiou remains a big mystery. What are his thoughts, his views about our country, music and politics? What will happen, at last, with his well known house in Dionisou Aeropagitou that is in "the way" of the new Museum of Acropolis? His answers are impressive. Interview by Margarita Sfetsa.

The article spans 7 pages, while Vangelis' portrait is pictured on the cover of the magazine. The article includes several photographs, some have not been seen before.


This update: March 31, 2008

El Greco DVD release in Greece

 

Even before El Greco has opened in theaters outside of Greece, Greco's country of birth will be able to rent as well as buy the DVD release of Smaragdis new film. The Vangelis scored movie will be available in Greek rental shops as of tomorrow, April 1, and for sale reportedly about 10 days later.

The DVD will have subtitles, both in English and Greek, boosting it's appeal for fans throughout the world. [Note afterwards: this was a misunderstanding, there are no English subtitles on the current Greek DVD release.] No word on any extras. Greek TV has previously aired a "Making Of" documentary, briefly showing Vangelis visiting the set, but no word yet on whether this might be included on the disk. More info later. Either way, no doubt fans will want to hear Vangelis' music within the movie it was created on and compare whether really all the music from the movie appeared on the soundtrack release.

It looks like Greekmusicshop.gr, which comes highly recommended by many people who ordered the El Greco soundtrack CD from their site (thanks to everyone for writing their experiences), will stock up properly for fast delivery upon the DVD's release. They now take pre-orders from their product page here:
www.greekmusicshop.gr/eshop/product.php?productid=3344&cat=27&page=1, switch to English in the top right corner.

Another shop that comes highly recommended by many is http://www.musical.gr/, but it does not seem to list the El Greco DVD yet.

Reactions mailed here where less positive however about Studio 52, the third Greek music shop allowing ordering in English that was mentioned here. Many Readers have emailed their complaints about inexplicably late dispatching of orders, often with many weeks of delay as opposed to the very rapid shipments of the other two Greek online stores that took their orders very seriously.


This update: January 11, 2008

The BBC Radio 4 interview

The BBC's week-long archive period for the Vangelis episode of Front Row has expired. By popular request, here's an mp3 recording of both relevant parts, the announcement and actual interview, edited together:
BBC4_FrontRow_VangelisInterview.mp3


This update: January 2, 2008

Vangelis interview on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 has just aired a rare new interview with Vangelis, where he talks to Mark Lawson about creating the scores for Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire, as well as other topics. Vangelis also demonstrates his skills improvising some new music and a variation on the titles music for "Chariots of Fire".

The interview was part of a daily program on culture, called "Front Row". It should be available for online listening for almost a week on the BBC's listen again service.

Thanks to Peter Taylor for his input.


This update: December 25, 2007

"El Greco Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" review

 

It's interesting to see how Iannis Smaragdis' tale of El Greco's struggle against the oppressive forces of power brought out a completely different side of Vangelis then we saw when he revisited Blade Runner. Released almost back to back, it's impossible not to be in awe at the contrast of Blade Runner's urban angst against El Greco's elegant delight, or at how one artist can so masterfully rule two of such different kingdoms.

Vangelis opens the album with the part of the movie everyone has kept talking about: "the" choral theme, which so graciously supported the movie's emotional climax. A humming choir starts a melody beautifully melody of restrained glory, almost like a new "Hymne", seemingly simple but constantly evolving and developing, pressing all the right buttons along the way. For the album release, the piece has been extended by about a minute to become an entity in its own right. The beautiful piano version that accompanied the end titles and the graceful choral humming bridging the two pieces are saved for the very end of the album.

The movie's opening titles are presented as Part 2. An ancient rhythm drives an enigmatic theme on a plucked instrument, supported by a crystal clear chanting choir, setting the time and place of the story that is to follow.

After that, things quiet down, in a beautiful way. In his lush, romantic manner Vangelis colors the scenes and sets the mood with his delicate compositions. These may not all be the top choices for a greatest hits selection, but it's often when he's not trying to prove the heavy might of his music that Vangelis shows his true gentle soul. Be it in part 7 with its bright harp and string melodies, in Part 4 with piano, flute and synth string, or Part 12's synthesizer voices with several overlaid strings modestly reflecting the drama, it's always laid back, sensitive and with a strong touch of the Vangelis magic we are always looking for.

The guest artists fit in very well. Part 5, performed with the choir of the Historical, Cultural and Folklore Association of Chania, Crete, features a passionate traditional Cretan chant, while Vangelis plays gracefully along on his synthesizers, not unlike what we've enjoyed in "Rhapsodies" with Irene Papas. Part 8, composed and performed by Psarantonis, is a fiery dance on traditional acoustic instruments, performed at a party in the movie, adding a touch of authenticity to the album, before Vangelis takes you back to his musical story telling. The last of the intermezzos is Part 11 with Loudovicos Ton Anogion's soft warm voice lamenting to the rhythms of one or two of Greece's distinct plucked instruments.

As promised, the album ends with the piano reprisal of the gorgeous main theme. Vangelis raises the bar for elegance, as choirs slowly and softly support the delicate piano performance. The only downside of this piece is that at some point, it ends, and with it the "El Greco" album. It just seems as if the silence that follows sounds just a bit brighter than it did before. Lovely.

The track list:

1.Part 13:59
2.Part 21:56
3.Part 34:20
4.Part 42:26
5.Part 53:06(Traditionnal Folk Song of Chania, Crete)
6.Part 62:05
7.Part 71:30
8.Part 81:56(Composed and Performed by Psarantonis)
9.Part 91:00
10.Part 101:51
11.Part 112:50(Written and Perfomed by Loudovicos Ton Anogion)
12.Part 124:56
13.Part 132:36
14.Part 141:06
15.Part 152:40
16.Part 162:46
17.Part 172:28
18.Part 183:16
El Greco, original motion picture soundtrack by Vangelis
Polydor 06025 1760670 8


This update: December 24, 2007

More ordering "El Greco"

While the previously mentioned www.greekmusicshop.gr/eshop/product.php?productid=3137&cat=0&page=1 has wisely stocked up more copies of El Greco, two more Greek online stores with English interfaces join the market:


This update: December 23, 2007

Ordering "El Greco"...

It's a little early to tell really what the most reliable, affordable and efficient way to order Vangelis' new "El Greco" soundtrack album, but because of the high volume of emails about this topic, here are a number of possible options. All provided as is, order completely at your own risk.

Obviously, if you live in Greece, check out the better CD stores. Most of them have placed it in the soundtrack section. Not all of them have been fast ordering it or stocking it in their shelves, but for instance, Metropolis in Athens has had it in stock since this Thursday.

For ordering from outside of Greece, there is one store that's offering international delivery, presented in an English language interface. This is www.greekmusicshop.gr, with the CD offered on www.greekmusicshop.gr/eshop/product.php?productid=3137&cat=0&page=1. Note the language selector to the top right of your screen, which can be set to English. One problem is that their site only offers copies they have in actual stock. In normal circumstances that is great for reliability, but in this case it may sell out very quickly. For impatient customers it could have been more efficient if pre-ordering it was possible. Good luck.

HMV in the UK is offering what seems to be an import (as no domestic British release has been announced). They take pre-orders for a December 28 shipping date. Which may be hard to keep if everyone orders there, but it still seems like a reliable gamble: www.hmv.co.uk/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?ctx=220;1;8;-1&sku=754855.

In the United States, it's Amazon who's offering something that may or may not be the new soundtrack album. The current dollar/Euro exchange rate makes this a very expensive CD for American standards, especially since the unclear naming means this could technically still be the '95/'98 studio album. Nevertheless, some may want to try this option. www.amazon.com/El-Greco-Vangelis/dp/B0011U50KI.

Expect a review of the album soon, most likely by tomorrow.

Thanks to Phil Smallman, Dietmar Paul, Kevin Nolan and Stephen Cairns for their input!


This update: December 21, 2007

"El Greco" soundtrack artwork

More about Vangelis' new "El Greco, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" after the weekend, but for now, here's the artwork for his score to "El Greco". A few quick details: The digipak contains a booklet with stills from the movie. Tracks are titled Part 1 to Part 18.


This update: December 20, 2007

"El Greco" soundtrack released

It's confirmed, Vangelis' new soundtrack album for "El Greco" (2007) is now available in Greece, to be found for sale in CD stores. More about this release very soon, hopefully by this weekend.

"Blade Runner Trilogy"

Although by now released in many European countries (including the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Germany) and the United States, the new "Blade Runner Trilogy" album can be quite a hard find in many places. Due to high demand, it seems in general online orders may be given preference, while stock in shops will grow substantially after Xmas. It looks like for now, if you don't find it in a store near you, the fastest way to obtain it is by ordering it online.

As for the States, sales of the domestic release are going exclusively through major on-line retailer Amazon.com who have been shipping out copies since a few days ago. Canadian residents will have to wait until after Xmas as their release has been delayed until December 26.


This update: December 14, 2007

ANOTHER new album: The "El Greco" soundtrack!

These are exciting times... While most countries are still waiting for Vangelis' new "Blade Runner Trilogy" album to reach the stores, fans in Greece can start looking forward to a another treat. Very reliable sources report that in less than a week from now, on December 19 to be exact, Universal Music SA Greece plans to release Vangelis' brand new soundtrack album to Iannis' Smaragdis' "El Greco".

The album is supposed to contain 18 tracks, 15 of which have been composed by Vangelis, all of which have been arranged and produced by Vangelis. The three other tracks involve source material from within the film, played at parties and any such occasions enjoyed by the on-screen characters.

A few facts, just to set the record straight, as the "El Greco" topic has caused some confusion before. "El Greco" is a new Greek movie for which Vangelis wrote the musical score. This score has nothing to do with Vangelis' famous studio album, known as "Foros Timis Ston Greco" (1995), later expanded and rereleased worldwide as "El Greco" (1998). For "El Greco" (2007), the movie, Vangelis composed a completely new score, not even reminiscent of the '95/'98 studio album. This new album, now due for release on December 19, contains the new music from the movie and has been titled "El Greco - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Vangelis". It should, at least for now, be available only in Greece.

"El Greco" is a huge success in Greek movie theaters and has already won numerous awards, including for Vangelis' music. Nevertheless, the release of the soundtrack comes as quite a surprise, with Vangelis' other new album "Blade Runner Trilogy" in the middle of its world-wide launch, while for Vangelis the release of a soundtrack album is never as mandatory as it is for many other great film composers. A particularly pleasant surprise that, together with the two new CDs from the Blade Runner Trilogy set, should make for the 3rd CD of Vangelis music to look forward to.

More news on this soon...


This update: December 12, 2007

"Epilogos" award for Vangelis

Between all the excitement about the release of "Blade Runner Trilogy", let's not overlook other news, appearing in Greek newspapers this week. The press has been reporting on a new honor bestowed on Vangelis, citing him as a "paragon of a multi-faceted personality who exemplifies the Arts, Culture, and Greece herself."

The award - embodied in the shape of a Silver wreath - was presented to Vangelis on Monday, December 3 at the amphitheater of Athens' Benaki museum. Presenting the award was Aris Spiliotopoulos, the Greek minister of tourism, quoted by the papers proclaiming "...this award is only the slightest honor that can be bestowed on people like Vangelis, who are devoted to the propagation of the Hellenic spirit to the ends of the earth."

The ceremony was also attended by Greek minister of National Health (also former mayor of Athens) and other dignitaries.

Inscribed on the award are the following words:

"'Epilogos' 2007 Annual Literary and Cultural Review honors VANGELIS, for, joining together Pythagoras, Plato and Aristoxenos, he transformed the Harmony of the Cosmos into melody. The contributing committee: Athens, 3/12/2007"


This update: December 10, 2007

Official web pages

Just for the record, Universal in the UK has published two official pages associated with the "Blade Runner Trilogy" release..


This update: December 9, 2007

 

Blade Runner Trilogy review

And there it is. Finally available to the public in UK shops by tomorrow morning: Vangelis' unexpected but much welcomed return to "Blade Runner".

Eagerly awaited by a very diverse audience, including fans of the movie, fans of the music and even fans of countless artists who have repeatedly professed to have been greatly inspired by this legendary soundtrack.

Needless to say the announcement of an upcoming rerelease with no less than two bonus disks caused quite a shockwave of chatter and speculation. Since disk 1 in the set contains the 1994 album, carefully remastered but untouched as far as the actual content is concerned, it's time to explore what exactly those two new CDs are all about.

Disk 2 - Blade Runner Previously Unreleased and Bonus Material

The disk the soundtrack fans have been waiting for. We travel back to 1982, to explore those parts of Blade Runner's music that, to the disappointment of many, could not be incorporated into the album Vangelis released in 1994. Added to this are a few compositions made for the movie, that didn't make it into the actual movie, or any of its reincarnations...

To first answer the question inevitably raised by the movie's many die hard completists: Does it contain absolutely everything? That is, in short, a "no". Some of the very minimal background music, the retro futuristic club dances, the market place and, most surprisingly, the actual opening titles music are still not available outside of the movie.

What it on the other hand does offer is a wealth of those dark, moody, intense pieces that so beautifully accompanied Blade Runner's exploration of this less-and-less-distant future, pondering the question of what it is to be human. On one level cold, sad and dystopian, on another more alive, intimate and humane than many other great scores have managed to be. No wonder so many people have kept wanting to explore this music outside of its original context for the last 25 years.

All these tracks are presented in perfect sound quality. They subtly segue into each other, but for this disk Vangelis chose not to add any new music, effects or dialogs, presenting most pieces in as complete and pure a state as possible. This results in quite a few surprises. "Mechanical Toys" for instance sounds oddly familiar being an obvious part of the score, but in fact only a small fraction of it has been heard in the movie. A fascinating listen that does instantly connect with memories of its subject matter.

Most of what everyone was waiting for is finally here. The choral climaxing music that plays when Roy murders Dr. Tyrell, the ominous discomfort during the final duel between Deckard and Roy, the wondrous icey music for Chew's genetic laboratory... The disk ends fittingly with the immensely popular piece known as "Tears in Rain", presented here without Rutger Hauer's monolog heard on disk 1, for the purest possible enjoyment of the music.

Perhaps the best surprises of this disk are the two bonus tracks. These pieces add credibility to what's being said every once in a while: Some of the best music Vangelis has put into this world is as yet unreleased. Well, in this fortunate case, 25 years of hiding end with the release of Blade Runner Trilogy. While a part of Desolation Path was heard by fans who managed to explore the famous "Work print" of the movie, or some of the countless bootlegs, it never before sounded this good, this complete or this delicately beautiful.

"One Alone" has been completely unheard of, leaving it fully to the listener to imagine what sort of scene would have enjoyed this beautiful piece of music. Vangelis plays his synths as warm and gentle as it gets. "One Alone" is a ballad that manages that rare mix of sweet melancholy and hidden passion that cannot go anywhere but straight to the heart. A true gem.

All in all, listening to this CD is a special experience in many ways. While, as a fan, it feels great to see such collective patience (and let's be honest, persistence) finally pay off.

Disk 3 - BR 25

There are countless traps an artist could fall for when revisiting a legendary work. Perhaps one of the most dangerous ones would be to try and recreate the original in a modern way, or worse, to make extensions artificially in the old way. Vangelis sidestepped this trap brilliantly. His 25th anniversary album - 12 tracks of new Vangelis music, in the mood of Blade Runner - does not sound exactly like the 1982 score, nor does it copy or imitate everything that made it so successful in the first place. Instead, in a contemporary way, it finds new ways to pull the listener into that fascinating, over-populated, over-urbanized world. Sure, the occasional melody from the movie re-appears, as a celebratory or nostalgic nod to the movie we're commemorating, but whenever possible, those familiar pieces are retro-fitted into something new, yet undeniably "Blade Runner" in its own way. Ultimately exploring yet another part of Los Angeles, 2019...

One could say, listening to this music, that it's not the same street, not the same room you visit, not even the same characters you hang out with. Instead, each piece of music visits another part of town, another aspect of life. Yet all this takes place in this same fictional - or is it "futural" - world that Ridley Scott set out to tour us around in, all those years ago.

Musically, the album is nothing less than surprising. It's been a long time since Vangelis experimented this much, toying with new ways to arrange music, playing with new sounds and styles, creatively widening his horizons even further than before. The music switches or combines flavors as diverse as Oriental new age, a classical piano etude, hypnotic electro, loungy jazz and... well, bonus points will be awarded to anyone who manages to classify the wacky "BR Downtown". But no matter where he goes, the music always keeps in line with the integral ambience.

Which of these tracks stand out will come down to personal taste, but to name a few, "Piano in an Empty Room" is a delicately beautiful composition performed solely on one single piano, a recording both intimate and completely engaging.

Sweet Solitude starts with Vangelis on a gentle electric piano, soon joined by wonderful jazzy percussion and a sensual saxophone performed by Dimitris Tsakas. On the other side of the spectrum is a track like "No Expectation Boulevard", driven by a slow but strong beat, nervously exploring those noisy crowded streets we've seen in the movie.

The spoken word inclusions are subtle, never overshadowing the music. They mostly help abridge pieces, or add a multi cultural feeling to fit the perception we have of Blade Runner's world.

BR 25 is a carefully detailed work, perhaps best listened to on headphones, so that nothing of what's happening is missed, making sure it does not drift to the background. It's a pleasure to let it guide, encourage and inspire your imagination.

And most of all, it's a worthy addition to the Blade Runner legacy and an evocative part of a very special release.


This update: December 8, 2007

Blade Runner Trilogy - more...

 

The expected December 10 release date in UK territories (including Ireland) will be met, as some large retail stores confirm having the album in stock, ready for Monday morning sales. A release date this site presented for Italy sadly seems to be incorrect, as Italy now expects the album somewhere mid January, perhaps to coincide with the movie's Final Cut DVD release.

In the mean time, two more web stores present sound samples for each of the tracks, for more and better glimpses:

A few scoops: Reliable reports reveal that "Fading Away", the last track of the 2nd disk (unreleased music from the film) is in fact a version of the "Tears In Rain" track, without the dialog that was mixed in, on disk 1, the 1994 album version. Furthermore, one of the disk's bonus tracks, called "Desolation Path", is a piece previously referred to by fans as the "Alternative Love Theme", having appeared in an unfinished work print of the movie and on subsequent bootleg disks. The track, presented here in its entire form in pristine sound quality is said to be exquisitely beautiful.

More tomorrow...

Thanks to Patrick Gleeson for the scan and some valuable input!


This update: December 7, 2007; 21:00 CET

Another online interview

Any self-confessed geek, as well as anyone else really, will want to check out the "Den of Geek" web-site for the little chat they had with Vangelis about "Blade Runner Trilogy":

www.denofgeek.com/movies/7..._with_vangelis.html


This update: December 7, 2007; 19:15 CET

Brazilian web-site interview

There's no confirmation so far on Vangelis' new "Blade Runner Trilogy" album being available in stores yet, but HMV sending out "shipment confirmation" mails to selected overseas customers is a good sign that the first stock is starting to reach bigger distributors' warehouses, at least in the UK.

In Brazil, where the official download version is already available, a major entertainment web site features a short but brand new interview with Vangelis, available both in Portuguese and English. Click on Vangelis' portrait to the left of www.theoutview.com

The first paragraph ends with a link to a version in the English language.


This update: December 5, 2007

 

Sound samples / Online sales in Brazil / Delay in Holland

Brazilian fans are the lucky ones, this time around, as an online store in Brazil is the first to actually sell the music, not on CD but as official WMA download. Either the complete set of track or individual tracks are available for purchase. The required registration however is exclusively limited to Brazilian tax payers.

Fans in the rest of the world may still want to check out this site, as it's also the first chance to listen to sound samples. Excerpts are available for each track from every CD. They are just snippets in low quality, but do give a first glimpse into the style and feel of the new music as well as the unreleased selections.

www.baixahits.com.br/index.asp?secao_link=album&id_album=72071&id_artista=10826

The release of the CD in Holland has been delayed for a week and is now set for December 14. This may also apply to other territories where it was set for December 7, but no specific details are available.


This update: December 4, 2007

More Blade Runner Trilogy release dates...

December 10

  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • December 11

  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • December 12

  • Finland
  • December 18

  • United States
  • Thanks to Brage Midtsund, Jussi Jakobsson and Ville Koski for their input!

    Collaborations (re)-released

    Jon Anderson's album "3 Ships" (1986) included one track that he wrote with Vangelis, but recorded without his input. The song is called "Easier Said than Done". A CD of the album was released at the time, but as it was never reprinted, became one of the rarest and most desired (and most counterfeited) CDs in the collectors market. The album has now been reissued as a 22nd anniversary edition, remastered and including bonus tracks. It's for sale on Anderson's website, or directly at www.jonanderson3ships.com.

    Also rereleased are two albums by Italian new wave formation Chrisma. "Hybernation" (1978) was never released on CD before, while "Chinese Restaurant" (1977) went out-of-print a long time ago. Both albums are now available again on CD, at the better CD shops or through online stores. If you can't find these under "Chrisma", be sure to also try "Krisma".

    Vangelis' relation to these albums remains a bit of a mystery. Both were recorded at Vangelis' studio with Vangelis' brother, Nico Papathanassiou as producer. Many of the electronic sounds are easily recognizable from Vangelis' own albums, but most are performed in a different way. Vangelis himself has no credit whatsoever on these releases. Some people involved in the production claim he did play on many or all tracks, while others strongly deny he had any such part. Vangelis' fans, judging by ear, are much divided over the likeliness of his involvement.

    Thanks to Kees Wolvers for the Jon Anderson tip.


    This update: November 30, 2007

    Blade Runner Trilogy release dates overview

    Here's an overview of the currently known release dates for Vangelis' new Bladerunner release, including the new album:

    December 7

  • Holland [Corrected: now set for December 14]
  • Italy
  • Switzerland
  • December 10

  • Greece
  • United Kingdom
  • December 18

  • Canada

  • This update: November 28, 2007

    Award for Vangelis' El Greco score

    Vangelis' recent score for Greece's mega production "El Greco" has won the award for best music at the 48th Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece. An equal music award was handed to the score for "Uranya".

    Iannis Smaragdis film was the big winner in this ceremony, claiming a total of 7 awards, for best film, direction, cinematography, sound, editing and makeup, in addition to Vangelis' music award.

    The film is an absolute smash hit in Greek cinemas, having sold more than 650,000 tickets in just 4 weeks, while still going strong... Visitor numbers are projected to reach at least a million tickets within Greece alone. Greece has a population of only 11 million inhabitants.

    It is rumored that the film may be screened at the Berlin film festival in February next year, while Spain is reportedly expecting to have the film on general release by the end of February or shortly thereafter. No news so far for any other territories...

    Blade Runner 3CD set local release dates

    The first non-UK release dates for the upcoming Blade Runner 3CD set are being announced by local Universal departments. Both Italy and Holland claim to be targeting a December 7 release date, 3 days before the UK's intended December 10 launch.


    This update: November 14, 2007

    Universal's official press release

    The artwork for Vangelis' new Blade Runner CD is appearing on the internet, at about the same time that Universal in the UK released the official press release about the upcoming 3 CD set. Read it, for quite a few new details.

    Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary 3 CD Soundtrack release on UMTV

    Universal Music TV is set to release a stunning 3CD collection to mark the 25th Anniversary of Blade Runner on December 10th, 2007. Featuring previously unreleased music from the film, bonus tracks and a brand new album of Vangelis material inspired by the film with sleeve notes written by Ridley Scott.

    Ridley Scotts Blade Runner, with its apocalyptic depiction of LA in 2019, has become one of the most celebrated sci-fi releases of the 20th century. Its one of those films where all of the constituent parts - the set, the lighting, the characters, the sparse dialogue and of course the music - work uniquely together to produce a cult masterpiece.

    The music has always been a key element of Blade Runner and there have been various versions of the soundtrack over the years, some official and some bootlegs. But they have all either been incomplete or have suffered from poor sound quality, until now. Blade Runner Trilogy: 25th Anniversary is a 3CD set which - for the first time - puts all the pieces together, providing the complete music from the film and a lot more besides.

    CD 1 features the original and remastered soundtrack as it first appeared in 1994, twelve years after the film was released. The second CD contains all the remaining music from the film that did not appear on the original 1994 soundtrack, plus two bonus tracks ("One Alone" and "Desolation Path"). None of this material has been released before.

    The third and final disk will be of real interest to Vangelis fans - as it contains an entire album of newly written material composed by Vangelis to mark the 25th anniversary of Blade Runner. The music is strong and flowing, and retains the dark, atmospheric sense of the original score. There are some intriguing spoken word contributions too, from Ridley Scott, Roman Polanski, Oliver Stone and a host of distinguished actors, personalities and world dignitaries.

    Full track listing details:

    CD 1: Blade Runner Original Soundtrack Album

       Track 1: Main Titles (3': 42")
       Track 2: Blush Response (5': 47")
       Track 3: Wait For Me (5': 27")
       Track 4: Rachels Song (4': 46")
       Track 5: Love Theme (4': 56")
       Track 6: One More Kiss, Dear (3': 58")
       Track 7: Blade Runner Blues (8': 53")
       Track 8: Memories Of Green (5': 05")
       Track 9: Tales Of The Future (4': 46")
       Track 10: Damask Rose (2': 32")
       Track 11: Blade Runner (End Titles) (4': 40")
       Track 12: Tears In Rain (3': 00")
    

    CD 2: Blade Runner Previously Unreleased and Bonus Material

       Track 1: Longing (1': 58")
       Track 2: Unveiled Twinkling Space (1': 59")
       Track 3: Dr. Tyrells Owl (2': 40")
       Track 4: At Mr. Chews (4': 47")
       Track 5: Leos Room (2': 21")
       Track 6: One Alone (bonus track) (2': 23")
       Track 7: Deckard And Roys Duel (6': 16")
       Track 8: Dr. Tyrells Death (3': 11")
       Track 9: Desolation Path (bonus track) (5': 45")
       Track 10: Empty Streets (6': 16")
       Track 11: Mechanical Dolls (2': 52")
       Track 12: Fading Away (3': 32")
    

    CD 3: BR 25

    This is the album with the new music, composed by Vangelis for Blade Runners 25th anniversary.

    Track 1: Launch Approval (1': 54")
    Spoken word: Scott Bolton, Bryce Bolton

    Track 2: Up and Running (3': 09")
    Spoken word: Sir Ridley Scott

    Track 3: Mail From India (3': 27")
    Ney: C. Lambrakis

    Track 4: BR Downtown (2': 27?)
    Spoken word: Oliver Stone, Akiko Ebi, Cherry Vanilla

    Track 5: Dimitris Bar (3': 52")
    Spoken word: Akiko Ebi, Oliver Stone, Saxophone: Dimitris Tsakas

    Track 6: Sweet Solitude (6': 56")
    Saxophone: Dimitris Tsakas

    Track 7: No Expectation Boulevard (6': 44")
    Spoken word: Rutger Hauer, Wes Studi, Bhaskar Balakrishnan (Executive Director of the Asian Heritage Foundation), Shobhana Balakrishnan, Laura Metaxa, Sir Ridley Scott, Zhao Yali (Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to Cyprus)

    Track 8: Vadavarot (4': 14")
    Spoken word: Irina Valentinova, Florencia Suayan Tacod

    Track 9: Perfume Exotico (5': 19")
    Spoken word: Edward James Olmos

    Track 10: Spotkanie Z Matka (5': 09")
    Spoken word: Roman Polanski reciting excerpts from the poem "Spotkanie z Matka" by Konstanty Ildefons Galczynski

    Track 11: Piano In An Empty Room (3': 37")

    Track 12: Keep Asking (1': 29")
    Spoken word: Bryce Bolton

    All music composed, arranged, produced and performed by Vangelis.

    "One of the great experiences of my directing career was working on the music for Blade Runner with Vangelis at his Marble Arch studio in London where he would perform rough demo film cues for me on the fly, obsessing over every detail and capturing every moment with exceptional beauty...the final result took us far beyond my expectations." - Ridley Scott, sleeve notes

    This CD release ties in with some significant DVD products launched to coincide with the 25th anniversary. On December 3rd, 2007 a 5 DVD set Final Cut: Ultimate Collectors Edition is released, which contains all 5 versions of the film, plus interviews, a documentary on the making of the film and a letter from Ridley Scott.


    This update: November 12, 2007

    Update on "Blade Runner Trilogy"

    A few new details on Vangelis' expected "Blade Runner Trilogy" release, as more rumors from the music industry are coming in.

    The first disk, which is the album as we know it now, contains its usual 12 tracks. The same number of tracks can be heard on the second disk, indicated as "previously unreleased and bonus material", as well as the third disk, with "music composed for Blade Runner's 25th Anniversary". Thus, the complete set contains a total of 36 tracks, 24 of them previously unreleased.

    Apparently, it will be packaged in a digipak and includes still photographs from the movie and liner notes by Ridley Scott.

    A few details have leaked about the new music (disk 3). It was of course composed, arranged, produced and performed by Vangelis, but reportedly includes guest performances on saxophone on two tracks and a ney (ancient wind instrument) on one track. Furthermore, in line with Blade Runner's multi cultural urban atmosphere, Vangelis has included spoken word, with the help of a range of distinguished actors, directors, and world dignitaries.

    The set should be released by Universal Music UK somewhere mid December, simultaneously in both the US and all major European markets.

    Official confirmation and more details (track listing, etc) are expected to be released by Universal Music very soon now.


    This update: November 6, 2007

    The upcoming Blade Runner release...

    Although final confirmation has yet to come in on this, fans will be glad to hear rumors within the music industry are buzzing frantically about Vangelis' upcoming Blade Runner related release.

    It was late in June when word first broke Vangelis had been composing music for a new album related to Blade Runner, but it wasn't yet clear in which way this would be released. Here finally are some details, according to some very excited insiders.

    The new release will be a deluxe set, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Blade Runner movie. Described as a three CD package titled "Blade Runner Trilogy", the set is said to start with the Blade Runner soundtrack as we know it from the official 1994 release. The second disk would present both music from the film not previously released on LP or CD (the notorious bootlegs excepted), as well as music made for the movie at the time, which was neither used nor released in any shape or form. Finally, the third disk would be Vangelis' expected new album, inspired by and thematically linked to Blade Runner.

    Personally, I think a lot of people were dreaming about unreleased music from the film finally appearing on CD, while others dreamt of Vangelis returning to the dark melancholic moods played on synthesizers that peeked on the popular Blade Runner soundtrack, by creating new music in the same vein, but I've never heard anyone who dared to openly dream about both of these at the same time... With early word being strongly positive about the results, this could be the answer to what literally everyone has been longing for.

    Confirmation and more details expected soon... Expectations are that "Blade Runner Trilogy" will be released in December. Time to start writing those Christmas wish lists...

    George Romanos single

     

    Collectors may be interested in another nostalgic release for the Greek market. No doubt inspired by the recent CD single releases of old Forminx hits from the seventies, competing CD label "Lyra" has now released George Romanos' "To Roloi" (aka "The Clock") as a CD single.

    To Roloi was a 7" single at the time, with both songs composed and sung by Romanos and Vangelis "and his orchestra" performing the accompaniment. The same music - but with Romanos' vocals deleted - was also released as a Vangelis single around the same time.

    Funnily enough, the first track on this single is Vangelis' solo version, followed by Romanos' single and two more tracks from the same album, also featuring Vangelis' performances. All in all, nothing that couldn't be found on CD before (in Greece), but a curious new release nonetheless, especially with its advertising Vangelis' hammond playing on the cover!

    Empire interview

    Readers of the Australian edition of "Empire" magazine had to miss out on the Blade Runner special, when it appeared in the magazine's UK and international August editions earlier this year. Luckily, the special, including the interview with Vangelis will now published in the December 2007 edition, which is to hit the Australian stores during the middle of November.

    Thanks to Knut Hooge for the "Empire" magazine tip.


    This update: October 18, 2007

    "El Greco" review

    "El Greco" follows the story of young Cretan painter Domenicos Theotokopoulos, as he travels away from his occupied country to develop and exploit his talents in Venice and Spain. His path continuously crosses that of the Nio de Guevara, a rising figure in the Roman church, who admires as much as he fears Domenicos' talents. The story deals with El Greco's struggle against his oppressors and the fear this instills on those who see their authority threatened by the power of a true visualist.

    British actor Nick Ashdon plays El Greco opposite Juan Diego Botto from Spain (previously seen in "1492" as Columbus' oldest son) as De Guevara. They are supported by Laia Marull (Spain) and Dimitra Matsouka (Greece) as Dominicos' romantic interests and Lakis Lazopoulos (Greece) as his friend and companion.

    Vangelis' score reflects the same combination of passion and beautiful restrain that critics tend to attribute to El Greco's paintings. It sets the mood and paints the scenes as holier than they are, without having to resort to needless bombast. Especially the role of Greco's unmarried life partner Jernima is consistently set to soft but colorful gentle tones. Most talked about will no doubt be the film's opening title music (thundering percussion drives an uplifting plucked Greek melody, along with a powerful and colorful mix of choirs) as well as the slowly build emotional climax at the movie's end where, with the help of some crystal clear choirs, Vangelis paints some of those complex emotions that you didn't know existed before you heard them played by him. The closing titles will please those who had hoped to hear Vangelis on the piano once again, as he seems to quietly reflect on the movie that has passed you by during the last two hours. If only cinemas would offer rewind buttons, to make that never end...

    Dennis Lodewijks

     

    El Greco will be released in Greek cinemas as of tonight. It is expected to appear in Spanish cinemas by the end of this year or early next year, with other territories being under negotiation. It is however expected to play on various international film festivals before that time. Any such locations and dates will be published here.


    This update: October 16, 2007

     
     
      

    "El Greco" gala premiere

    Greece is warming up for the theatrical release of Iannis Smaragdis' new "El Greco" film.

    Yesterday, October 15 started with a press conference, attended by the film's director, producers and of course the main cast.

    When asked, director Smaragdis explained that the movie is not necessarily a factual telling of actual events in El Greco's life. The film was made following one of the stories main messages, being that art should have the liberty to tell fiction, just as El Greco painted people as he liked to see them, not as they truly were.

    The press conference took place inside a special exhibition dedicated to the movie. On display are the actual costumes worn on screen, as well as a series of paintings in their various stages as they appear in scenes throughout the film. This exhibition is located inside the impressive subway station of Syntagma Square in Athens and is open to the general public.

    As the evening fell, the Pallas theater, a recently renovated classical music hall, yet for this event restored to its original function as a movie theater, was the setting for the official gala premiere. In the presence of a crowd of cameras, press, as well as movie- and indeed music fans, the cast, crew and celebrity guests entered the theater to enjoy "El Greco", before its general release.

    Vangelis himself was indeed among the attendants, as well as notables including the Greek prime minister, former French minister Jack Lang and many other notables with, as highest guest of honor, Queen Sofia from Spain.

    Expect more details soon, about both the movie and the music, but to share a few first thoughts:

    Unlike some have speculated, the movie's music has no connection to Vangelis' "El Greco" album ('95 / '98), which obviously explored the world that lives through El Greco's paintings, while the movie explores the (possible) life of El Greco himself.

    In general, Vangelis' score for "El Greco" is respectfully restrained, often playing quietly in the background to set the scene's mood, but almost never completely absent. Much of the style reminds of the quieter moments in "1492" and "Alexander", all of it played by Vangelis himself. There are also some glorious moments where the music really takes over, with choirs adding to Vangelis' tender keyboard performance, most notably as the movie reaches its emotional climax.

    More to follow soon...


    This update: October 10, 2007

    Special "El Greco" screenings

    With El Greco's general release on October 18 approaching, a number of special screenings are planned. On top of the official gala premiere in Athens on October 15, there will be an avant premiere screening in Crete (Theotocopoulos' origin) as early as October 11 and a special screening in honor of Vangelis as the movie's composer, in Volos on October 17.

    In the mean time, a new trailer for the movie has been released on the internet. Reliable sources confirm that, as with the earlier trailer, it is not accompanied by Vangelis' music. So, more patience will be needed for any first impressions.

    mftm.blogspot.com/2007/09/el-greco-2007-trailer.html

    Check back here for some first impressions of both the movie and the music it features somewhere during next week.


    This update: September 22, 2007

    "Difono" magazine article + CD

     
     

    The new October issue of monthly Greek magazine "Difono" is dedicated to Vangelis. Not only is he featured on the cover, with two related articles inside, but the magazine is also packaged and sold with Vangelis' album "Mythodea" included, for a total of only 6.00.

    Copies of the magazine are also available without the CD, for about half the price.

    For completist collectors: The CD is marked 88697179602 / Made in the EU, and has "Difono" markings with "Not for sale" on various places throughout the artwork.

    The first article includes (sparse) interview quotes. The second, about Vangelis' life, was written by Aryris Zilos, who writes he knew Vangelis from the days of recording the Direct album.

    Incidently, the same issue contains a small article about the upcoming "El Greco" movie, which is starting to enjoy quite some attention in the Greek press.

    The October issue of "Difono" (Nr 145) is on sale in Greek stalls as of today. It will be available for about a month.

    Thanks to Noel Koutlis for the tip and further input!


    This update: September 15, 2007

    "El Greco" movie premiere

    Iannis Smaragdis' new movie "El Greco" is set for an official premiere, three days before the movie goes on general release in Greek cinemas. On October 15, a host of celebrities - including queen Sofia of Spain - are expected to attend the event at the Pallas cinema in Athens.

    There still are no details about the movie's international release, although it should at least play in England and Hungary. The movie is aimed at an international audience, having been shot in the English language.

    An article in Greek:
    www.e-tipos.com/newsitem?id=8218.

    Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Movie)

     
     

    The newly revised version of the "Blade Runner" movie has recently had its pre-premiere at the Venice film festival in Italy. Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah and Rutger Hauer attended, together with director Ridley Scott.

    It seems more journalists than fans of the film managed to attend this happening, so details about the new version aren't very clear. Opinions conflict on whether the visual effects were boosted. Some reports involve lots of extra spinners (ships) flying around, while avid fans say that, special effects-wise, only some wiring was digitally removed. A number of newly inserted shots excepted. It's likely some viewers simply didn't remember how detailed the movie always was. General feeling seems to be that the biggest changes involve some extended dialogs and a number of fixed (continuity) mistakes. It's supposedly edited a bit more smoothly, but Vangelis' music seems to have hardly changed, with only an occasional subtle edit to match the changed timing. For more clarity and certainty, we'll have to wait until this movie is released for a wider audience.

    The movie will see a limited release in American cinemas, where it will play in New York and Los Angeles, starting October 5. At this moment, no details are available on possible screenings in other countries.

    On DVD, "Blade Runner - The Final Cut" will first be released in the USA, reaching the shops on December 18. There's a choice between three packages: a 2 disk set, a 4 disk set, and a special 5 disk set packed in a Blade Runner suitcase. The two luxurious versions will also be available on the two new formats that are to follow up the DVD standard, HD-DVD and Blu-ray.

    Promotional trailers and more info on the movie's official site:
    bladerunnerthemovie.warnerbros.com.

    A fan site for the movie, tracking the news around the new releases:
    www.tyrell-corporation.pp.se.

    Forminx CD singles

    A very peculiar release in Greece. Quite inexplicably, long running Greek label "Music Box International" (MBI) has released a series of 5 CD singles containing the historic music of the Vangelis' first band, The Forminx. At the very start of his career in the early sixties, Vangelis with his friends released quite a number of summer hits that became very popular with the young people in Greece, of the time. They can now explore their nostalgic feelings with these singles for "Love Without Love", "Yenka Beat", "Jeronimo Yanka", "Our Last September" and "Il Peperone".

    For completists, the most interesting of these CD singles is the "Il Peperone" issue. It includes three bonus tracks from the illustrious Christmas EP, all of which have not been available on CD before now. Inconveniently though, this leaves just one track, a cover version of "The Sound of Music" from the same EP still unavailable on CD.

    These CD singles are only available in Greece, but thankfully can be ordered internationally through web shops, like this one:
    www.studio52.gr/srch_all_en.asp?D2=GR1&searcher=forminx

    Thanks to Robert Eichelsheim for the Forminx tip.

         
          

    This update: July 15, 2007

    Interviews

       

    Rare as it may be, on occasion Vangelis allows interviews, and has been busy indeed, with two being published this month.

    The first is in English, printed in UK movie magazine Empire. Their August issue (now in shops in the UK, and gradually also appearing in shops around Europe and other continents) has a massive 20 page special about Blade Runner, as a preview to the upcoming release of Ridley Scott's final renewed cut of the movie as well as the much anticipated DVD box set.

    Two pages of this feature are dedicated to Vangelis and his score for the movie, praising the score and citing many interview quotes.

    Then, for those who can read Greek, here's a link to newspaper Enet, who published an interview with Vangelis on their pages only yesteryday. The article is available online, in the Greek language:
    www.enet.gr/online/online_text/c=113,id=86818596

    Thanks to Richard Clews and Giannis Miliaresis for sending in the tips.


    This update: June 27, 2007

    New Blade Runner related music project

    "Blade Runner" has often proved to be a topic that can set the internet in its highest gears, as became clear once again when Vangelis' assistent producer and sound engineer Frederick Rousseau wrote an article in the blog on his web site about finishing work on a new Vangelis "Blade Runner" project. In no time at all, Blade Runner sites and forums throughout the world started refering to this article and both movie and music fans speculated - sometimes quite wildly - about what this all means.

    Here are the details of the current situation, from reliable sources close to Vangelis:

    A project is currently in completion that should lead to the release of a new Vangelis album, linked to and inspired by Blade Runner. This may or may not include some music created at the time of the original movie, but the bottom line is: Things have not been finalized. The content, or the format it will be released in may still change or has yet to be decided. There is also - at this point - no schedule for its release.

    In short, the good news is that Vangelis has been hard at work, and we have something new to look forward to, especially exciting to everyone who loved Vangelis' Blade Runner music.

    More complete information will become available at a later date. You will be able to read it here...

    Thanks go out to everyone who sent in links and quotes regarding this topic during the past two days.


    This update: June 9, 2007

    Vangelis Foundation organizes Juno mission conference

     

    Greek media and newspapers are reporting about the first conference to be organized by the newly founded "Vangelis Foundation For Research, Music and Science" organization.

    From June 11 till 13, the city of Volos will be the center of attention for the scientific community, as the foundation conducts the event at a Volos Conference Center. Fiftyfive distinguished NASA scientists participate on the topic of the launch of the Juno spacecraft, which should reach the end of its journey to Jupiter in 2016.

    On the second day of the conference, the scientists will visit the Argo ship gracing the ports of Volos, which is hoped to commence its intended voyage next year, by means of a Vangelis directed event. As for the scientists, according to a news paper article, they have requested to be allowed to row the ship.

    Scientific research and its ties with the arts comprise the core philosophy of the Vangelis Foundation, serving as a benefactor to important events of both a scientific and artistic nature:

    Among the Foundation's objectives are the study, research, preservation and promotion of Greek music as well as of the arts in general and the exploration of their primordial relationships with philosophy and science. The cultural development and international promotion of Greece are the primary motivations of both the composer Vangelis and of the Foundation, which he finances and to which he bequeaths all of his material and intellectual property.

    The solar-powered Juno spacecraft will reach Jupiter in 2016 and enter into a trajectory just 5000 kilometers above the planet's atmosphere. NASA hopes Juno will provide new information about how, when and where this giant planet was created. They explain that the answers to these questions about Jupiter are important to our understanding of the beginning of our solar system, given that Jupiter contains more mass than all of the other planets combined.

    The launch of the spacecraft will take place in August 2011. Dr. Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas is the Principal Investigator. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California manages the mission and the Lockheed Martin Corporation is responsible for the spacecraft. The University of Wisconsin - Madison leads in Juno education and conducts the Juno Public Outreach Program.

    More information about the Juno project:

  • science.hq.nasa.gov/missions/solar_system/juno.html
  • www.juno.wisc.edu
  • Odes / Rapsodies remasters sound evaulation

    As promised, an evaluation of the new "Odes" and "Rapsodies" remastered CD. For these tests the original French Odes and Greek Rapsodies CDs were compared to the respective remastered CDs as shipped to shops in May this year.

    - Rapsodies

    Like Chariots of Fire, released last year, this Vangelis supervised rerelease was indeed truly remastered. That should be obvious, but with the Japanese releases from the last few years in mind, it's something not to be taken for granted.

    Rapsodies is a bit of an unusual case for a remaster. The original CD always had a strange, metalic sound, all over the album (often a sign this may be due to mastering) and a very strong emphasis on the higher end of the spectrum. The remaster differs in this respect. The sound is softer, warmer, but less crisp. Another difference is the stereo separation, which is less strong for the remaster. It seems like the original CD was processed for stereo expansion.

    The result is probably much closer to Vangelis' original intend and certainly sounds easier on the ears, but listeners who got accustomed to the pumped up sound of the original CD release could find this version less exciting. In either case, it's rare that remasters sound so different from their original releases.

    - Odes

    Odes is also a true remaster, and it sounds like you expect from a remaster. A bit more crisp, clear, and warm. The difference is subtle, but if you want to hear the music in the best possible way, the new master is the disk to play. The difference in equalization is particularly audible in the popular "Fire Dance".

    These Greek pressings can be hard to find, but the good news is, it seems both disks are now also set for a UK release, available in the shops as of July 2.

    Thanks to Don Fennimore's www.VangelisCollector.com site for the UK release news.


    This update: May 30, 2007

    "El Greco" trailer

    The official site for Iannis Smaragdis' upcoming movie "El Greco" now offers a trailer, to share a first glimpse of the new work:
    www.elgrecothemovie.com/trailer.htm

    Note that, although the movie's original score is being created by Vangelis, the trailer was edited to unrelated music, not composed by Vangelis.

    The movie is expected to premier in Greece on October 18, and should also come into circulation in other European cinemas.


    This update: May 9, 2007

    "Research, Music, Arts, and Science Foundation Evangelos Papathanassiou"

    In the last month, various Greek media have been covering the birth of an organization called the "Research, Music, Arts, and Science Foundation Evangelos Papathanassiou". Named after, and initiated by Vangelis, this foundation will involve itself with all the crafts mentioned in its title, as well as pursuing other virtues.

    For this organization to be awarded a special tax status in its country of origin, it had to go through a process which included a formal voting session in the Greek national parliament. Yesterday, May 8, the final vote was positive and the special status of the foundation was approved. Sources in Greece say that in possibly 10 to 15 days, the last formalities will be completed and the Foundation will be a fact.

    Expect to find more information and details here, when they become available.

    Odes and Rapsodies remastered CDs resurface in Greek shops

    Since this week, Vangelis' newly remastered "Odes" and "Rapsodies" albums, with Irene Papas, are available again in Greek stores, after having disappeared for a short period of time, just after their release in March. Expect an evaluation of their sound quality on this site in the weeks to come.

    The albums are also available as MP3 downloads through the Greek division of iTunes and are expected to become available on iTunes divisions throughout the world.

    "7 Wise Men" Symposium

    By the end of this week, the Greek cities of Athens and Delphi will be the locations for a symposium called the "7 Wise Men of the World". (www.7wisemen.com) The media have been reporting about Vangelis' involvement by donating music, for use at the happenings and as part of a documentary screened at the Delphi event. This music is a selection of tracks from his albums, released over the past years. No new pr unreleased music is being used.


    This update: April 4, 2007

    Argo vogage delayed

    The much awaited launch of the Argo ship (see the August 31, 2006 update, to recreate its mythical voyage to Colchis has been delayed until the summer of next year.

    This was decided by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after meeting with the local authorities of Volos, as it seems further diplomatic endeavors are needed to ensure a safe voyage through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea.

    This means that the cultural events accompanying the start of the journey, including the expected Vangelis organized event, have also been postponed to 2008. More information here, when the time approaches.

    "Odes" and "Rhapsodies"

    Universal in Greece has temporarily retracted sales of the remastered Odes and Rhapsodies CDs. But not to worry: They will return to the shops later this month, or shortly after. More info here, when the CDs become available again.


    This update: March 29, 2007

    Artwork for "Odes" and "Rhapsodies"

       

    This update: March 24, 2007

    Remastered "Odes" and "Rhapsodies"

    Vangelis' two collaborations with Greek actress and singer Irene Papas, the albums "Odes" and "Rhapsodies" have been remastered by Vangelis. The newly released CDs with redesigned artwork should be released in Greece next week on March 26, and will become available as official downloads, to be purchased internationally.

    Since Vangelis' two remasterings of Chariots of Fire were so well received by audiophiles, expectations for these re-editions are quite high. More details here when they become available.

     
       
     

    "Alexander Revisited, The Final Cut" DVD review

    Since February 27, Oliver Stone's latest and final revision of the Alexander movie is available on DVD in the USA. Further releases are expected in the UK (April) and Italy (May or June), and possibly also in other parts of the world.

    To sumarize this movie's history, director Oliver Stone rushed his editting process to make the release date deadline, while under presure to keep the result at a reasonable length for theaters to reserve their screens for. The resulting original theatrical version (also released on DVD) had a duration of 175 minutes.

    The movie met mixed results. A commercial flop in the States, a mediocre success in Europe (with positive exceptions in a few countries) and a true hit in important parts of Asia. All in all the movie made its investments back, but formed, in addition to a considerable group of loyal fans, a large base of critisism.

    In quite a predictable move, giving in to the negativity around certain aspects of his work, Stone released a special DVD with a reworked version. While adding and extending a number of scenes, he also trimmed naration and dialog and removed certain sequences, resulting in a shorter movie clocking at 166 minutes. This version was sold as "The Director's Cut".

    The (false) notion that references to Alexander's bisexuality were lightened probably sold a few extra copies, but in general the revisions were received without enthusiasm. Although the new material was generally good, the trimming made scenes look choppy, and revised order did nothing to enhance, the momentum. To the contrary.

    Then, the unexpected happened. The studio asked Stone to give it one more try. This time, he would not have to give in to the critics, making the film shorter and "easier", but was given total freedom, without any of the practical limitations a release in theaters invariably brings. Instead, Stone could indulge as much as he liked, in a way giving in to the fans instead, adding as much material as possible, delving into every of the complex movie's sub texts and plots.

    The result is, just as Stone predicted in the revision's announcements, not better for people who didn't like it in the first place. But reactions from the movie's loyal supporters are so far unanimously positive!

    The new result will keep you busy for 211 minutes, allowing for a planned break, while changing the two disks.

    None of the problems with the Director's Cut's seem to exist anymore. Scenes are fluid and make sense. Editing is flawless.

    A new order of scenes is introduced, starting with the Gaugamella battle, then cutting back and forth between Alexander's childhood and carreer as a conquerer. Although this risks shifting the balance of the glorious action even further in the movie, it does set a proper athmosphere, from which to start delving into character, politics, and family feuds.

    In other words, it works, dramatically. That is, if you have enough knowledge of the history, or have seen the movie before. Because, while the new order and new material helps to understand all the interesting sub plots and context, it does in fact make an even more complex story, and it can be hard or even impossible to properly follow the large story line and understand the actual chronological order of events.

    More important than the new order is the content. To begin with, the new cut contains all the material from both the original theatrical version and the Director's Cut. The re-editing (or rather undoing the cuts) of many known scenes helps them make more sense than ever before, and the addition of new scenes sheds new light, especially on a number of minor characters, who until now, had less presence in the movie. Most of the attention goes to Bagoas, who now has speaking lines and is more involved with Alexander.

    One example of a scene that changed quite radically is the dance Roxane performs for Alexander on their wedding. The beautiful choreography now comes to light much better, while the intercutting to the wild animals interrupts the scene more subtly than before. Additional material before the dancing explains the presence of these animals and adds meaning to this and other scenes. It's these sort of changes that help make this version not just longer, or "more", but actually makes it more coherent, for anyone who's willing to puzzle and look for all the topics the movie tries to deal with.

    As for Vangelis' music, some scenes have slightly editted versions of the music heard before, to match the altered timings (such as the Gaugamella battle sequence), but there are indeed also a few unheard cues in this new version. The album's "One Morning at Pella" track is now used, appearing in the scene with Aristotle and the kids. Other scenes have background, or longer versions, but no important new themes or variations are introduced.

    All in all, as it was intended by Stone and the studio, a DVD only for those who enjoyed the movie to begin with. They will get exactly what they hoped for: As much as possible, as complete as possible. A brave thing to try, with a commercially flawed movie. They could have much more easily cashed in on a project that does have universal approval and demand. Instead, Stone didn't give up on his pet project, and shares the results with its fans: Within its limited scope, indeed a very succesful experiment!

    "The Plague" DVD in Poland

       

    A Polish newspaper recently released a book and DVD set, with the rather obscure movie "The Plague" (aka "La Peste", or in this case "Dzuma").

    This 1992 movie uses music Vangelis made for it, but due to creative differences between the director and Vangelis, Vangelis did not allow his name to be mentioned in the movie's credits. Reprise's "Psalmus Ode" track however, was a reworked version of the movie's main theme.

    So far, the only DVD released for this movie was a Chinese transfer of the shortest available version, cutting off Vangelis' stunning end title music halfway its original duration. This makes the new Polish release quite unique, as the end titles are in tact, and a much longer version of the movie was used for the transfer. It clocks at 2 hours and 17 minutes. Only rare French and Italian rental VHS tapes were a few minutes longer than this edit. In fact, this is the first time anything but the shortest version of the movie (less than 2 hours) can be seen in English.

    The sound quality of the English channel is quite good, a better chance to hear the music than any other source before. Technically it's a 5.1 surround mix, as the package advertises, but all 6 channels of the 5.1 mix are almost identical, coming from the same single channel source, since the movie was mixed in mono at the time. As for image quality, this release is not so interesting. It's a pan&scan full-screen transfer, best watched on an old fashioned TV from before the wide-screen age.

    This DVD has no region code protection, and plays the PAL television format (Europe, Africa, Australia and parts of Asia). It comes as part of a small hardcover book about Albert Camus' original novel, all written in the Polish language. The set can be ordered online, but will sadly only be shipped to addresses within Poland:
    prenumerata.agora.pl/czasopisma_karta.asp?KP=LS25++&kh_x=LS

    Special thanks to Robert Eichelsheim for the "The Plague" tip, info and images!


    This update: December 20, 2006

    Agria honors Vangelis and his work

     

    It happened a while ago, as far back as September 18, but this event should certainly not be overlooked.

    As all will remember, the Municipality of Volos in cooperation with other offices have set out to rebuild the mythological ship "The Argo", and follow in Jason and the Argonauts "footsteps" by rowing the fabled journey to Colchis. The ship was baptized on September 17, in a formal ceremony, (attended by Vangelis), and is expected to set sail next summer launched by, if all goes well, a bigger public event, to be directed by Vangelis.

    As it turns out, Volos followed the ship's baptism by organizing a small but heartfelt ceremony to honor Vangelis and his work. It was held the next night, September 18 on the grounds of the Agria Railway Station.

    "It is a great night tonight. At last this great composer, Mr. Vangelis Papathanassiou, one of our own, an internationally famous music composer is honored at Agria, his birthplace. Apart from the awards he has received this man is globally known, since his music is beyond borders. It was a debt of honor for us to proceed with this honorary ceremony towards this great man, who brings glory not only to Agria but also to Thessalia and to our country. Tonight with this simple and modest ceremony we honor Mr. Papathanassiou offering him just an olive branch, according to his wish, as he is characterized by a modesty that makes him even greater."

    So said Agria Mayor Mr. Papaefthimiou according to local newspaper "Thessalia", before handing the branch to Vangelis. Reportedly, Vangelis had been offered a number of serious "award" honorings, but Vangelis modestly rejected them all, finally suggesting the olive branch from the Agria olive groves.

    Vangelis, according to the press could hardly suppress his emotions, while accepting with the words "I would like to thank all of you so much Of all the awards I have received, this is the greatest..." In addition to the branch, Vangelis was presented a small silver centaur, the mythological symbol of the district, to remember the occasion.

    In attendance was a crowd of about 1200 people, including G. Sourlas (vice-President of the Greek Parliament), Mrs. Helena Antonopoulou (deputy prefect) the Agria mayor and other dignitaries. In addition to some speeches about Vangelis' positively influencing society through his work, a short film was shown highlighting moments in Vangelis' life. People who attended the ceremony spoke of a truly magical atmosphere that made it a very special night for everyone involved.

    As newspaper Neos Typos wrote: "Simple, modest, and at the same time approachable, with no sign of pride or mannerisms, Vangelis could be nothing less than touched with emotion from the return to his home place, several years after his last visit to the place of his birth and childhood."

    The evening was ended by the Orchestra of Volos, performing for Vangelis a number of classical compositions by 2 Volos born composers, as well as Vangelis' famous themes for Chariots of Fire and 1492, Conquest of Paradise.

    Note: Both local and Greek national press covered this event. If anyone has obtained photographs (better than the small inset above), or perhaps recorded any items on the TV stations that reportedly covered the topic, such as Net, Antenna TV, MEGA TV, etc., please contact me as it would help provide a more colorful and complete update on this topic.

    "El Greco", pictures from the set...

    While production on the upcoming "El Greco" movie is paused for new series of shooting early next year, enjoy a few pictures taken earlier on one of the the movie's sets. Overall, the film is being shot on locations in Crete, Rhodes, Athens (All in Greece), as well as in Spain.

    With the film being shot in English, it looks like it will be more internationally distributed and marketed than Kavafis was. However, no distribution info is known, so far. More info here when it becomes available.


    This update: November 7, 2006

    "Chariots of Fire", the first new remaster...

    Yesterday, Universal in the UK released the first of their planned series of remastered Vangelis albums. Vangelis remastered and created new artwork for this release, which marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the soundtrack. One could speculate this is why the album precedes the other planned remastered Universal albums.

    Packed in a nice cardboard with a separate booklet inside (as some may know from the American and UK "Odyssey" releases), the album is quite an eye catcher. Added to that, the medium range price is a definite plus.

    As for the sound quality, examination of the contents shows that it is indeed a genuinely remastered album. The problem is however that the 2000 release of the album was already remastered by Vangelis, which meant a great improvement to the original CD. Comparing this new version to the original again shows this clear improvement, but the differences between the 2000 and 2006 versions are extremely subtle, and as such hard to pass judgement on. In the end, both are truly tasteful and crisp masters. In the end the best reason to listen to this version might be that the fading between tracks is just a little bit closer to the original album than the 2000 remaster was.

    On to the next remaster releases... It's quite reasonable to expect the same or even better improvements as both "Chariots of Fire" remasters showed.

    Label and catalog number: Universal 9841398, released November 6, 2006, in the UK and a number of other European countries.

     

    "Antarctica" DVD with subtitles

    Don Fennimore reports on his www.vangeliscollector.com site that Hong Kong has now seen the release of a reportedly legitimate DVD of the Japanese "Antarctica" movie, well known beyond the Japanese borders for its famous Vangelis score. Before now, the movie was only available in Japan, without English subtitles. This Hong Kong edition is said to contain English (as well as two Chinese) language subtitles.

    Of course, the disk is region encoded (for the exotic region 3), and presented in the American NTSC format, so for many of us in this world this will require a region free DVD player to be able to watch the disk.

    An online store: global.yesasia.com/en/PrdDept.aspx/code-c/section-videos/pid-1004318031.


    This update: November 3, 2006

    Mathieu DVD review

    It would truly do injustice to this DVD release, not to include a full review, now that it's been available for more than a month.

    "Georges Mathieu ou la Fureur d'tre", filmed in the same year as the famous "l'Apocalypse des Animaux", just about marked the start of Vangelis' 20 year working relationship with Frederic Rossif, which ended only due to Rossif's sad passing in 1990. It does not happen often that a historic movie which has eluded fans for such a long time, finally sees a general DVD release for today's public. It's even more rare to see it produced so well and elaborately.

     

    The movie explores the work and lifestyle of French lyrical abstraction master George Mathieu. For 55 minutes, the pleasantly eccentric Frenchman's works are shown, while exploring their context by various means. The movie is edited from interviews (both traditional and "graphic", where Mathieu is asked to draw his answers on one white piece of paper), insights into his history, philosophy and of course registrations of the painter at work. All presented in Rossif's pleasant poetic style, underscored by Vangelis' early hypnotic music.

    For anyone reading this web-site, the movie's highlight surely comes at the end, when Vangelis role shifts from background composer to actual participator in the film, as director Rossif organized Mathieu's improvisational creation of a new work to be combined with Vangelis improvising new music.

    It's a unique chance to peek back in history and catch a glimpse of how early in time really, Vangelis was already interested and quite developed in the art of creating music live, spontaneous, playing everything at once all by himself. The result in this case may not be a Chariots of Fire or Conquest of Paradise, but who hasn't allowed himself to be swayed by the hypnotic charms of unpolished and truly spontaneous music performances?

    The 13 minute scene, which has been edited down from a much longer session for obvious reasons, shows Vangelis managing to operate a cymbal, a flute and other acoustic percussion, while keeping his electronic keyboards and indeed an early synthesizer going all at once, using sustain pedals and other clever devices.

    Although Mathieu in a recent interview published on the DVD sort of denies having interacted with the music, it's hard to believe anyone can be creative without being in some way lured or at least adjusted by the power of music. Vangelis does his thing, while watching Mathieu listen and run around while stroking, throwing or smearing the paint into his wonderful shapes and images. The camera follows both of them, as well as a young girl dancer making poses that look a little lost between the aural and visual power of the two artists at work.

    As mentioned in earlier news updates, the movie has been restored and masterfully transferred for this DVD. The visual quality is sharp, bright and colorful, as if it were made recently, rather than 35 years ago. The audio has been cleaned up as well, even though there are still some small problems that cannot be fixed without hurting its authenticity. The sound comes in two variations, one made into semi stereo, for pleasant listening, the other in its historically accurate mono. English viewers can enjoy menus in English and subtitles during the movie. Everything on the disk can be enjoyed in both French and English languages.

    The disk is filled with interesting extras. There are artist biographies, photo galleries, a new interview in which Mathieu looks back at making this movie, and a wonderful photo gallery with behind-the-scenes stills, including some lively takes on Vangelis performing his music or wandering the set, none of them ever published before. The disk even includes the original scenario, used to shoot the documentary, as well as a number of letters by the principals involved. Very convenient is that the disk can also be used as a computer DVD-ROM, containing all of the photos again in high resolution.

    The DVD's package comes with a beautiful extra outer sleeve, an extra photograph, and a printed letter plus English translation. All in all, a very complete and well made product, aimed at everyone with any interest in either Georges Mathieu, Frederic Rossif or Vangelis.

    For more info on the DVD and it's availability, visit the renewed web site at www.georgesmathieu-themovie.com, which now includes Mathieu's own reaction to the DVD, in audio.


    This update: August 31, 2006

    Vangelis invited to direct event for reconstructed "Argo"

     
     

    Since a number of years now, the Municipality of Volos, in conjunction with the local Municipal Tourist Bureau and the research team of 'Navdomos' has been working on an ambitious project to reconstruct the legendary ship named "Argo". This was the ship that took the mythical Jason and his Argonauts (Greek heroes) to Colchis, to find and bring back the "golden fleece". The prestigious project is filled with symbolism, of national and international stature, attracting quite some media attention, which brings to light some interesting news.

    The City of Volos has now invited Vangelis to envision the artistic conception and execute direction of a major event, to take place in the summer of 2007, on location in Volos, when the ship will set sail for Colchis. Articles are appearing in Greek news papers and web-sites reporting that Vangelis has accepted this invitation.

    Speculation on a date for this event suggests it might happen around late May, or June next year, precise planning also depending on weather conditions.

    Volos is the capital of the Magnesia district, build close to where the ancient Iolcus used to be, Jason's home, and the supposed final resting place of the Argo. Vangelis was born in this area.

    The ship is being build using scientifically accurate ancient methods of ship building, as part of a research program of experimental naval archaeology. www.volos-city.gr writes: "This is a very ambitious project, which took years of painstaking enquiry and relevant studies." Construction has in fact almost finished, and the ship will be first launched during a small ceremony, attended by Greek and foreign dignitaries, including the Greek prime minister, on September 17, this year. This will be followed by a series of tests and evaluations that will lead up to the actual symbolic journey, the start of which should be celebrated by the envisioned Vangelis event.

    Recreating the voyage of the ancient Argo, the symbolic journey will stop at various Greek islands and cities of legend, including Constantinople, now known as Istanbul, in Turkey. The 50 oarsman, all Greek heroes in the original legends that included Heracles, Orpheus, Telamon and Jason himself, will now be assembled from representatives of all 25 EU Member States. As www.volos-city.gr writes: "We envisage Argos to belong, not only to Volos or Greece, but also the whole Europe".

    So, if all goes as hoped and planned, we have something to look forward to! More news can be found here, when things develop and unfold.

    A short selection of links:

    Thanks to Nick Samios and Sufian for their input!

    "Golden Lyre" acceptation (and more details)

    Newspapers and other press in Greece have been writing about the Delphi symposium which honored Vangelis with their "Golden Lyre of Apollo" award (see the August 18 update). Vangelis did not personally attend the ceremony. According to press releases, he wrote:

    "I am deeply touched to accept the great honor you bestow upon me, and I assure you I shall continue to create according to the universal values that the lyre of Apollo embodies. Allow me, however, to explain why I decided not to join you this evening. It was a decision I did not make lightly at all. Undoubtedly it is difficult to think there is any person, and first and foremost myself, who does not wish to feel the satisfaction of being honored in this sacred place. Personally, I feel that it is the Sanctity of the site of Delphi that does not allow me to attend and receive the "Golden Lyre of Apollo" that you award me. Let us keep these sites sacred, and I am certain that other places will be found to host the affairs of mankind."

    Articles also elaborated further on meaning of the award: "The Golden Lyre of Apollo will always be awarded to an international personality strictly fulfilling, through their general work and way of life, the criteria of furthering the elevation and advancement of ecumenical values, rationalism, humanism and classical education. This award will be bestowed with the care and expenditure of the US Regional Council of Hellenic Education to Promote the Teaching of the Greek Language, History and Culture, under the patronage of H.A.N.C.".

    Vangelis: "The reintroduction of the ecumenical values represented by the Delphic commands of 'Gnothi safton' (Know Thyself) and 'Miden agan' (Nothing in Excess) must become the basis for moulding the changing current of international culture."

    Political support came from many directions, as US Senator Hillary Clinton saluted the symposium's functions by means of a written letter. Greek Minister of Culture, Mr. Georgios Voulgarakis sent a message congratulating the undertaking and stressed the importance of reintroducing the ecumenical values of the Delphic Idea around the world, also stating that: 'Vangelis truly incorporates the essence of those ideas into his life and work.'"

    Thanks to all who emailed about this topic.


    This update: August 18, 2006

    First "Golden Lyre of Apollo" for Vangelis

    Vangelis is to be awarded the "Golden Lyre of Apollo", the highest honorary distinction by the Municipality of Delphi and the Hellenic-American National Council. A ceremony honoring Vangelis will be held at Delphi's "Frynichos Theatre" on Saturday, August 19, starting at 21:00. The proceedings will include a screening of the "Mythodea" DVD recording.

    The award is part of a new annual symposium in light of the "Revival of Delphi's Ideals". Vangelis was chosen for the honor because of "his contribution, through his work and public expression, in promoting global values." Mr. T. Spyropoulos, president of H.A.N.C. was quoted saying "Delphi is linked with the most important events in Greek history. With the institution of Amphictyony, it spread the message of friendship, brotherhood and peaceful coexistence between nations. In their totality these principles represent the 'Delphic Idea,' and so Delphi is the ideal location for such a meeting. Vangelis both in his work and public life embodies the Hellenistic philosophy as an ideology."

    Oliver Stone working on extended "Alexander" movie

    After the initial theatrical version of "Alexander" and the shorter re-envisioned "Director's Cut", released about a year later, Oliver Stone has announced he is now working on an extended version, which should reach a duration of about 3 hours and 45 minutes. That would make it almost 50 minutes longer than the original cut.

    In the interview at www.ropeofsilicon.com/news.php?id=4242%5D, Stone is quoted saying: "I'm doing a third version on DVD, not theatrical. I'm going to do a Cecile B Demille/Oliver Stone three hour forty five minute thing, I'm going to go all out, put everything I like in the movie. He was a complicated man, it was a complicated story and it doesn't hurt to make it longer and let people who loved the film and see it more and understand it more."

    As for its release: "I love working on it because I love the movie. I hope to have it done in two months, a month and a half and then it's up to Warner. It will be a catalogue item, I don't think they'll go out and make a big thing of it."

    Needless to say, it's almost impossible to lengthen the movie without using more or longer versions of Vangelis' music. One could speculate on at least the fabled uncut dance scenes.

    Blade Runner DVD box set

    The long planned, discussed and awaited deluxe DVD set of "Blade Runner" is back on track, after issues with the rights forced the project into a long delay.

    Current plans for this box include 4 disks, one for the original cut as shown in theaters upon it's 1982 release, the 1993 Director's Cut, which famously never actually represented director Ridley Scott's preferred configuration, plus an all new third version, which should finally make Scott's original ideal version come through. A fourth disk should be filled with extras related to the movie, and hopefully the music.

    Previously, only the 1993 Director's Cut has been available on DVD, in substandard quality. Even that disk had become a rarity, while Warner dealt with issues surrounding an expired license. With those problems out of the way, Warner will re release the Director's Cut in the coming months (US: September 5, UK: October 9), with improved image quality, but the old stereo sound. It seems to be only for those who can't wait for the new versions project's duration, with the box set planned for a release well into 2007. HD DVD and Blu-ray releases of the movie are also expected in 2007, but no further details are available so far.

    Delayed Mathieu DVD shipping

    The long awaited DVD release of Rossif's "Georges Mathieu ou la Fureur d'tre" (See the April 22 update) is expected to ship on August 25. The producers encountered problems due to pressures surrounding the Cannes Film Festival as well as quality issues with the artwork prints. But everything should be on track now for delivery soon. At least at this point, the DVD can only be ordered online, at www.georgesmathieu-themovie.com.

    Thanks to everyone who emailed about those topics and to Don Fennimore's www.vangeliscollector.com site for the Alexander news!


    This update: May 17, 2006

    Appearance on "Musical Express" to re-air?

    In 1981, a Spanish TV series about music visited Vangelis' studio in London. Vangelis answered questions and performed music solo as well as with Neuronium (a jam session later released as "In London"). These recordings were used for a series of 2 episodes that were dedicated to various forms of European electronic music. Vangelis mostly appeared in the 2nd episode, although the first episode showed a short preview on Vangelis' participation in the next episode.

    Spanish channel TVE50 will now re-air at least one of these 2 episodes. It looks like it's the first part that will air, on Saturday May 20, starting at 9PM local Spanish time. Artists featured in this episode are Klaus Schulze and Neuronium, but hopefully the small Vangelis preview will be included as well. There is currently no information on whether TVE50 will follow up this program with its second half, the one focussing more prominently on Vangelis.

    The channel can be received on Astra and Hispasat satellites.

    More info: www.rtve.es/tve/programo/avana/tvas2005.htm

    Thanks to Jess Mendoza for the information!


    This update: April 22, 2006

    Vangelis to score "El Greco" movie

    Seven years after Cavafy director Iannis Smaragdis started preparing a movie about Greece's most famous painter El Greco, newspapers are reporting that the project is finally going ahead filming, with the first shooting planned for August this year. Some newspaper articles confirm Vangelis' involvement, which has also been advertised on production company Alexandros Films' web site, ever since the film's development entered its financing stage.

    The movie will be loosely based on Demetris Siatopoulos' biography of the 17th / 18th century painter. The story will follow El Greco's life from 26 years old, as he sets to leave his birthplace, the island of Crete, up till the age of 40. The complete international cast will be announced at a later date.

    Because the movie is currently in the middle of pre-production, no other details about the music are currently available, but as soon as there is more news, you will find it here.

    More details on the movie in this English language newspaper article: www.hellas-in.gr/showarticle.asp?cid=289
    and on the official web-site: www.alexandros-film.gr/new/elgreco.html

    Thanks to Rubn Osuna, Demetris Christodoulides and everyone else who e-mailed about this subject.

    Pre-ordering the Mathieu DVD

     
     

    The upcoming DVD release of the Frederic Rossif documentary "Georges Mathieu ou la Fureur d'tre" can now be ordered on-line. A web-site has been set up at www.georgesmathieu-themovie.com.

    This previously unavailable documentary famously not only features Vangelis' original musical score but also shows him perform his music live, in an extensive scene where Mathieu works on a new painting.

    The audio of this DVD - presented both in English and French - has been mastered from the film's original negative, to be in the best possible quality for a movie dating back to 1972. The image quality will be perfect, as the cleaned up source is used as previously seen on a special Paris film institute screening.

    The extras include English subtitles, an extra Mathieu interview, a gallery of still photographs shot on location, including of Vangelis, biographies, the screenplay, as well as a number of letters.

    Note, the TV format of this DVD will be the PAL standard, as is common in Europe, Africa, Australia and most of Asia. Buyers from Japan or the American countries will have to be careful, as they will need more specialized equipment to play this disk.

    The special launch price for the DVD is 20 Euro, which applies only in the first three months. Payments go through Paypal, allowing the use of all major credit cards. The DVDs will ship out on May 15, the disk's official release date.

    Thanks to Yves Rescalat.


    This update: March 27, 2006

    Japanese Remasters released

     

    BMG in Japan has released their series of 4 remastered Vangelis albums. All are limited edition CDs that are packaged to look like the original LP releases in smaller shape. A format that is much desired by collectors. So much, that most online stores are already reporting some editions as sold out, without being clear whether back-ordering is still possible.

    The results of the remastering process in terms of audio quality are varying. All albums have indeed been remastered (unlike most of the Universal series from 2004, which had only been boosted digitally).

    Heaven and Hell surprisingly seems to sound less clear than both previous editions, making the old Japanese remaster still the prime choice to play. The remaster of Albedo sounds similar, but is graced with an extra layer of noise that was never there before. Beaubourg is less disappointing. Compared to the "good" German master (the album was also sold in a faulty wobbly version in most countries), it's hard or impossible to actually hear any differences, but the cut off frequency is a little higher, which might be preferred by some. The treat among these editions is "Spiral", which indeed sounds a great deal better than the strangely muffled CD we all know. More clarity and presence, due to improved higher tones make this CD finally come alive as the LP did when it came fresh from the stores in 1977.

    Thanks to Gerrit Jan Raterink for all his help.

    Other collector's gimmicks

       

    Purely for collectors' interest, the French market saw the release of this little gimmick, almost echoing the Japanese mini-LP fashion on a smaller scale. It was the Vangelis Collector site (www.vangeliscollector.com) that first reported the release of a CD single by "Magic Records", which combines the classic 7" singles of Rain and Tears and "It's Five o Clock" into one little CD EP that looks like vinyl and reproduces the two authentic sleeves (French editions), each on one side of the CD's cardboard slipcase.

    And more news for completists only, also reported by Don's Collector site involves a re-recording of an old Vangelis song. Back in the sixties Vangelis wrote a little pop tune for a cheerful summer movie called "Apollo goes on holiday" (its Greek title translated as "Operation Apollo"). The song was never released or heard outside of its existence in the movie. Now however, Greek pop singer Agni recorded and released a cover version of this piece on her album "Otan Allazei O Kairos" (When the Season Changes), available in Greek CD stores.

    Many will be interested in the announced upcoming release of Frederick Rossif's documentary "Georges Mathieu ou la Fureur d'tre" (1972), which not only had a score by Vangelis but he also appeared in it, improvising music while Mathieu performs his action painting technique. A few years ago, the movie was restored as well as screened on occasion in a French cinema (see the June 5, 2002 update). It should now finally see the light of day on DVD. The Collector Site is raising emails to advance the release for ordering on the internet.

    More details here, when this release comes nearer.

    Thanks to Don Fennimore's www.vangeliscollector.com site and to Annie Vincent.


    This update: February 10, 2006

    Japanese Remasters

    Unrelated to the rumored Polydor remasters (see the February 3 update), Sony/BMG in Japan is about to re-issue four of Vangelis' classic RCA albums: Heaven and Hell, Albedo 0.39, Spiral and Beaubourg. All of these will be remastered by the record company.

    These new releases will come as limited editions in special cardboard sleeve packaging, imitating the original LP releases, as is quite customary in Japan for collector targeted releases.

    For the new masters, BMG used the JVC K2 24bit A/D-converter. This is the follow up to the one used for the "Heaven & Hell" remaster previously available in Japan, which was always admired by audiophiles. In details (clarity, dynamics) it sounded superior to the regular Heaven & Hell releases in the rest of the world. Since all of these RCA albums were mastered quite sloppily - when they came out on CD early in the digital age - considerable improvements can be expected. For those who have the ear, attention and equipment for it.

    Release is expected on March 22, in Japan only. But specialist shops around the world sometimes import these sort of titles. Releases on BMG Japan, catalog numbers:

  • BVCM-37678 Heaven and Hell
  • BVCM-37679 Albedo 0.39
  • BVCM-37680 Spiral
  • BVCM-37681 Beaubourg
  • Thanks to Patrick Gleeson and Eric Schenker for their input!


    This update: February 3, 2006

    Rumors about remasters

    Rumors are persisting that Universal plans to release a large series of re-issued Vangelis albums, remastered by the maestro himself. This would involve the entire catalog of albums released by Polydor. More info here, when it becomes available.

    Faulty "Chariots of Fire" DVDs in Germany

    A note to people who bought the remastered Chariots of Fire DVD in its German edition. Some customers have sent emails to complain that this German edition actually contains the previous transfer of the film with mono sound and no extras, instead of the excellent new master with perfect sound and documentaries that include new Vangelis interview footage. As it turns out, this was a mistake by FOX Video Germany, shipping some of the new packaging with old disks. In other words, check your DVD and contact Fox if they gave you the wrong version. Some customers have managed to get it exchanged.
    See: www.fox.de

    For the record, this is the same version (remastered movie / extras) that was released in the States in 2004, in the UK in 2005, and has since been appearing in several other European countries including Germany, Holland and France, as well as Japan.

    News in short

    Variety, the US' leading entertainment industry magazine, published their list of "The Gorgeous 100, the best moments in music", appearing in films. Vangelis' score for Chariots of Fire was listed at #18, while the score for Blade Runner landed even better at #16, making Vangelis the only composer to appear twice in the top 20.

    Earlier, Record Collector magazine devoted a special to legendary progressive rock label Vertigo. They elected Aphrodite's Child's album "666" as the label's most important release, lauding Vangelis' creativity.

    The Brighton Documentary Film Festival saw the premiere of Suzanne Gielguds "Dancing For Oliver". Gielgud was involved in the casting of dancers for "Alexander", and followed the entire process of creating the Roxane and Bagoas dances, an experience she captured in her documentary. Although currently not up for a general release, this film should hopefully be appearing at festivals in the near future.

    The documentary, which lasts 56 minutes, includes interview snippets with Vangelis, Stone and others, shows footage from rehearsing in London and Marrakech and most notably includes uncut versions of both dance scenes, reportedly about 3 times as long as the edits used in the actual film.

    There will be more chances to see Gielgud's film, beginning March 23 at the Constellation Change festival in London, where it is part of the "Dance, Camera, Action 1" short films combination, playing at the Curzon in Soho. See:
    www.constellation-change.co.uk/Pages/film5.htm

    Vangelis' painting exhibition at the "Museo de Arte Contemporaneo" in Aguascalientes closed on January 8. There is currently no sign of any other upcoming locations / dates for these paintings.


    This update: October 16, 2005

     

    Vangelis wins WSA Public Choice Award for "Alexander"

    This year's "World Soundtrack Award" in the public's choice category was won by Vangelis for his score for "Alexander". The award was based on the public's vote at the WSA web site over the summer.

    Vangelis could not personally make it to the award ceremony in Belgium's historic city of Gent, but he sent a message in audio, to thank the public:

    "I would like to thank the people all over the world, who voted for me. And also I would like to thank the World Soundtrack Academy, which gave this opportunity to the public, to express their choice. Once again, thank you all very much."

    The ceremony was combined with film music concerts by Gustavo Santaolalla, Raymond van het Groenewoud and Rachel Portman, while composers and celebrities attending included David Arnold, Angelo Badalamenti, Stephen Warbeck, Tim Rice, Brenda Blethyn, Mike Leigh as well as Belgian politicians and celebrities.

    The other awards categories are selected by the World Soundtrack Academy members. Angelo Badalamenti was named best soundtrack composer for "Un long dimanche de fianailles", while John Williams' music for "War of the Worlds" was named best score. Game score veteran Michael Giacchino was named discovery of the year for "The Incredibles".

    An hour of highlights from the event will be broadcast on Belgian TV station "Canvas", on Sunday October 23, starting 12:30 local time.


    This update: September 15, 2005

    "Cosmos" on Discovery Science channel

     

    Many fans often speak fondly of discovering Vangelis' music for the first time back in 1980, through Carl Sagan's television series "Cosmos".

    Building on the history of two millennia of scientific progress and recent discoveries in science, astronomer Sagan explored the view of the universe from the atom and DNA molecules, to planets Mars and Saturn, and to the faraway reaches of the cosmos. With the aid of visual effects, Carl explained difficult ideas in an accessible way, and thus helped usher a new era of popular science as a mass media phenomenon. In the years to follow, the Cosmos series attracted a global reach, estimated to reach over a billion viewers.

    As Sagan turned to a versatile selection of pre-existing classical and electronic music - to create a dreamy, majestic atmosphere - the unsuspecting audience was introduced to a lot of previously unfamiliar styles and compositions, spawning perhaps more interest in musical genres than any other series ever did. Vangelis' music had the lead role, with selections ranging from Albedo 0.39, Beaubourg, China to Ignacio, while Cosmos' main title theme was taken from "Heaven and Hell".

    Vangelis wrote new music for a special 6 episode re-edit called "Special Edition", parts of which were also used in the revision of the series that is now available on DVD, through the internet and shops in various European countries.

    This month on September 27, marking exactly one day short of its 25 anniversary on television, "Cosmos" will be shown again on the Discovery Science Channel in the shape of a digitally remastered edition. It will be updated with new 3D animations replacing the scale models, static paintings from the original show, and re-interpreting the cosmic zooms and space flyby with 3D animations. Whether Vangelis' original music for the '86 version will be used, remains to be seen, but nostalgia over the original edits could be just as attractive, after all these years.

    The premiere night will broadcast two episodes at 9pm ET/PT time (check local listings), with the remainder of the series - a total of 13 episodes, as it was back in 1980 - shown during the weeks that follow.

    Check out: science.discovery.com/convergence/cosmos/cosmos.html

    Thanks to Keith Boleen for the tip!


    This update: August 26, 2005

    More Alexander DVDs

       

    Since early this month, more territories have had their local Alexander DVDs released, including for the US and the UK, Oliver Stone's new Director's Cut. Most other regions, including Holland, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, etc, have no access to this new version, at this point.

    The Director's Cut is Stone's new vision on the movie, both cutting out as well as adding new material, making the result 167 instead of its original 175 minutes. Stone has reconsidered both the large structure of the movie was well as a great number of individual scenes.

    Most of these scenes have been cut shorter, words or sentences taken out, or certain happenings have been trimmed or expanded. For instance, the Aristotle scene has the order of topics reversed, as well as a few passages of different music inserted. Roxane never puts a knife to Alexander's throat (she simply relaxes her anger), Philip has more to say to Alexander in the caves, and there's a new cave scene as flashback, just before the army's entering of Babylon. It refers to the Titans myth, which is now refered to at various points throughout the movie. Olympias also has a much extended scene of Alexander manipulation regarding his possible succession to the throne. Both battle scenes have been lengthened and have a slightly clearer progression of events. There are more details on both the poisening attempt and the mutiny in India. Aristotle now writes Alexander during the India exploration.

    Removed scenes include Hephaesteon's meeting with Alexander before the Gaugamela battle, although other Hephaesteon scenes have been lengthened (with some extended music too). Also removed is Alexander being sick after killing Clitus.

    But perhaps of greater influence are the changes in the movie's structure. Most of the family politics have been taken out of the first part of the movie, and appear scattered throughout the last part of the movie in the form of extended flash backs. This changes the balance of the movie (the first battle starts earlier, and the ending feels less slow), it also takes away a lot of context for the rest of the movie, diminishing the importance of otherwise ironic or meaningful scenes.

    All in all, there is some new and re-edited music to be heard, but a lot of music is also gone. Whether the new version is a better movie will largely depend on the viewer's taste, it's unlikely those who loved the original will actually prefer this new version. But for others it may be a new chance to enjoy the story, as well as the music.

    The US 2-DVD sets contain some interesting extras on the 2nd disk. Appart from being the first releases to actually include the "Vangelis scores Alexander" item that we know from the score's internet site (earlier Italian releases advertised it but didn't actually contain this piece), it also has a new "Behind the Scenes of Alexander" documentary, not seen on the European disks, so far. Just like the earlier "Fight Against Time" documentary, this is directed by Stone's son Sean and is also laced with Vangelis' music for the movie, including a number of passages not actually heard in the movie or on CD. However, for completists: The American releases do not include a few other Vangelis related snippets found on some European / Asian releases.

    Voting for soundtrack awards

    Every year, the World Soundtrack Awards (related to the Flanders Film Festival in Belgium) are handed to the years best film composer, film score, and to winners in a number of other categories, including the Public's Choice Award.

    Any score for a film released between July 1 2004 and June 30 2005 is eligible for this year's Public's Choice award, which does include Vangelis' music for Alexander. If Alexander was your favorite score of this period, feel free to vote at the WSA's web-site. Go to www.worldsoundtrackawards.com/news.cgi?go=detail&id=29 and search for Alexander.

    Exhibition in Aguascalientes

    Earlier this month, the painting exhibition in Mexico City closed its doors, and the paintings are now heading for the city of Aguascalientes, also in Mexico, where they will be exhibited at the "Museo de Arte Contemporaneo" [Note: not the "Instituto Cultural de Aguascalientes" as erroneously mentioned here before]. The doors will open on September 27 and close on December 18, 2005.


    This update: June 22, 2005

     

    Cavafy DVD details

    Some more details on the Cavafy DVD that was recently released in Greece. The contents are not identical to the limited edition box that has been discussed here before. To start with the bad news, this domestic Greek release does not come with English menus or even subtitles. The movie is presented for a purely Greek language audience.

    On the up side, the audio quality has been greatly improved. Where the rare box set had a problem with a fluttering sound, especially near the end (which sort of ruined the beautiful and still unreleased end title music), this DVD comes with crystal clear sound throughout. The sound is presented in two channels stereo (Dolby Digital in AC3), but according to the packaging, this contains Dolby Digital SR surround encoding.

    On the 2nd DVD, the one with the extras, the Vangelis bio has been updated. For the rest, all contents are the same as was in the boxed version, given that they are now only available in the Greek language.

    The packaging comes with an extra slip case and an 8 page booklet inside, one page with information and pictures of Vangelis.

    Ecuba details

    Irene Papas gave a press conference in Taormina, a day after the film of her Ecuba play premiered at the local international film festival.

    She explained that her film was shown because the film festival organization had invited her too. But she considers the film as yet unfinished, still working on editing it with her collaborators.

    Papas would like to see the movie partly as a "making of" for the production, while somehow still keeping the "Ecuba" story intact. The performance itself was reportedly shot with 15 cameras.

    Some Italian media are talking about a release on VHS (DVD???) soon. There have also articles talking of a possible entire series of Papas productions being filmed in this way. It's not sure whether this is related, but it seems that the new Antigone play's premiere night was filmed indeed. Perhaps this might one day lead to a release where Vangelis' new music can be heard by a wider audience.

    Antigone pictures

    Irene Papas mentions in the booklet about Antigone, that Vangelis, as a friend, wrote no less than two and a half hours of music for her "Antigone" play.

    Two photographs from the show:

     


    This update: June 15, 2005

    Reports on Antigone

     

    Irene Papas' stage play of "Antigone" is still being performed every other day in Siracuse, Italy. As time progresses, impressions of the spectacle are being sent in.

    The performance lasts almost an hour and a half, with a considerable amount of Vangelis' new music underscoring the proceedings. The music is said to cover about half the duration of the play.

    The style is being called a bit more accessible than the music for previous Irene Papas plays. Some passages can even remind listeners of Vangelis' recent score for "Alexander", for instance through the use of a Duduk, like in the track "Eastern Path".

    The choir parts in the music are actually performed live on stage: both female and male vocalists sing along the Vangelis recordings that come from speakers.

    The emotional impact of the play does not leave its spectators untouched, which can help make the experience extra special. The performance always seems to end in a standing ovation for the cast and crew.

    Collectors may be interested to hear about the goodies connected to this play. There are posters (crediting Vangelis for the music) spread throughout the city, while the event is announced in general cultural flyers. As for booklets, there are both small and large programs available. The small version only lists the entire text of the play, while the luxurious edition provides more information, including a small article about Vangelis, with a photograph.

     
     

    Ecuba movie

    This very evening, the film "Ecuba" will have its world premiere screening at the Taormina BNL Film Festival, also at the Italian Island of Sicily.

    As previously referred to in the update of October 5, 2003, director Giuliana Berlinguer filmed one of Irene Papas' performances of Ecuba at the Tor Vergata university in Rome. This was made into a cinema feature, which now finally sees the light of day. What sort of distribution plans exist for this movie is not clear at the moment.

    Vangelis of course composed the music for this play, a score which is now also part of the movie.

    For more information, see www.taorminafilmfest.it/2005/grandecinema/scheda.asp?ID=5.

    Thanks to Giuseppe Andreazza for the "Ecuba" tip.

     

    Jon Anderson re-records...

    Jon Anderson announced his next solo project on his web site. He's working on a DVD called "Work in Progress - Tour of the Universe", with new tracks as well as re-recordings of collaborations with Yes and Vangelis.

    The two Vangelis tracks on the track list announced for the DVD so far are "State of Independence" and "Change We Must", both rerecorded for the occasion. This recording of "State Of Independence" will also be released separately on a CD single, along with some other tracks and a video for the title song.

    Anderson will also tour Europe and Israel, where he is expected to play the same tracks. This follows his similar tour in the States last year.

    For more information, see www.jonanderson.com/news.html.

    Thanks to Elf for the tip.


    This update: June 11, 2005

    Cavafy on DVD in Greece

     

    Greece has finally seen a domestic release of Cavafy on DVD. Previously only a limited box set made for the film's crew with a number of copies sold privately through ebay and other internet channels existed. But the film is now available to buy for anyone in Greece. It can also be ordered through Greek web shops like http://www.dvdland.gr

    The movie is sold as a 2 DVD set, which makes it likely that the contents are identical to the earlier private box edition. More info on this and other aspects of the DVD here soon.

    Another Antigone TV item

    Irene Papas appeared on an Italian talk show to talk, amongst other things, about her Antigone play. Some fragments of the play (with indeed a few notes of Vangelis' music) could be seen, intercut with some interviews. The show can be seen here:
    http://www.international.rai.it/ilcaffe/puntate/2004-2005/20050524.shtml
    To see the broadcast, click on the RealVideo logo at the bottom of the page. The segments with Vangelis' music can be found starting at 15:09 and 32:39.

    Mexico Exhibition opened

     

    On June 7, the next installment of Vangelis' series of exhibitions has opened in Mexico City (see photograph). In parallel with Vangelis' paintings, the museum also houses a photographic exhibition focusing on Valencia, the city which organizes the tour of Vangelis' paintings. Mexican newspapers and radio stations have commented very favorably on the exhibitions.

    Thanks to Andres Eloy Martinez Rojas.

    Chariots of Fire used in.....

    Chariots of Fire is popping up in several places at once. For started, Music television station VH1 made a top 10 of sports themes and has been broadcasting the old video of Chariots Of Fire in that regard. The video shows images form the film plus shots of Vangelis playing his piano and synths. A rare chance to see this footage.

    Movie audiences are currently enjoying Chariots of Fire appearing in Dreamworks' successful new animated feature "Madagascar", with Vangelis' original track also appearing on the official soundtrack album. Television audiences at the same time can enjoy a cover version of "Chariots of Fire" used in a new Nike commercial, paying tribute to the Olympic sports movie.

    The Nike commercial can be seen here: nike.com/nikefree/usa/index.jhtml#landing,movie1

    Thanks to everyone who wrote about these topics!

    Alexander DVD extras

    Some details about Alexander extras that have appeared on DVDs, so far...

    Most Alexander DVDs with extras include the B-Roll (In Germany: Blick Hinter Die Kulissen), which contains a minute or two showing Vangelis playing. Also, earlier in the movie, some music is played on set, while the actors prepare their roles. This music did not turn up in the movie or on the album, but based on the sound one could speculate it's Vangelis. Also, almost all extra disks come with the interviews, which include a minute of Vangelis. Both this footage is similar to - but not all of it seen in - the item previously seen on the soundtrack's web site.

    Unique for the German release so far is that some of the menus come with background music not found on Vangelis' soundtrack album. Both are only short fragments, one from the film's opening theme, the other from the movie version of "Roxane's Veil".

    A number of European countries (UK, Holland) will see the new Director's Cut released only as coupled with the original movie, in a 3 DVD set configuration.

    Thanks to Reinhard Rehner for his help


    This update: May 25, 2005

    TV item on Antigone

    Italian TV station RAI broadcast an item about the Vangelis scored "Antigone" performance in Siracusa, Italy. The broadcast can be seen online here:
    www.tg1.rai.it/SITOTG/TG1_rubriche/0,8547,44,00.html

    "Antigone" is the second play featured in this broadcast.

    Thanks to Giuseppe Andreazza for the tip.


    This update: May 17, 2005

    Papas' Antigone premiered

     

    The new Irene Papas stage performance of "Antigone" - with its new original score by Vangelis - has premiered on May 14. The performance was reportedly warmly received by the audience, and rewarded with a long ovation. The premiere was attended by high government officials including Italian minister of foreign affairs (and deputy prime minister) Gianfranco Fini and Stefania Prestigiacomo, Italian minister of Equal Opportunities.

    According to an Italian news paper, Vangelis' music was an important contribution to the play's success. Read the article in Italian at www.agi.it/private/news.pl?doc=2005051...nline.palermo.

    The image on the right promotes the XII Cycle of Classical Spectacle organized by the Italian Institute of Ancient Drama, of which this stage play is one of the most important parts.

    The play is performed almost every other day and will run until June 25. More news on this, as soon as eye witness reports come in...

    "Alexander" DVD releases

     
      
     

    The Alexander DVD is getting released in more countries now. Italy's release was initially planned early, but they should finally find their discs in stores as of today. Portugal is getting it tomorrow.

    This would be the first release with an extra called "Vangelis scores Alexander", which might be the short interview feature that can also be seen on the soundtrack's web site, and was packed with the computer game in a cut-down version. This "extra" was not included in the early Danish DVD release, nor is it present on the limited edition 3 DVD set that's being sold in Asia.

    Some countries have actually seen the rental version of the movie released early, so check the rental shops if you can't wait.

    People in the States will see their DVDs released on August 3, available in no less than three options: The theatrical version as a 1-disc or 2-disc set, or the new "Director's Cut", only as as 2-disc set.

    Both 2-disc versions are said to contain the afore mentioned "Vangelis scores Alexander" item, and some other extras called "Resurrecting Alexander", "Perfect is the Enemy of God" and "The Death of Alexander". There is no sign of the "Fight Against Time" documentary which is appearing in some other countries, and which contains Vangelis' score for the movie, including some material that did not actually make it in the (theatrical) Alexander movie.

    As for the new version of the film, Warner sells it as:

    The Director's Cut includes:
    - A breathtaking new cut of this sweeping epic
    - Director's new vision of the film
    - New and extended scenes

    ABC writes on abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=755370:

    As for the speculation that the pending DVD issue of "Alexander" would be significantly different to tone down the homosexuality featured in the theatrical version, Stone said that in truth, Warner Bros. plans to release two versions of the DVD, the theatrical cut and a director's cut.

    "There are a lot of changes, a whole new third act," Stone said of the director's cut. "It's 25% changed. We lose 20 minutes and put back in 12. It was a big job (that required) two more months of editing work."

    In the mean time the artwork - or an early version of it - features the claims "Newly inspired, faster-paced and more action-packed".

    Thanks to everyone who mailed info on this topic.

    Mexico exhibition

    The dates for Vangelis' painting exhibition in Mexico have changed. The museum will officially open its doors with these works on display on June 7, and stay open until August 7, although closing dates can sometimes fluctuate a bit. Local papers and web sites report on the upcoming event, like here:
    estadis.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/282003.html

    Thanks to Andres Eloy Martinez Rojas for his input.


    This update: April 17, 2005

    Paintings in Mexico

    It looks like Vangelis' paintings are going to be shown in Mexico City soon. The "Palacio de Mineria" will host an exhibition, that could run from May 27 to July 9, however, these dates have yet to be confirmed and may still be adjusted.

    Alexander DVDs

    The first countries are seeing "Alexander" being released on DVD, with Denmark having been the first, a week or two ago. Italy expects it in the stores as of tomorrow...

    Almost all the different territories are getting a 1 DVD version as well as a 2 DVD version. Both contain the movie, the original version, as we know it from the cinema, with a duration of 176 minutes (168 minutes on PAL DVDs as the format runs movies a subtle bit faster). The 2 DVD version however comes with a large set of extras. These seem to differ slightly per country of release.

    All 2 disc versions seem to include the "Fight Against Time" documentary. This documentary by Sean Stone - Oliver's son - follows the director while conceiving and filming "Alexander". This documentary is mostly set to music from the "Alexander" score. The careful listener may detect some parts that were not actually used in the movie.

    The Danish DVD (2 disc version) includes a small excerpt from the Vangelis interview seen on the soundtrack's web site so far, as well as a bit of unedited footage of Vangelis working on the score. The Italian version promises an item called "The music by Vangelis", which could be the web interview in its entirety, or something else altogether. Time will tell.

    The Vangelis collector site at www.vangeliscollector.com also refers to a possible 3-disc set that is being released in Asia. More news will follow if this will turn out to contain more Vangelis related material.

    With these releases containing the original theatrical version, the 'newer' version Oliver Stone has been talking about is still being planned by Warner for a DVD release at a later date, probably in July.


    This update: March 20, 2005

     

    Vangelis to compose for Papas' "Antigone"

    Irene Papas is currently working on a project, which will involve her directing one of the most famous Greek classics: the tragedy "Antigone". Vangelis will compose the original music for this stage performance.

    This staging of Sophocles' play will take place at the beautiful outdoor "Greek Theater" in Siracusa on the island of Sicily, Italy.

    The premiere performance will take place on May 14, with further dates planned ranging well into June. For more information, see this web site: www.indafondazione.org/stagione/calendario05.htm

    It will not be the first time that Vangelis writes music in connection with this classic. In 1991, Vangelis ended the "Night of Poetry" concert with a series of excerpts from his (otherwise unreleased) work "Antigone", performed with soprano Markella Hatziano.

    More info here, as soon as it becomes available...

    Nuremberg

    As reported earlier, by means of a unique experiment, Frederic Rossif's memorable WWII documentary "De Nuremberg a Nuremberg" (1987) will soon play in French cinemas. The publisher has now set up a web site for its promotion: www.editionsmontparnasse.fr/nuremberg/. The movie, featured in its original 177 minute version, can be seen as of March 30.

    Oliver Stone at Berkely University

    Oliver Stone's recent appearance at Berkeley University, can be viewed on-line. Although it starts with Vangelis' "Preparation" track, the music is not discussed. Fans of the movie however, may be interested in Stone's discussion of the movie and its reception, as well as his insights on the upcoming "DVD version" of the movie, which is quite strongly suggested to have been cut down to about two hours and forty minutes.

    View the web cast from Berkeley's site at webcast.berkeley.edu/events/replay.html?event_id=193.


    This update: March 16, 2005

    More unreleased Aphrodite's Child videos on DVD

     

    BR Music has managed to dig up four more previously unreleased "Aphrodite's Child" TV appearances, and have released them on a new Demis Roussos DVD called "Forever and Ever". All these videos show Vangelis and the other band members mime to the studio recordings of the hits. This DVD includes "Rain and Tears" (b/w), "End of the World" (color), "It's Five O'Clock" (color) and "Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall" (b/w).

    The disc has been in Dutch shops since earlier this month, and is also appearing in other European countries. Also available in internet shops and at www.brmusictwo.com.

    Thanks to Mourad Gamha for the tip!

    DVD movies

    The "Missing" DVD has been appearing throughout Europe in the last month or so, including regions like Poland ("Zaginiony"), Holland and now also the UK.

    "Chariots of Fire" was released as a two disc Special Edition in the States late last year (see the November 4 update). This version, including all the extras, is now also being planned as a PAL (R2) release in the UK on April 11 this year. This version (both the UK and US versions) is especially interesting to Vangelis fans, as it contains a short but recent interview snippet with Vangelis.

    In the mean time, Oliver Stone has been seen mentioning "the longer version of Alexander" (his words), which could mean that the reported future re-edit of the film might actually be expanded, compared to the theatrical release. However, he also mentioned a two and a half hour version, referred to in this article: www.dailycal.org/article.php?id=18029, leaving it unclear whether that deals with the re-edit, or an ideal, since the original version which was five minutes short of three hours... Time will tell.

    Thanks to Zygaja and Martin Dodd for their input.


    This update: February 9, 2005

    "Ace Up My Sleeve" on DVD

    One of the more obscure movies enjoying a Vangelis soundtrack is the 1975 dark comedy "Ace Up My Sleeve", directed by Ivan Passar.

    As it seems now, Greek label Audiovisual Enterprises decided to release the movie on DVD, somewhere in the past year. It was produced in small numbers and unfortunately is now already very difficult to find, even in Greek DVD stores. It is however the first and so far only chance to see this movie on DVD.

    Some details: The original mono sound is included, as well as a 5.1 (6 times mono) encoding. Visually we see the German version titled "Frankenstein's Spukschloss", the image quality is rather good for this old and obscure a movie. Sadly, the end titles have been cut off. The DVD's menu includes music from Vangelis' score but it's taken directly from the movie's opening, being mono with quite some noise. The packaging promises a theatrical trailer but this is not included. The spoken language is English with Greek subtitles that can be turned off.

    Nuremberg in the cinema

    Frederic Rossif's 1988 World War II documentary series "De Nuremberg a Nuremberg" is going to circulate in French cinemas again. Distributor CBO Box Office announced a 7 week circulation that should start at March 30.

    Vangelis composed the original music for this series, which since its original theatrical release has been released on VHS and DVD. Amongst those releases were versions including the original 3 hour version but also containing an extended 4 hour version. It looks like the planned theatrical rerelease involves the original 3 hour cut.

    More info on:
    www.cbo-boxoffice.com/page000.php3?Xnumitem=110&inc=fichemov.php3&fid=7288

    Alexander album in Japan

    As of today, the Alexander soundtrack is also officially available in Japanese CD shops. See the January 5 update for a glance at its alternative cover design.

    Thanks to Seiya Hirano!

     

    This update: February 3, 2005

    Paintings in Santo Domingo

    Vangelis' paintings have now entered Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where they will be shown at the Museo de Arte Moderno.

    The exhibition opens tonight, at 8pm, in the presence of Consuelo Ciscar Casaban, president of the Museum Ivam in Valencia, as well as other high Spanish and local officials. The paintings will be on display until April 11.

    This exhibition is organized under the auspices of the Generalitat Valenciana and the local government. For more information about the museum, see Yahoo's information page at:
    travel.yahoo.com/p-travelgu....

     

    This update: January 19, 2005

    "Cousteau" DVD in France

     

    As most of us know, Vangelis wrote original music for a number episodes of Jacques Cousteau's underwater wildlife series. The two most famous episodes, focussing on Indonesia and Sumatra, have now been released on DVD in France.

    The DVD is number 29 in a series called "La Collection Cousteau", which is released like a magazine, appearing one issue at the time, every two weeks, being sold in news stands and magazine shops around France.

    The disc's two episodes are formally called "Les Vergers De L'enfer" (The Devil's Orchards) and "Le Coeur De La Mer" (The Heart of the Sea), both with new unique Vangelis music.

    Because these DVDs are sold by news stands rather then the regular DVD shops, it's a little bit more difficult to acquire them through the internet, but those who are interested may want to try the following online magazine shop:
    www.journaux.fr/revue.php?id=92710

    Thanks to Olyam for the tip!

    Alexander in Spain

    Spanish fans may want to check their stores, as Sony has released Vangelis' soundtrack album for "Alexander" today. The movie is a big success in Spain where in one week time, more than a million and a half people went to see it.


    This update: January 13, 2005

    "For your consideration" promo details

     

    It's time for a more in-depth look at the "For Your Consideration" promotional CD-R, which has been the subject of many fans and collectors' curiosity over the past few weeks.

    This special version, used by Warner Brothers to promote the films score for awards consideration, turns out to be closer to the regular album than expected. It remains very different from the actual score in the movie. The opening, Young Alexander, Gaugamela, Across the Mountains and other pieces are all still included on this CD, just as we know them from the commercially available album.

    The differences can be summed up as the removal of four tracks and the inclusion of two unreleased tracks.

    Removed are "One Morning at Pella" (which was not actually used in the movie), Roxane's Veil (which was very different in the movie), Dream of Babylon (one of the tracks that literally came from the film's score) and Tender Memories (which was performed differently in the movie).

    To make up for Tender Memories' removal, the actual film version of this track has been included. The soft but spirited track, performed by Vangelis on harp and strings beautifully accompanied scenes with the young Alexander and his mother Olympias. The other unreleased track included on this promo also appears in those scenes. A delightfully positive melody is played on harp and strings. This track seems to replace the "One Morning at Pella" track.

    Also, with the removal of "Dream of Babylon", "Immortality" now segues into "Eternal Alexander", slightly increasing the "Immortality" track's duration.

    Collectors will wonder about their chances to purchase this CD. Officially, the answer is "none", but of course some of these discs given to journalists and award voters can sometimes turn up in the 2nd hand circuit. But with such a big demand, the prices can go sky high. The one copy appearing on Ebay in the past weeks was sold for more than US$1400.

    No actual track list is provided with this CD-R, but when compared with the normal album, it would be something like this:

       1.  Introduction                     1:31
       2.  Young Alexander                  1:35
       3.  Titans                           3:59
       4.  The Drums of Gaugamela           5:19
       5.  [new track]                      1:51
       6.  Roxane's Dance                   3:24
       7.  Eastern Path                     2:54
       8.  [Tender Memories - film version] 1:42
       9.  Gardens of Delight               5:20
       10. Bagoas' Dance                    2:28
       11. The Charge                       1:40
       12. Preparation                      1:41
       13. Across the Mountains             4:12
       14. Chant                            1:38
       15. Immortality                      3:36
       16. Eternal Alexander                4:43
    

    Special thanks to HARADA Yasuhiro for all his help on this topic.

    More Alexander news

    The Entertainment industry press has been writing about the "Alexander" movie's commercial results picking up rather well in the international markets, after the disappointing results in the United States. Critical reaction to the film is usually balanced much more positively than in the States, although it's still a colorful mix ranging from very negative to very positive.

    The press in France was spoiled with promotional material containing the "Alexander" soundtrack. This press booklet contains Vangelis' album, attached to the back of the cover, accompanied by a text about Vangelis' contribution to the move. The CD is the regular version, as is commercially available.

     

    Another Vangelis interview was published. This time he agreed to talk to a reporter for Portuguese weekly news paper "Expresso". The article was published in nr. 1680, released on January 8. Fans in India can now also enjoy Peter Culshaw's article previously published in "The Daily Telegraph" as it has now also been published in India's English language newspaper "The Daily Pioneer".

    The First reports about Alexander being planned for release on DVD are coming in. In the States, Alexander was announced to become one of the fifty first HD-DVD releases: a new standard that might form the next generation of DVD players. This release is projected for late 2005. A regular DVD release is expected much sooner, possibly as early as April. No details on the contents so far, but the New York Times and other newspapers have been publishing rumors that Oliver Stone might be editing a "more accessible" version of the film, for its DVD release.

    The German DVD rental market expects the DVD around May. A "premium" edition has been announced, which should contain 2 discs full of extras. In the mean time, German fans will be able to enjoy the German release of "Missing" ("Vermisst"), the first release of this movie on the PAL format. No word yet on the language being available in English or only German.

    Thanks to Hotte for the German information.


    This update: January 6, 2005

    Daily Telegraph interview

    Vangelis' picture features today on the front page of UK's "Daily Telegraph", Britain's best selling quality newspaper. The music section of the January 6 issue contains a large page sized article, written by journalist Peter Culshaw who interviewed Vangelis at a hotel in Athens.

    The article can also be read at the paper's on-line edition. It will be easily accessible in the first few weeks, after which it will require visitors to register before reading the article. Find it at:
    www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main...

     

    This update: January 5, 2005

    Alexander - Japan

    Alexander's soundtrack album will be released in Japan on January 19, featuring a third design for the album's cover. A little later, the Mythodea concert on DVD will finally see a domestic Japanese release on February 2. While checking DVDs, Japanese fans might also want to keep their eyes open for a reissue of "Chariots of Fire" and the first Japanese release of "Missing".

    Thanks to Seiya Hirano.

     

    This update: December 28, 2004

    "Alexander - For your consideration" promotional CD

    With the awards season approaching rapidly, movie companies campaign to try and catch attention for their movies, hoping to reach those with the privilege to vote for nominations or awards. Soundtracks are traditionally promoted by special CDs. Warner, distributor of "Alexander", is doing exactly that with Vangelis' score. The CD cover contains no images, but has a Warner logo and is marked "For your consideration" and "Best Original Score". However, it is not only the cover design that is different.

    As with almost all of Vangelis' soundtrack releases, the album we find in the shops is tailored to be a good Vangelis album, not so much a literal collection of cues taken from the movie. Some of the pieces we hear on the album are longer or more elaborate than the original score, while other themes heard in the movie do not appear on the album at all, or have been edited shorter.

    As it turns out, this "For Your Consideration" version of the CD contains a different selection of the music, one that is faithful to the score in the movie, choosing only these exact pieces and versions that can be heard in the movie. This alternative CD is a bit shorter than the commercially available album, but is bound to contain a lot of interesting alternative versions or themes.

    Obviously, this CD is only available to selected people working in the industry, as well as a group of journalists, so for music enthusiasts, obtaining this version will be next to impossible. More news here, as soon as anyone finds a way to properly compare these two versions....

    Yannis Tsarouchis Book contribution

    Last December 15, the new building of Athens' Benaki museum hosted the presentation of a special book release dedicated to one of Greece's most popular painters, Yannis Tsarouchis (1910-1989).

    The book contains a selection of 25 articles about Tsarouchis, written by other celebrities who were friends or admirers of his work. Vangelis is one of those who contributed. Other celebrities writing in the book include Hatzidakis, Ksarhakos, Theodorakis, Melina Merkouri as well as her husband Zyl Dassen. Their writings are presented both in Greek and English.

    Apart from the normal, commercially available edition of the book, there will also be a special edition, limited to 120 numbered copies, each of which has been signed by 424 celebrities, including Vangelis. This special edition comes with 37 photographs of Tsarouchis' paintings and several handmade envelopes, packaged in an exclusive box. It's being sold for 6000 Euros.

    "Venice Magazine" interview

    The current December / January issue of Venice Magazine, a Los Angeles based arts and entertainment publication, includes another new interview with Vangelis. In the 3 page article "Scoring Favors the Bold" Vangelis is asked about his work creating the score for Alexander, and topics such as Blade Runner, Bitter Moon, electronics vs orchestra and all the other likely questions, but it does in fact provide a fresh take on things. At this moment, the interview cannot be read on-line. The magazine can be found in Los Angeles shops, for at least a few more weeks.


    This update: December 16, 2004

    "Alexander" updates

     

    The French release of the soundtrack album, in shops since Monday December 13, features a completely different cover design, and a French spelling of the film's title, "Alexandre". The artwork used on this CD actually matches the official movie poster used in most of Europe's cinemas. The CD design as we know it throughout the rest of the world matches the movie posters as used primarily in the USA.

    The soundtrack album, with the cover design we know from earlier releases, has also been confirmed available in Italy, since December 6.

    Note that the bonus track "Bizarre Bazaar" so far exclusively appeared on the limited editions released in Germany (+ Austria and Switzerland) and the Borders books and CD store throughout the United States.

    Thanks to Franois Mouret, as well as Nicola from Italy.


    This update: December 12, 2004

    "Variety" interview

    "Variety", perhaps the most famous magazine for the entertainment industry, conducted an interview with Vangelis. The article can be found in the December 8 issue of the magazine, but they have also published it on their web site, limited to subscribers only:
    www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=upsell_article&articleID=VR1117914571&cs=1

    However, Yahoo has also published the text in their news section, freely accessible at
    news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/variet...

    "Alexander" updates

    The Alexander album has been confirmed released in The Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, South Africa and Korea. The French should finally be able to buy the album tomorrow, Monday December 13.

    Sony has organized a new price giveaway, a link to which has been added to the score's official site (www.alexandersoundtrack.com).

    Thanks to Milan Fari, Kim ho gyum.


    This update: December 7, 2004

    Interview on "soundtrack.net"

    Soundtrack.net, one of the most important film score web sites on the internet has had the rare chance to have an interview with Vangelis. Dan Goldwasser asked about the Alexander score, its orchestra, Blade Runner and the thought of a second "Alexander" album. Find it all at
    www.soundtrack.net/features/article/?id=134.

    The recent Hollywood Reporter article can also be read online:
    www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/music/feature_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000720522.


    This update: December 1, 2004

    "Alexander" releases

     

    "Alexander"'s soundtrack album has been released in Germany and neighboring Swiss and Austria on November 29. By Traditionally a very big market for Vangelis' music. Germany, as announced earlier has a "limited edition" of the album, containing the decidedly electronic "Bizarre Bazaar" as bonus track. It seems in these German regions only this limited edition has been released at this point, the regular version will probably replace this when they produce their next pressings.

    Television commercials for the album - not the movie, but specifically the music - have been spotted on Hungarian TV, another region where Vangelis is traditionally very popular.

    Vangelis' "Alexander" is also out in Canada. No bonus tracks.

    "Alexander" game

    UBI soft's game for the "Alexander" movie has been released in a few countries, and will continue to be released throughout the world in the next few months. The game, as explained earlier includes Vangelis music from the album during menus and movies that are shown during the game. In-game action music however has been written by game composers, not by Vangelis, but possibly slightly based on Vangelis' original score.

    The "Making of" material promised in the game's demo indeed involves the Vangelis interview movie that can also be seen on the web site for this score. It's in better quality than the on-line version, however it has also been shortened by one and a half minute. There are some movie segments containing footage from the film, but all the music that comes with them is material from the soundtrack album, not the music as heard in the film.

    UBI soft promotes the Vangelis material as being part of a "limited edition". Since the game is not really distributed as limited or normal, it looks like this migth mean the material is only part of the first, or perhaps the first few editions. And not necesarily any future re-releases.

    Movie

    The movie in the mean time is being greeted with very mixed reviews. There seem to be more negative conclusions than positive ones, and some critics really try to slaughter the movie as badly as they can. Still, decidedly positive reviews do keep popping up, and the film is actually gathering a certain fan base, probably due to the same unconventionality that makes others dislike it so much.

    The first reactions in Europe are already a lot better than in the States, with some magazines lauding it as a true masterpiece. In the end, there is no other way to find out about this movie than going to see it for yourself. Do remember "Blade Runner", also put down and stamped on at the time of its release; it was totally misunderstood, under appreciated as people were blinded by its stunning visuals, narration and unconventionality. It all sounds so very familiar now.

    The soundtrack album still has received unanimously positive (lauding) reviews in the professional press all over the world. Perhaps a better reaction by the critics than ever before. A few of the fans my be disappointed hoping for a more electronic album or longer tracks, the rest of the world seems very excited by this album.

    Technical difficulties kept the reactions email address out of the air for a while. If you still want to submit your reacion to the album for this news section send it to reactions@pixelsweat.com. Please limit your review to about 75 words.

    Thanks to Robert Eichelsheim and Vince from Canada.


    This update: November 18, 2004

    "Alexander", the world premiere

    Screaming crowds awaited the arrival of Colin Farrel, Angelina Jolie and the other stars at the red carpet leading into Grauman's Chinese Theater (Hollywood, LA) where "Alexander" officially premiered last Tuesday. Inside the theater, director Oliver Stone was welcomed with a warm standing ovation, before he thanked as many as he could, asked for applause for the film's stars, and then introduced his new movie.

    Enjoy for instance these reports, as they appeared in the press:

  • www.usatoday.com/life/people/2004-11-17-alexander-premiere_x.htm
  • www.mtv.com/news/articles/1493807/20041117/story.jhtml
  • Possible spoiler alert: the following impressions may give away details that are best experienced first hand. Consider whether you want to read this before you see the movie...

    "Alexander", the movie

    Tastes can differ, maybe more than ever when ground breaking directors like Oliver Stone get the chance to work on something as big and ambitious as "Alexander". There's been a certain buzz on the internet, and in certain circles, that the movie would not live up to its expectations. It would be a mess or even boring. This may be true for some. It very well is not for others. In the end, it will be for everyone to decide personally.

    If I may offer my personal view, I can only say that it was totally fascinating for me. Where one might expect a heroic account of history's most charismatic leader, Stone fiercefully explores the shadowy sides of Alexander's past. His unfulfilled dreams rather than his conquests. His doubts and anxieties, even his failures rather than his flawless successes. Maybe this creates a more intellectual rather than heartfelt approach, and perhaps this disappoints those who were looking for a feel-good rant about heroism and leadership. But this could very well be more true to reality and it certainly leaves more fascinating thoughts to play with, long after the movie has ended.

    Although I can see some of the flaws here and there, the overwhelming impression is of its scale, its complexity, the bravery of making the film like no one expected. The story sometimes tells one thing, but shows another, leaving doubt and personal interpretation to the viewer. There are no good guys, there are no bad guys. No heroes or villains. No pure victory and no pure defeat.

    The production quality - and the way this works out in the movie - is immense. The battle scenes left me gasping for breath. Even at its slightly boring moments - there are some parts where the story starts to drag a bit - the film would still impress with picture perfect visuals, set designs and music. I could not do anything but be swayed by it.

    As for its critics, I'd say the movie is perhaps simply too European to be appreciated in Hollywood. Too dark and too theatrical, at least compared to what people expected. American critics may hate it, or they may still love it. In the end, they do not have the final say. History showed, with films like Blade Runner, that if they are powerful enough, a devoted audience can keep them alive and as false expectations fade in time, naturally propel them to their rightful place in cinematic history. Watch for homage as well as parody, in the years to come. And see it for yourself, in the biggest theater you can find.

    "Alexander", the music in the movie

    It won't be a surprise for anyone who's followed Vangelis' endeavors in film scoring, that Alexander's soundtrack album is not just a literal adaption of score cues from the movie.

    Ironically, the only minor points that professional reviewers so far managed to find on the album - that it might miss a certain complexity of thematic structures found in other great scores, that it would miss subtly timed mood changes interacting with events occurring in scenes - these comments do not at all apply to the music in the movie. The score is precise, complex, well timed and minutely underscores the dramatic unfolding of events at every desirable level.

    Yes, that does mean that the music differs from the album. To begin with, this three hour movie seems to have music going for maybe more than 2 hours of its time. There's a wealth of music to be found in the film that cannot be heard on the album. From strong darkly dramatic scenes, to subtle, gentle mood setters, to uplifting heroic climaxes. Some recurring themes, heard especially in the last part of the movie, are not represented on the album at all.

    On top of the extra music, quite a few of the pieces in the movie simply differ from the album versions. "Roxane's Veil" stands out the most. Arranged completely differently, missing Vanessa Mae's violin playing, the film version of this theme is not one bit less powerful than it's much lauded album counterpart. The long "Gardens of Delight" track appears very briefly in the movie and has transformed completely: Only a perceptive ear will notice its reference. "Across the Mountains" in the film is more sedated: missing its orchestral rhythmic drive, it turns into an impressive hypnotic lament. Even the opening of the movie differs from the album. In a much longer and perhaps more mysterious take on this music, the "Introduction" track slowly builds to its climax to transport us to these ancient times.

    Many of the melodies that we know from the album, like for instance "Eternal Alexander", return throughout the movie in different style and pacing. It is only at the end credits sequence that "Eternal Alexander" plays in full glory in the shape we know. It is preceded by (a shorter version of???) Titans and followed by the albums closing track "Tender Memories".

    The fun side of these differences is that this provides another chance to rediscover the music all over again. The frustrating side will be that once again a great selection of inspired Vangelis soundtrack cues one might fall instantly in love with in the movie, cannot be enjoyed outside of its original context, without sound effects and dialog obscuring the music. We've seen this happen with "Blade Runner", "1492", and frankly all of his other movie scores. One can only hope that the trend - set by successful scores like Horner's Titanic and Zimmer's Gladiator - will be followed up for Alexander; both mentioned soundtrack albums saw the release of follow-up albums filled with additional unreleased tracks and appropriate "inspired by" music from the hands of the same composer.

    For now, simply rejoice in the upcoming chance to hear Vangelis at work, once again. Hear his music in the context it was made for. Experience the film, live the story and explore these ancient times, of Alexander the Great. Soon, in a theater near you.


    This update: November 16, 2004

     
      
     

    "Alexander" official world premiere

    Roads around the Grauman's Chinese Theater at Hollywood Boulevard have been closed off today, as final preparations are under way to make things ready for the official world premiere of "Alexander". The film screening should start tonight at 19:00 local Los Angeles time.

    Expected to show up on this occasion are of course the film's principle cast and crew, such as Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Rosario Dawson, Jared Leto, Christopher Plummer, Elliot Cowan, director Oliver Stone, as well as producers Moritz Borman, Jon Kilik, Thomas Schuhly, and Iain Smith.

    Celebrity guests reportedly expected to attend include Paula Abdul, Angela Bassett, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, Jaqueline Bisset, Alexis Bledel, Bow Wow, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Costner, Brad Delson, Aaron Eckhart, Angie Everhart, Gael Garcia Bernal, Nicholas Gonzalez, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Haysbert, Djimon Hounsou, Quincy Jones, Spike Jonze, Sean Lennon, Jason Lewis, Juliette Lewis, Christopher Lloyd, Eva Longoria, Roma Mafia, David Mamet, Michael Mann, Chris Tucker, and many more.

     

    Hollywood Reporter interview

    The November 16-22 issue of Hollywood Reporter - a special about "Fall Film & TV Music" includes a 4 page interview article with Vangelis. Reporter Ada Guerin spoke with Vangelis about working with Oliver Stone, being inspired by the topic of Alexander, and the power of film music. The same issue also contains a page sized "For your consideration" advertisement for Vangelis' Alexander score.

    More reactions

    Some more reactions on Vangelis' "Alexander" soundtrack from Elsewhere readers around the globe:

    Albert Aalbers - The Netherlands - Vangelis he's back with this great new album, the music is very nice and smooth and the great sound when i heard the first track i think yes he's back.

    Patrick Gleeson - Limerick, Ireland - Another triumph for Vangelis!
    With sweeping landscapes of sound, gorgeous melodies, intricate arrangements, and sumptuous orchestrations, Vangelis again succeeds where so many others fail -producing a soundtrack that stands on its own merits outside the cinema experience - as well as being an essential element to the film itself.
    >From 'Titans', 'Bagoas Dance', and 'Across the Mountains', every facet of Vangelis styles are here, and rewards repeated listening.
    Superb.

    Robert Szewczyk - Gdansk, Poland - Once you get used to Vangelis' work always being a surprise - it's no surprise to hear what you hear on Alexander OST. The music is huge both in terms of orchestration, variety, melody and this ethnic touch V. is so great in. A truly epic music for probably the most epic movie of 2004. Definitely same class soundtrack as 1942: Conquest... On the other hand - I miss the old style, chamber Vangelis soundtracks, just like Chariots of Fire, Blade Runner or Bitter Moon. But since Mythodea it's obvious V. is now going for more symphonic, rich instrumental endeavours.

    Lee Haynes - England - Musically Vangelis has created a masterpiece worthy of awards. Roxane's Veil is sublime. some of the mixing is criminal however. Poor fade outs have spoilt some of the tracks by cutting the music off. Vangelis has re installed my faith in him as my musical idol.

    Michael Daniels - Waterford, Ireland - Oscar? who cares!!! Vangelis has made another beautiful and unique album that i will certainly be still listening to in years to come. the percussion, powerful and lingering melodies prove to the fans what a special and somehow personal feeling you get from Vangelis. 1492, Bladerunner etc., all have something Zimmer, williams, and horner cannot accomplish in their film scores.

    Fernando HOYA - Suisse - J'ai pu couter les premiers extraits de la bande original son du film Alexandre le Grand, c'est tout simplement fantastique, digne du surdou artiste compositeur Vangelis, aussi extraordinaire que les bandes originales des films tels: Chariots of fire, Blade Runner, Antarctica, Conquest of Paradise. Je connais bien le parcours et la discograhie de l'artiste, pour ma part, la bande son du film Alexander est trs prometteuse et absolument magnifique!
    ... Je m'en rjouis d'avance ...

    Stephen Cairns, England, UK - I was like a child with a new toy as I inserted the Alexander CD, aware of the fact this was a rare moment to be savoured. I was not to be disappointed. The music itself is quite varied in style, from dramatic pieces, to quiet, reflective tracks. There is a multi-ethnic feel to the music. Highlights include "Titans" , the outrageously dramatic "Drums of Gaugamela", and the beautiful "Across the Mountains". Wonderful.

    Marius - This album is absolutely amazing! After listening to it for so many times I have formed a clear opinion about it. First of all, it is addictive like every other Vangelis album. It brings the listener to another world, from an ancient past, when humans were much more raw and wild, but the beauty of their feelings and dreams were sublime, as they have always been. The themes are so majestic and inspiring, reflecting the motivating influence Alexander had on his armies. The battles tracks are raw and fresh, reminding of the primitive fight for existence. This music brings the ancient times to life, making them universal and eternal.

    Thanks everyone for your input.

    Released...

    Confirmations have come in from both Norway and Israel that the Alexander soundtrack is now domestically available. In Hong Kong it was found at an HMV store, so it should be out there, too, unless HMV imported it.

    Thanks to Brage Midtsund, Frantisek and Yuri Savransky.


    This update: November 10, 2004

    Alexander updates

    The "Alexander" soundtrack has now also been confirmed available in Hungarian shops.

    Germany, as it turns out, is not the only country to get the limited edition with bonus track "Bizarre Bazaar". Popular CD chain "Borders" in the USA are selling a limited edition as well. The extra track, "Bizarre Bazaar" like in Germany, is actually referred to as a "Borders Exclusive Bonus Track" on the CD's artwork.

    Thanks to Zoltn Horvth and Rob Barfield

    Reactions...

    Here's the first reactions that have come in so far. As time goes by - and the album gets released in more parts of the world - there will be more sets of opinions published here. Remember to keep it to about 75 words or less.

    Patrick Runkle - Vangelis has rescued film scoring! With a bold, melody-driven production tour de force, Alexander is the film score that fans have been looking for. It's not just a Hans Zimmer-esque wash of sound. It's big, bold, and full of non-generic ethnic instruments. And it sounds like big V cranked up the CS80 for real this time. I love it.

    Bruno Pinheiro, Portugal - Vangelis' Alexander soundtrack is mind-shattering, to say the least. Even in more atonal pieces like Bagoas' dance, you can feel the epic scale of History itself coming to life in the richness of the music. Sometimes, the music quality doesn't live up to the movie productions... with this one, we have to turn the equation around and wonder if Oliver's Stone images are worthy of such colossal achievement. Let's hope so...

    Timothy Dugdale - A mixed bag.
    As far as bombast goes, nobody does it better than vangelis. This film is a perfect venue for him to go wild. "titans" is overwhelming. The percussion throughout is fantastic.
    Frankly, though, i've had it with the racket. As the years have gone on, vangelis' sound has grown more and more anticeptic. The addition of an orchestra and choirs can't hide this fact.
    Call me unrealistic but i'm waiting for a more experimental work from vangelis. Something smaller, quieter and more challenging.

    Martin Dodd - Wales, UK - Similar to John Barry, Vangelis uses recognisable melodies to accompany the action and Alexander has its fair share of them. I was expecting Titans to sound like Rhapsodies - To The Defending Female General, yet a rousing piece has been produced that would not be out of place from his 1995 album voices. Tender Moments is classic spontaneity that has a sound similar to Antarctic Echoes.

    Henk Engelen, The Netherlands - The Alexander CD is another milestone in Vangelis' musical releases.
    The opening track hits the target right away. Nice build up, beautiful piece! The Drums of Gaugamela, wow, it just keeps lingering. Across the Mountains, you keep humming it forever. I can keep going.
    Imagine what it will be like, when we hear it with the movie's images!
    As soon as it's finished, there is only one possibility: play it again as soon as possible. Again and again!! Bravo Vangelis.

    Eileen O'Brien, New York, USA - Wow! It gave me chills on the first listening and is still giving them to me on the seventh. The four opening tracks have me seeing the movie, without yet actually seeing the movie. And I love the journey through the eastern lands and then back to the big themes and sweetness at the end. But while I adore this new music from Vangelis, I am also crazy for the new depth of sound he has managed to create on this CD. I don't know if it's modern technology or the use of the orchestra or both, but he has certainly made the sound even bigger than ever. Hope the film lives up to the music.

    Frank van Bree, the Netherlands - Amazing! The orchestra sounds like Vangelis himself, but more epic than ever. I loved this album from the first time I listened to it. The only thing I might wish different: I wish it would never end.

    Thanks to all who contributed. More reactions are still welcome...


    This update: November 9, 2004

    Released in the United States and Finland

    The "Alexander" album has been released nationwide in the United States. Many American fans will be happy that this time they can be one of the first to buy a new Vangelis album.

    The album is also confirmed to be available in shops in Finland.

    Reactions

    It will be interesting to share reactions from around the world, on this site. If you wish to share your feelings on this album, write a short review to this specific e-mail address: [Changed, now send to:] reactions@pixelsweat.com. Please don't make your text any longer then 75 words. Clearly indicate your name, and optionally your geographical location and / or your e-mail address). New reactions will be manually added here every few days.

    Thanks to Travis Johnson and Jukka Nyyssonen for the confirmations.


    This update: November 8, 2004 (again)

    First reactions / sweepstakes

    Reactions to the album so far are overwhelming. Another review to be found at www.soundtrack.net/soundtracks/database/?id=3777 shows again that the results are received with great enthusiasm by film score enthusiasts: lauding reactions with so far not even one exception. It's reassuring that this soundtrack should be able to reach out to a very big audience. The usual Vangelis fans who are writing in seem unanimous that this CD gives all that they look for in Vangelis' albums.

    In addition to Soundtrack.net's earlier international sweepstakes (www.soundtrack.net/contest/index.html?id=alexander), Sony is now also celebrating with sweepstakes on their official soundtrack page. Curiously not accessible from the front page, follow this direct link to enter the contest:
    www.alexandersoundtrack.com/win/screening
    They will reward two winners separate invitations for two to attend a special early screening of the movie in New York. Transportation not included. On top of this, the winners receive the soundtrack album, a poster, and a digital photo camera. This giveaway is only available for US residents.

    Here follows a photograph of what the actual CD looks like:


    This update: November 8, 2004

    "Alexander" released

    "Alexander" is in the shops. At least, in the first countries where it gets released. It's confirmed in Ireland (always in line with the UK) and Portugal.

    The release in France seems to have been delayed, possibly to December 6.

    Thanks to Patrick Gleeson.


    This update: November 7, 2004

    "Alexander" album to be released in the first regions

    Tomorrow, November 8, should be the day that the first copies of Vangelis' new album "Alexander" reach the first stores. Britain - possibly not all of Britain, but at least some important parts of it - as well as Norway and France are reported to have it scheduled for release this Monday. The USA of course should see the release of the album a day later on the much published Tuesday November 9. This page will be updated as soon as confirmations come in. Feel free to mail your findings to d.lodewijks@chello.nl, but please, only if you actually did manage to buy the CD in a store in your country.

    A few new expected album release dates to report: Japan: January 19, Sweden: November 17, Italy December 6.

    Thanks to Giuseppe Andreazza and Dan Ferna.


    This update: November 5, 2004

    "Alexander" game demo

    As announced earlier, UBI soft's computer game for "Alexander" will also be using Vangelis' music for the movie. A demo of this game is now available.

    During installation of the game, the screen informs us with some good news: As a bonus, the game will come with an "interview with Vangelis and 'making-off footage of the movie soundtrack'". This likely refers to the 5 minute movie which can also be seen as a video stream on the soundtrack's official site, but could provide a better quality. Also, it will be good to be able to view this footage even after the soundtrack site may have disappear, one day in the future.

    The main menu is accompanied by "Dream of Babylon", track 17 of the album, which includes a synthy reprise of the now already well known "Titans" theme.

    Two pieces of music can be heard while playing the demo levels, but these sound very different from the known "Alexander" music. It seems this has been composed by someone else, especially for the game. More info on this, if it becomes available.

    This demo version (for Windows PCs) can be download, visiting the following page:
    www.3dgamers.com/games/alexander/downloads

    Thanks to Hallvard Fagerland for the tip.


    This update: November 4 (again), 2004

    "Alexander" soundtrack site updated

    Sony has updated their web site for the "Alexander Soundtrack. The design has changed to match the CD's artwork and the excerpts from the Sony Classical site can now be listened to directly of the page.
    www.alexandersoundtrack.com


    This update: November 4, 2004

    "Alexander" updates

    Another raving review of Vangelis' "Alexander" score album can be found on one of the most important film score sites:
    www.filmtracks.com/titles/alexander.html.

    More opinions, so far consistently positive, can be found as user comments on sites such as the German www.amazon.de.

    Release dates for the album around the world are still very unclear. Sony's November 9 date mostly seems to refer to the United States. Britain, Norway and France will get it a day early on November 8, while Germany has to wait till November 29. Poland will get it somewhere between December 17 and 20.

    As for the movie's theatrical release, quite some of the dates mentioned earlier have changed. Sweden for instance should be able to see it as soon as November 19. Poland however has to wait until January 3.

    If you live in the States and you pre-order Alexander now on www.amazon.com, you will earn the right to listen to the entire album on-line, until the CD has been sent out. This special service temporarily licenses you to listen to a 64Kb stream, which is not as good as the CD, but certainly quite listenable. Note that this is only available to customers actually living in the USA.

    Special edition "Chariots of Fire" DVD coming out

    The USA is finally going to see a wide screen release of "Chariots of Fire" on DVD. The disc is going to come with quite a few extras, including directors commentary, deleted scenes (no word yet on whether there is more music in these scenes), reunion featurette and a making of documentary. The sound of the movie has been remixed to 5.1 surround, although this usually means the music remains stereo. There are currently no plans to release this edition in Europe or elsewhere outside America.

    Hopefully more news soon, if there is any Vangelis related material between the extras.

    The Havana Exhibition

    Vangelis' new painting exhibition in Havana, Cuba has opened on October 28 and has been receiving a lot of international media attention. Some of the internet references contain pictures of the exhibition hall, such as:

  • www.elsoldemexico.com.mx/notas.asp?urlnota=291004vange
  • www.todito.com/paginas/noticias/163669.html
  • The exhibition will be open to the public until December 20.

    Gregorian

    Although news on cover versions is generally avoided here (noise...), the new version of Aphrodite's Child's "The Four Horsemen" (666 album) is bound to attract some attention. Gregorian (former member of Enigma) made a new version of this track, incorporating gregorian chanting, appearing on the new album "The Dark Side". A different approach indeed.

    Thanks to everyone who wrote in about the Filmtracks review and the Chariots DVD. Also thanks to Brage Midtsund, Marius Dan Leordeanu, Monsoon, Dan Ferna and Paulo Cadeddu.


    This update: October 27, 2004

    Two "Alexander" tracks for sale, on-line

    As of today, Sony is selling two tracks from Vangelis' "Alexander" album online. For $0.99 each, track 3 "Titans" (known as the excerpt on the soundtrack's web site) and track 17 "Eternal Alexander" (a wonderfully dramatic but uplifting hymn) can be downloaded as Windows Media Files. Visit Sony's store at
    www.sonymusicstore.com/store/catalo....


    This update: October 26, 2004

    "Alexander" - another review

    14 days to go, before November 9, but it's getting more clear that this date will not go for every part in the world. More details on release dates when they become available. In the mean time, another review of the upcoming album has appeared on-line. After Elsewhere's review (see the October 9 update, now a famous film score site features their own analysis of the album, to be found at: www.musicfromthemovies.com/review.asp?ID=4610. No sign of any reviews in print, thus far.

    "Alexander" - movie release dates

    These dates are all still subject to change, of course, but many of us might still be interested to learn of the local planned distribution dates of "Alexander", the movie. With an expected running-time of almost or more than 3 hours, this movie is bound to contain more Vangelis music then we can find on the album. In fact, it's almost a tradition for Vangelis to tailor his music differently for the screen and for the soundtrack album. Which might just be one more good reason - on top of many others - to go and see this film in the theater as soon as it is out. If plans don't change, these should be some expected release dates for countries throughout the known world:

    Switzerland (German version): November 18, USA: November 24, Poland and Rumania: November 25, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden: November 26, South Korea: November 27, Germany and Israel: December 2, Austria: December 3, South Africa: December 15, Portugal: December 17, Hungary: December 23, Belgium, France, Switzerland (French version): January 5, The Netherlands: January 6, Spain, United Kingdom: January 7, Italy: January 14, Australia, New Zealand: January 20, Argentine: January 27, Japan: February 2005

    "El Greco" charity auction delay

    The start of the auction of these two special boxes has now been delayed to November 1. Please keep checking here for a unique chance to obtain this rare luxurious item while helping a good cause in the process.


    This update: October 24, 2004

    "Alexander" - Excerpt from Alexander "production information"

    A press release, to be found at a Val Kilmer fan site (www.vkn.com, read it directly by clicking here) contains an interesting passage about Vangelis' input on "Alexander":

    THE MUSIC OF ALEXANDER

    During filming, Stone employed a technique familiar to him throughout his career: the playing of appropriate and often haunting music between scenes on set as an aural backdrop, setting tone and mood for the actors and crew. Although on previous films Stone would often utilize temp music, for Alexander, he played music that was being composed simultaneously, a thousand miles away in Athens, by famed Greek composer Vangelis. Inspired by the story of Alexander, one of his personal heroes, Vangelis dug deep into the roots of Greek and Macedonian musical heritage. The composer scored not only with his famed synthesizer, but also for such ancient instruments as bagpipes (which, although associated with Celtic music, probably originated north of Macedonia in what is today Bulgaria), drums, lutes and lyres.

    Theres a whole mixture of musical influences in the melodies and rhythms, explains music supervisor Budd Carr (who has worked with Stone on every one of his films since Salvador), blending the cultures that Alexander encountered: Persia, Afghanistan, Egypt, India. Since were depicting 320 B.C., you cant go to your CD collection and pull out material. Oliver has always written music into his scripts, so we had several scenes with groups of musicians playing in Macedonia, Persia, Balkh (Afghanistan) and India. In order to provide the authentic feel Oliver wanted for these scenes, composer Vangelis, who has a deep knowledge of the musical history of these areas, composed, recorded and produced original music for the musicians to play. His powerful score for the film evokes the past and includes diverse ethnic influences and instrumentation.

    Movies on DVD

    Germany is about to see the release of "Fransceso" on DVD. This still is one of the more elusive Vangelis' scored movies. This Italian (though originally acted in English) movie portrays the life of St. Francis of Assisi. The good news is that the DVD will contain the long, unedited version of the movie, as it was available in Italy as well. This includes more music and the story makes more sense then the original re-cut theatrical / American version. The bad news is that, as with the Italian release, there is no English speech available. One can choose between the Italian and German dubs.

    Another elusive Vangelis scored movie, "Missing", is going to be released on DVD in the States. Difficult to find, perhaps due to it's political controversy in the States upon its original theatrical release: the movie deals with American involvement in South American right wing coupes.


    This update: October 23, 2004

    "Alexander" - Limited Edition

    Some may already have noticed that on-line stores in Germany are listing Vangelis' "Alexander" not once but twice. Next to the normal soundtrack album they also refer to a "limited edition". As it turns out, this limited edition will actually contain one extra track, not found on the normal album. The piece called "Bizarre Bazaar", added to the end of the album reportedly sounds very electronic, with a dance groove, different from anything we know by him, but still "Vangelis" in quality. That will no doubt get many of us curious.

    Amazon in Germany is listing a release date of November 29, while different dates appear on lists of other on-line stores / countries. It does not seem certain that November 9 is the date for every country. Amazon in the UK actually lists November 8, although this could just mean they are allowed to send it off one day early. It would still arrive November 9. Sony's official site in Poland mentions December 17. More news on release dates when it becomes available.

    "Alexander", the movie itself, is now set for a world premiere in Los Angeles on November 16, when cast and crew - plus a large list of celebrity guests - will attend this first screening.

    "Collateral" using Vangelis track

    This item by popular request, it indeed should have been up here much earlier but kept getting overshadowed by the approaching promise of "Alexander". Please take note that Michael Mann's successful thriller "Collateral", starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, uses a few minutes of Vangelis' "Moxica and the Horse" (1492 soundtrack) to spice up the atmosphere in a certain scene.

    Thanks to everyone who mailed in about "Collateral" over the past few months.


    This update: October 19, 2004

    "Alexander" soundtrack interview

    Sony has just updated their official web site for the Alexander soundtrack, adding an interesting video file featurette where Vangelis talks about scoring this movie and can be seen at work in a studio. Visit the site at www.alexandersoundtrack.com.

    The album: T-minus 22 days and counting...

    Thanks to Brage Midtsund.


    This update: October 13, 2004

    "Alexander" movie excerpt / soundtrack excerpts

     

    Techcom Forces, the biggest "Alexander" fan site on the net, now features an early excerpt of the "Alexander" movie. The last half is supported by a bit of Vangelis' score, music represented by the first two tracks on the Alexander album. Click on the October 13 image here:
    www.techcomforces.com/alexander.html.

    Also, find the album's cover design displayed to the right. Sony, in the mean time, has added sound samples to the album in their on-line store, offering more glimpses of the upcoming music! Find it here.

    26 days to go...

    Charity auction delayed

    The auction of 2 signed rare (red!!!) deluxe El Greco boxes has been delayed to October 22, due to technical difficulties. Anyone interested will have one week extra to prepare and save some extra money. Funds will go to Hannelore-Kohl-Foundation / KURATORIUM ZNS. More info, at a later date.

    Top 40 DVDs review

     

    As announced in the October 11 update, Dutch pop chart "Top 40" is celebrating by releasing a series of DVD with music video clips. The discs from this series "40 Jaar Top 40", are now all available in Dutch music stores. Each set contains both a DVD with the videos and a CD with the music.

    The first of these two is a bit of a disappointment. Disc "1979-1980" (Universal 981 937-3) has "I Hear You Now" (Jon & Vangelis), but the clip has been altered. The image quality is great, better than fans trading recordings on VHS have ever seen. But for some unknown reason, at about 2 and a half minute into the clip, the material that used to be seen (including still shots of Jon & Vangelis in the studio) have been edited out, being replaced by the start of the clip with its colors reversed. Then the music fades out prematurely. It looks like part of the clip was missing and it was disguised with this edit. It's certainly good to see the quality of the first part, but this is not the definitive way to have this video.

    Dreamy images of a ballet dancer and a mime player set the stage before Jon Anderson's face can be seen singing. Vangelis only briefly appears in a still photograph, but some synthesizers appear as part of the visual effects.

    The second disc however more than makes up for this. Disc "1981-1982" (Sony Music Media 517828 7) has "I'll Find My Way Home" (Jon & Vangelis) in wonderful quality, and complete. Both Vangelis and Anderson appear on the stage of Britain's famous "Top of the Pops" show and, each pretending to play on instruments that are absolutely not featured in the music, make fun of the standard 'mime to the record' format. Give-away grins included. The act works even better now that time has aged the whole deal out of fashion. We know that now, they knew it then already.

    To make this disc extra interesting, Donna Summer's famous cover version of "State of Independence" has also been included on this DVD.

    Thanks to Demetris Christodoulides for the tip on "Alexander"'s sound excerpts.


    This update: October 11, 2004

    "Alexander" soundtrack poster

    "Alexander": 28 days and counting... Scroll down for an advance review in Saturday's news update. In the mean time, Sony has its own on-line CD shop. They currently have a special offer where pre-ordering the "Alexander" album is rewarded with a free Alexander soundtrack poster. While supplies last! Sadly, delivery is only to addresses in the USA. Only one poster per order.
    www.sonymusicstore.com/store/catalog/Merch...

    Paintings in Cuba

    In other news, Vangelis' paintings are now on their way to Cuba, for another installment in the South American tour of exhibitions. The Cuban press is paying a lot of attention to this unique chance to see Vangelis' work in the art of painting. The exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Havana, will open on October 28, and is part of the International Ballet Festival of Havana.

    New charity auction: Red "El Greco" boxes

    Collectors, pay attention! Vangelis has again made a donation for a charity auction. This time two "El Greco" boxes will be sold through Ebay in Germany. Take note, these are not the well known 1995 blue boxes, but the very rare red box with the 1998 album. This beautiful set was never before for put on sale, and is very much sought after. Of course, Vangelis signed each of them, especially for the occasion. The cause is Kuratorium ZNS, once founded by the late Hanelore Kohl, supporting victims with damages to the central nerve system. The auction period will start next Friday, October 15, so check back then for much more information and direct links.

    Jon & Vangelis music video clips

    Last but not least, a unique chance is coming up to see two old music video clips of Jon & Vangelis tracks. Dutch pop chart "Top 40" will celebrate its 40th birthday with a series of music video DVDs, highlighting hits from specific years. The DVD for '79 / '80 contains "I Hear You Now" and the DVD for '81 / '82 contains "I'll Find My Way Home". There will also be a DVD containing an Aphrodite's Child clip, but no word yet on whether this will be one that was not released before. More info on www.40jaartop40.nl.

    Thanks to Robert Eichelsheim, Sascha Hellen and Kees Wolvers!


    This update: October 9, 2004

    "Alexander" - advance album review

    Exactly one month from today, Sony Classical will release Vangelis' new album "Alexander", the first completely new full-length Vangelis album since "Oceanic" (1996). This is an event many of us no doubt will anxiously be counting down to during those last 30 days.

    In the meantime, Warner has updated the movie's official site with a full featured Flash version. Visit at alexanderthemovie.warnerbros.com. For background music, the site is playing around with the album's opening track "Introduction" as well as "Preparation", although it all seems to sound bigger on the CD.

    A little warning on the next section, as it will discuss the upcoming music in more detail. Some may want to wait until they purchase the album themselves, to enjoy the experience of hearing it first hand without any bias. If you do, please stop reading here. For those who can't wait to learn more, here follows a set of first impressions on the upcoming album.

    It's often said that film music today is not what it used to be. With most composers continuously imitating each other, or at least modeling their work on the same sources over and over again, it seems like films sound less unique or distinguishable than ever before. In such an environment, the music can lose its character and may fail to provide the film's emotional message with the proper momentum. Think back. When was the last time you walked out of the theater, humming a melody as it accompanied the story still lingering in your mind?

    With "Alexander" Vangelis returns to us the large, powerful, lyrical melody. That, and a lot more.

    The album contains 56 minutes of music, divided on the CD into 18 tracks. But most of the pieces actually evolve into each other. The recording is a mix of synthesizers, orchestra and choirs, with the latter two kicking in especially where the music builds to its emotional climaxes.

    That's where we find Vangelis doing what he does best. It's the big anthems, the size of which I can't remember hearing for years. It's these lyrical, uplifting melodies that sway you until you feel it in your stomach, bringing on the goosebumps that tell you "hey, this music is on to something, these nerves have not been touched for a long time." Those are the pieces that will stick in your mind long after leaving the cinema, and it's these that most set this work apart from today's typical Hollywood score.

    Other passages contain large sections of atmospheric music. In these lush but laid-back tracks like "Eastern Path" or "Garden's of Delight", we hear ethnic flutes and ancient plucked instruments, sometimes with Eastern flavored percussion, taking us back to those ancient times of Alexander the Great, and offering a taste of the exotic places to which he expanded his empire.

    The battle scenes sound huge. During pieces like "The Drums of Guagamela" or "The Charge", Vangelis keeps up the tension and pace with large, pounding drums, while heavy brasses play threatening melodies, including the obligatory nod to Holst's Mars. Huge crescendos sweep up the action; this is a cinematic side of Vangelis we've never heard before.

    The music is absolutely sure to please Vangelis' usual dedicated following, but who would doubt that to begin with... The orchestral flavour and much of the musical flow will also please fans of better film scores or heroic symphonies. But the melodic qualities, the giant size and the strong goosebumps factor - is it possible Vangelis felt less restrained due to the historical magnitude of its topic? - take this much further than the usual film buff's compilation of soundtrack cues.

    Let's hope this gets picked up by the large audiences it undeniably deserves. Thirty days to go, then the world will hear.


    This update: October 7, 2004

    "Alexander" orchestrator speaks (article)

    The web site of "Music from the Movies" magazine carries a news article where Vangelis' orchestrator for "Alexander" speaks a bit about the music and its creation. Find the article on www.musicfromthemovies.com/article.asp?ID=395.

    Thanks to Hallvard Fagerland and William Donald.


    This update: October 5, 2004

    "Alexander" track list announced

    Sony's pre-order music store has announced the track list of Vangelis' upcoming "Alexander" soundtrack album. The tracks are as follows:

    Sony Classical 092942

        1  Introduction  
        2  Young Alexander  
        3  Titans  
        4  The Drums of Gaugamela  
        5  One Morning at Pella  
        6  Roxane's Dance  
        7  Eastern Path  
        8  Gardens of Delight  
        9  Roxane's Veil  
       10  Bagoas' Dance  
       11  The Charge  
       12  Preparation  
       13  Across the Mountains  
       14  Chant  
       15  Immortality  
       16  Dream of Babylon  
       17  Eternal Alexander  
       18  Tender Memories  
    

    (www.sonymusicstore.com/store/catalog/Merch...)

    In related news, reliable sources explain that, as for earlier trailers, none of the music featured in the latest "Alexander" trailer was composed by Vangelis. Thus far, the only advance glimpses of the music on this album remain the sample on Sony's official site (www.alexandersoundtrack.com) and "Roxane's Veil" on the Vanessa Mae album.

    Thanks to Thomas Hopf.


    This update: October 3, 2004

    "Roxane's Veil" in Italian, Israeli and Czech stores

    Vanessa Mae's album "Choreography", which containing an early release of Vangelis' "Roxane's Veil", continues to be released across Europe and other continents. It's now confirmed also in stores in Italy, Israel and the Czech Republic, as well as many other countries.

    Thanks to Marco Negri, Gabi Brenners and Milan Fajrajzl.

    New "Alexander" trailer

    The latest trailer for "Alexander" can now be found on the web. Movie news web site
    www.comingsoon.net/news/topnews.php?id=6582 was the first to link to the movie files, available one Warner's servers but not yet presented on the official on-line outlets.

    At least some of the music used is the same as appeared in earlier teasers, which turned out not to be Vangelis'. There is also different music in this one, no word yet on its heritage.

    Thanks to Emit De La Rosa for the tip.


    This update: September 24, 2004

    "Alexander" soundtrack album delayed

    Following the postponement of the "Alexander" movie's theatrical release, Vangelis' soundtrack album has now also been scheduled for a later date. The CD is now expected to be available in stores on November 9.

    "Choreography" confirmed in Switzerland and Korea

    Vanessa Mae's album "Choreography" is being released in more and more countries now. It's confirmed available in Switserland and South Korea. This is an early opportunity to listen to this new Vangelis track, as it will also appear on the Alexander soundtrack album (see September 22 update).

    Thanks to Marc-Antoine Bombail, Kim ho gyum and Gary Wheelhouse.


    This update: September 22, 2004

    Some "Alexander" details...

    A few details about Vangelis' score for "Alexander" may be of interest. For starters, the score will contain parts recorded with a philharmonic orchestra. Orchestrator and conductor for these parts is Nic Raine, who has previously worked as orchestrator for celebrated composers like John Barry, Elmer Bernstein, Maurice Jarre, Gabriel Yared, Michael Kamen, George Fenton and Stanley Myers.

    Another interesting point is that "Roxane's Veil" - the music recently recorded with Vanessa Mae and released on her album "Choreography" - is also a part of the "Alexander" soundtrack. The track will appear on the soundtrack album in the same recording, with Vanessa performing the violin lead.

    In the mean time, according to www.techcomforces.com/alexander.html, the movie's USA (first) release date has been pushed back to November 24. The soundtrack album however, still seems to be set for October 26.

    Thanks to Don Fennimore for the orchestrator credits...


    This update: September 15, 2004

    Mae's "Choreography" released, plus more dates...

     

    Vanessa Mae's new album "Choreography" can already be found for sale in Dutch CD stores. A review of the new Vangelis composed track, now spelled "Roxane's Veil", could be read here earlier in the August 16 update.

    The album is planned for release in Germany next Monday, September 20, while some Asian countries should follow within the next two weeks. Amazon in the UK lists a local release date of October 18. No US release date seems to have been set yet, but word is that it will be 2005 before the album hits those stores.

    More release date reports or confirmations are welcome at d.lodewijks@chello.nl.

    Thanks to Sweder Jansen and Rijko Ebens.

    "Belo Horizonte" exhibition details

    The newly planned Brazilian painting exhibition will open on September 21 (not 20), in the prestigious "Palacio das Artes" (Palace of Arts), Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The museum's web-site can be found at www.palaciodasartes.com.br


    This update: September 13, 2004

    New Brazil exhibition

    There will be another chance to see Vangelis' paintings soon, at a third exhibition in Brazil. This time the city of "Belo Horizonte" will be host to the 75 paintings. An exact location has yet to be anounced, but doors will open on September 20 [Corrected: September 21], one week from now.

    Alexander CD release date

    Sony's web site for Alexander now lists a release date of October 26, one week later than the originally mentioned October 19.

    Thanks to Emit De La Rosa.


    This update: August 31, 2004

    Alexander on-line sample updated

    Sony has today updated the Alexander soundtrack excerpt that can be listened to on the www.alexandersoundtrack.com web-site. The 3 minute piece that could be heard earlier has been replaced by a longer version of 4 minutes, recorded with different instruments.


    This update: August 16, 2004

     
       
     

    Advance review of Vanessa Mae & Vangelis' "Roxanne's Veil"

    The first advance promotional CDs for Vanessa Mae's upcoming album "Choreography" have recently begun circulating, revealing the new Vangelis track to journalists and music industry employees.

    The track is called "Roxanne's Veil", and seems to sort of break the pace of the album. Where much of the music is dynamic and exciting, sometimes with bold orchestral fireworks, Vangelis' contribution seems to invite the listener to sit back and relax in a beautiful mood of nostalgia.

    Performed entirely by Vangelis, except for the violin, the piece opens with synthesizer voices, followed by a soft beat with catchy melodious synthesizer bass that sets the calm pace, before Vanessa sets in a heavenly melody, played as lush and flowing as Vangelis would have played it himself. But lets face it, as wonderful as Vangelis can play violins on synthesizer, it will never actually be able to replace the real thing. And Mae shows why. It doesn't get more sensual than this.

    The piece evolves, with harp, synthesizers and finally even some human voices to further explore the spaces between popular music and a somehow more classy idiom. The entire track sounds like a true Vangelis piece, and will not likely disappoint any Vangelis enthusiast.

    The cover artwork to the right is for the actual release (brown background) and the advance promo CD (white design) respectively. Watch for the album to first appear in September in some European countries. The release for the USA seems to have been set back to early 2005.

    Special thanks to Rijko Ebens. (www.vanessa-mae.nu)


    This update: August 12, 2004

    "Alexander" video game will use Vangelis' music

    UBIsoft has announced to be developing the official video game for Oliver Stone's "Alexander" film, and it will indeed be using Vangelis' score as music.

    The producers elaborate: "The game will include selected music from world famous composer Vangelis whose music comprises the films soundtrack - movie extracts, and other features to make sure that the game is as daring, bold and ambitious as its subject, Alexander the Great."

    Read more on UBIsoft's UK web site at www.ubi.com/UK/News/alexander+announcement.htm

    Thanks to Sufian.


    This update: July 24, 2004

    "Alexander" soundtrack web-site: Sound excerpt on-line!

    Sony Classical has just released a web-site for Vangelis' upcoming soundtrack for Oliver Stone's "Alexander". The site, for now, only displays some graphics and allows to join a mailinglist, but the feature that will get everyone excited is the first glimbse of Vangelis' new music, which can be listened to in 3 different streaming formats.

    www.alexandersoundtrack.com/

    Do visit the site and listen to the music. Remember to put your speakers at their loudest, and brace yourselves for a good one.

    Thanks to Fikret E for the tip!


    This update: July 19, 2004

    "Alexander" press release

    Sony Classical is issuing a new press release about Alexander's upcoming original soundtrack album, announcing its expected release date of October 19:

    For Immediate Release

    OSCAR-WINNING COMPOSER VANGELIS
    CREATES ORIGINAL SCORE
    FOR DIRECTOR/WRITER OLIVER STONE'S EPIC FILM ALEXANDER
    SONY CLASSICAL CD RELEASED OCTOBER 19, 2004

    With Colin Farrell In The Title Role As One Of History's Greatest Heroes,
    Alexander Opens Nationwide November 5, 2004

    (New York, NY, July 15, 2004) - Oscar-winning Greek composer Vangelis is creating the original score for Oliver Stone's Alexander, an epic retelling of the story of the legendary Greek conqueror-hero Alexander the Great, with Colin Farrell in the title role. A Warner Bros. film with a cast that includes Oscar winners Angelina Jolie and Sir Anthony Hopkins as well as Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Alexander opens nationwide on Friday, November 5, 2004. Sony Classical will release the film's original soundtrack recording on Tuesday, October 19, 2004.

    Vangelis has created a musical setting that captures both the epic scale and the human drama of this spectacular film, which is both written and directed by multiple Oscar winner Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK).

    "I've always admired Oliver's films," Vangelis says, "and, of course, Alexander the Great is a story that's a natural part of my heritage. So, to be composing for this film, with Oliver Stone directing, makes it an especially exciting experience for me."

    Alexander is based on the true story of one of history's most luminous and influential leaders (Colin Farrell) - a man who had conquered 90% of the known world by the age of 27. Alexander led his virtually invincible armies through 22,000 miles of sieges and conquests in just eight years, and by the time of his death at the age of 32 had forged an empire unlike any the world had ever seen.

    The film takes an unflinchingly honest look at Alexander's life and his relationships with his mother, Olympias (Angelina Jolie), his father Philip (Val Kilmer), his lifelong friend and battle commander Hephaistion (Jared Leto), Roxane, his ambitious and beautiful Persian wife (Rosario Dawson), and his trusted general and confidant Ptolemy (played at different ages by Anthony Hopkins and Elliot Cowan). Set in Alexander's pre-Christian world of social customs and morals far different from today's, the film explores a time of unmatched beauty and unbelievable brutality, of soaring ideals and staggering betrayals.

    Vangelis's music for the 1981 film Chariots of Fire is one of the most influential - and widely "quoted" - film scores of modern times, winning an Oscar for Best Original Score. Since that worldwide success, his scores for the films Blade Runner, Missing, The Bounty and 1492 - Conquest of Paradise have become enduring international cult favorites, along with his many concept albums and other musical projects. Most recently, Vangelis created the 2002 FIFA World Cup Anthem, which won the International Song of the Year Award from the Recording Industry Association of Japan.

    In 2001, Vangelis collaborated with Sony Classical on an epic multimedia project entitled Mythodea, built around his music, which was used by NASA to celebrate its Mars Odyssey mission. Vangelis himself performed the score live in Athens in a concert that also featured singers Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman. In addition to an audio recording of the music, a dramatic film of the concert is available on home video by Sony Classical.

    The original soundtrack recording of Alexander will be featured on Sony Classical's Web site at www.sonyclassical.com.

    ###


    This update: July 12, 2004

    Agamemnon canceled

    Spanish and Italian newspapers have been reporting about the cancelation of Papas' proposed trilogy of plays. Papers have been known to make mistakes, but the articles come with a lot of details, so hope seems faded for the new stageplay that was to have a new musical score by Vangelis.


    This update: July 2, 2004

    The Troyans, Ecuba and Agamemnon

    Newspapers all around Spain, Italy and Greece are starting to report on the expected Irene Papas organized stage production of The Trojans, Hecuba and Agamemnon.

    The history of this event started in Valencia (2001) where Irene Papas produced, directed and acted in a special staging of "The Trojans", accompanied by newly composed Vangelis music. Two years later, in Rome, the project was moved to the next level by the staging of both "The Trojans", just as it was in Valencia, supplemented by "Hecuba", also performed by Papas and accompanied by more new music by Vangelis. This project should - so it was announced at the time - reach its climax in Greece during the 2004 Olympic Games, when a third play, "Agamemnon", will be added to showcase the complete the trilogy.

    The Italian newspapers now report that supposedly, Italian actress Mariangela Melato will perform the lead in "Hecuba", while Spain's Angela Molina will front "The Trojans". Irene Papas would then play in Agamemnon, finally performing in her mother language.

    Be sure to consider all of this still as rumors. Newspapers have proven to sometimes be shockingly wrong on these things, and so far nothing at all has been officially announced.

    Despite Papas' announced intentions to have also the final play accompanied by Vangelis' music, his involvement for now is one more aspect that has yet to be confirmed.

    More news here, when it becomes available.

    Thanks to Umberto Calonaci for giving the heads up and providing details...


    This update: June 29, 2004

    Exhibition in Sao Paulo

    Vangelis' next painting exhibition, in Brazil's Sao Paulo, will open on July 20. A closing date has not yet been said.

    The paintings can be visited at the "Galeria Marta Traba de Arte Latino-Americana", in the museum "Fundaao Memorial da America Latina", popularly known as "Museo Memorial Latino Americano". The building, designed by Oscar Niemeyer has earned its own share of fame in the world of culture and architecture...

    Visit the venue's web site at www.memorial.org.br/


    This update: June 15, 2004

    Details on ordering "Ithaca"

    Some more details from Eleftheroudakis, the Greek bookstore chain that sells the "Journey in Color" / "Ithaca" box. They do indeed take international orders, when contacted by fax or through the right email address. If you wish to order the book, contact their exports department, at:

  • email: exports@books.gr
  • Fax: 0030 210 323 9821 (Attention Exports Department)
  • Payments by credit card, check or (international) bank deposits are accepted. The book's selling price is Euro 104, plus shipping charges for your particular region. Packages are shipped through the Greek postal service, using registered mail. Contact the shop for a quote for your region.

    Thanks to Aris Sakellariadis, Eleftheroudakis.


    This update: June 11, 2004

    Ithaca review

     
     
     

    It only happens on rare occasions that we find the chance to hear new Vangelis music, outside of the main stream series of album releases. Yet, it can sometimes be these rarities or collectors items that really do keep the fans or collectors going, while waiting for a full new album release.

    That's why to many of us the fact that this new release contains only 1 track of little over 4 minutes will hardly matter at all. Vangelis collaborating with a star like Sean Connery, the luxurious box that the CD is a part of, and the limited nature of the production, will well make up for that. On top of that it's always good to add to a collection while supporting a good cause at the same time - in this case a kindergarten for children of single mothers.

    This is not the first time that Vangelis can be heard interacting with poetry or other spoken word. Think of the final track on "Rapsodies", or more typically the live "Night of Poetry" event in Athens, 1991. The "Ithaca" recording released now is indeed not unlike the spontaneous performances of that night. Here, Vangelis plays soft and gentle music on piano, strings and some other instruments backing that up, while Connery - relaxed and self assured as he always sounds - reads the poem by Cavafy. The music, perhaps reminiscent of "Shine for Me" or the last "El Greco" movement, sets the pace for the narration and builds the melancholic mood where it is needed.

    As Cavafy's poem devotes itself to the virtues of a mythical journey, the book this CD is sold with, "A Journey in Color" follows Micheline's artistic quest. Along with a selection of over a 100 of her paintings, the Cavafy poem is printed in the book, both in its original Greek text as the English translation that Connery reads on the CD. An introduction by Marilena Mamidakis-Kokkineas, president of the Athinais Cultural Centre, thanks the Connerys and Vangelis for their support to the "Child's Friends" society.

    Another site (read here) wrote about the paintings:

    Roquebrune Connery uses vivid but also pastel colors in her paintings, many of them portraits, which often have a joyful Mediterranean touch. "I don't like sad paintings," said the artist, herself impressed by what she called "the staggering color of Rome", with its clear summer light, deep blue sky and "ambiance of energy, strength and joy."

    As mentioned earlier, this special set, costing about Euro 105, can only be bought in Greece at the Athinais Centre and a selected bookshop chain. However, some have managed to order the box using E-mails, so be creative and contact who you can, if you are interested in obtaining this item. See the earlier updates for some more details. Perhaps if enough people try this, the organizers will decide to create an on-line ordering facility.

     

    This update: June 8, 2004

    Ithaca available

    If all went according to plan, at about 8 PM local Greek time Micheline Roquebrune Connery along with her husband Sean Connery appeared at the Athinais Cultural center to present her book "A Journey in Colour" and the "Ithaca" CD by Vangelis and Sean Connery. From now on, the box containing both these items is available for sale at the Cultural Center as well as the "Eleftheroudakis" bookstores. Although no sales are available through web sites, some people have already managed to order the box by exchanging emails with the bookstore. Find their web site at www.books.gr.

    The price of the item is Euro 104, but if you succeed in ordering it, there will be extra charges for shipping to your particular country.

    For more details, see the June 1 update. A review of the music with photographs can found here as soon as possible.

    Thanks to Mike Williams.


    This update: June 4, 2004

    Velvet Mythodea box auctions end

    The "We Are The Future" charity auctions of the two Vangelis donated and signed Mythodea boxes have ended. The first box went for a stunning $1525, the second for a wonderful $910. Money that will be well spent on education of children in war torn regions in the world.

    Congratulations to both the winners!


    This update: June 1, 2004

    "Ithaca": limited CD, collaboration with Sean Connery

    On June 8, a special event at the Athinais Cultural Centre in Athens will celebrate the release of a very special recording. The CD, titled "Ithaca", has living legend actor Sean Connery reading the poem by Constantinos P. Cavafy, accompanied by new music composed by Vangelis.

    On the same day, Micheline Roquebrune Connery, painter - and indeed Sean's wife - presents a book of her paintings, called "A Journey in Colour". Both these unique objects combined - the CD and the book - will be offered for sale to the general public, packaged together into one beautiful box reading:

    "A JOURNEY IN COLOUR"
    MICHELINE ROQUEBRUNE CONNERY

    SEAN CONNERY RECITES 'ITHACA' BY C.P. CAVAFY
    MUSIC BY VANGELIS

    There will be a limited number of copies available: The CD was pressed in a one-time-only run of 3000 copies. Neither the book nor the CD will be commercially exploited. The book is sponsored by Dewar's Special Reserve and the Private Banking of Novabank. The CD is sponsored by the Athinais Cultural Centre. All the proceeds of sales are being donated to a charity project called "Friends of the Child", who will use this to support the building of a kindergarten.

    The box will be sold in Greece exclusively, at the "Athinais" as well as the historical Athens bookstore chain called "Eleftheroudakis". They have a web site in Greek at www.books.gr but you can also find a list of addresses in English here: www.books.gr/e-gener.htm. Sadly there will not be any on-line sales available.

    The book consists of 128 pages, showcasing paintings by Micheline Connery, with a preamble, an art critic's interview with Mrs. Connery and the full text of Cavafy's "Ithaca". Not much is clear yet about the CD and the music, except that it's a 4 minutes and 26 seconds recording.

    More news here, when it becomes available!

    Reminder

    A last reminder: Less than 2 days are left for the Velvet Mythodea boxes charity auction:


    This update: May 27, 2004

    "Alexander" trailer: no Vangelis music

    The first trailer for Oliver Stone's "Alexander" has been released and is available for viewing on the web.

    The big question on everyone's mind, both before and after seeing the trailer reads: Is it using music composed by Vangelis? Sources close to Vangelis reveal that unfortunately none of the music heard in this trailer is his work. That includes the opening and closing parts, that some fans thought to recognize as such.

    Although it's not unusual for trailers to use music that's completely different from the music in a film, in the case of an artist as high profile as Vangelis, it is confusing at best, misleading at worst if other music is used in the early advertising efforts. Perhaps any upcoming trailers will feature Vangelis' music more appropriately.

    For your first impression of the movie - but not the music - visit
    www.apple.com/trailers...

    Thanks to Hotte for the first alert, and to everyone else who also mailed on this topic...

     
     
     

    This update: May 25, 2004

    Velvet box auction has started

     

    The auction of two rare collectable "Mythodea" blue velvet boxes has started today on the internet auction site ebay.com. As announced here earlier, Vangelis submitted these boxes for the "We Are the Future" charity auction (see the May 14 update), representing an abolutely unique chance to obtain this rarity. The auctions can be found here:

    A 10 day window to put out your bids has started earlier today, and the clock is ticking. Don't hesitate to try your luck, with the proceeds going to such a good cause. Note that the organization has a pre-qualifying policy for bids over $500. In case anyone would like to try and bid a higher amount, it would be advisable to go through this simple procedure in due time, before the deadline comes too close. Please fill out the form at www.bidprequalify.com/bpqt/f.php?wid=8.

    A big "good luck" to everyone who will be bidding, and especially to the charity cause the proceeds will be going to.

    Vanessa Mae album title

    The title of Vanessa Mae's upcoming album has been changed to "Choreography", replacing the earlier mentioned "Dances with Time". She will be performing one new piece composed by Vangelis, for which a title has yet to be decided upon.

    Morandi in the cinema (Rome)

    As part of the "Festival Di Palazzo Venezia", dedicated to films and documentaries about art, a 35 mm print of Frederic Rossif's "Morandi" will be shown at the "Metropolitan" cinema in Rome. This documentary about the famous painter is one of Rossif's movies to be graced with music by Vangelis. Although the score seems compiled from themes that Vangelis wrote for earlier Rossif films, none of the music found in the movie has ever been released on any album.

    The screening will take place on Tuesday June 1, starting at 16:00. Find more information here:
    www.docfest.it/PDF_programma_def/03_fl...ARTE.pdf

    Thanks to Umberto Calonaci for the Morandi tip!


    This update: May 14, 2004

    "Mythodea" velvet boxes on charity auction

    Vangelis has submitted two copies of the rare velvet box edition of "Mythodea" to a celebrity auction organized by Quincy Jones' "We Are The Future" foundation.

    The box in question was made in very limited quantities and was given away only to performers and VIP guests at the 2001 Mythodea concert in Athens. No copies were ever officially sold, making this one of most desirable rarities for Vangelis fans and collectors. These two auctions will provide an absolutely unique chance to obtain this box. For the occasion, Vangelis has personally signed each copy: "Vangelis, May 2004", making them even more unique.

    Celebrities from all over the world have submitted items to be auctioned for this charity. The organization has teamed up with Ebay.com, where the items will be listed in two waves, one starting May 15, the other starting May 24. It's not clear yet in which wave(s) Vangelis' boxes will be included.

    The "We Are the Future" (www.wearethefuture.com) foundation was formed by Quincy Jones hoping to be able to give hope to millions of children living in war-ravaged cities around the world:

    We Are the Future is launching Child Centers in six pilot cities to bring refuge, education, clean water, technology and primary care to a generation of children that have known nothing but conflict and neglect. The need is great and time is of the essence. According to a recent UN statistic 30,000 children under the age of five die every day in developing countries, most of which are in conflict or post conflict situations. As appalling as this number is, there is hope. We Are the Future opened its first Child Center in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 8, 2004 and is already making a difference in hundreds of lives.

    The launch of the first wave of auctions coincides with a live concert / fund raiser in Rome on May 16, with appearances from icons in music, sports and entertainment, including Sting, Nora Jones, Alicia Keys, Usher, Muhammed Ali, Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone and Oprah Winfrey and many others. A live TV broadcast will reach the Middle East, Asia, Europe, the Balkans, Africa and Latin America through networks such as MTV Network, Al Jazeera, etc.

    This news page will feature alerts with links to both of the Mythodea velvet boxes, as soon as they appear.


    This update: May 9, 2004

    Track with Vanessa Mae

    Vanessa Mae, the young, popular and world famous violinist is currently working on her new album, titled "Dances with Time". . One of the tracks for this album has been composed by Vangelis. The composition's working title is "Dance of the Seven Veils". No other details are out, at this point.

    The album is scheduled for a release in September 2004, on Sony Classical.

    Thanks to Chris Bailey and Stephen Cairns for their findings.


    This update: April 30, 2004

    False news paper reports

    Some Greek news papers caused quite a few hearts to beat a bit faster this week, by claiming that the new Greek government has approved for a Vangelis concert to take place in Athens, late in June this year. These reports however, turn out to be false. Sources close to Vangelis explain that Vangelis is involved in other projects and will not be performing any concert during that time.

    Paintings in Brazil

    For the next step in Vangelis' South American painting exhibitions, the canvasses will moved to the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia (www.mam.ba.gov.br), located in Brazil's Salvador de Bahia. The exhibition will be open on May 21 until July 4.

    Cavafy DVD set

    The first two copies of Alexandros Films' limited (not for public sale) DVD of "Cavafy" (see the February 2 update) have been auctioned at Internet's leading auction site www.ebay.com. A third will be auctioned very soon. These special luxuriously boxed disks are in principle only given out to crew who worked on the movie, but some have decided to offer theirs on this auction. Keep checking Ebay, for the third to appear. Although possible, it has so far not been decided if the movie will ever be issued as a commercial DVD release.

    Collectors will also be interested in finding out about "Silent Portraits", a Vangelis recording that managed to escape the attention of most Vangelis fans and collectors for about 20 years now. Check the news report on www.vangeliscollector.com.

    Remember the 60s Volume 4

    A note about the earlier (March 13 update) anounced DVD "Remember the 60s Volume 4": Contrary to BR Music's claim, this TV appearance has been released before, on the "Demis Roussos Greatest Hits" DVD. It does however appear here in a slightly longer version, showing the band being anounced with the band members waiting to start performing.

     

    This update: April 16, 2004

    Reference to Alexander

    Alexander's Dance Choreographer Piers Gielgud in an interview for "Dance On Film News":

    "I also had to collaborate closely with the 'Oscar winning' composer Vangelis who is fabulous to work with. All his music for Alexander is incredible. I think it will eclipse anything he has done before. Working with him on the music for the dances was a unique and altogether mind blowing experience."

    More on: www.alexander-the-great.co.uk/news.htm


    This update: April 2, 2004

    New Interview in Brazilian magazine

    The new issue of Brazilian Keyboards magazine "Teclado & udio Magazine", available in stores (Brazil and Portugal) as of today, has a new interview article with Vangelis, printed along with some exclusive photographs.

    The article, written in Portuguese, can also be read online at www.tecladoeaudio.com.br, but for those who want to buy or track down the copy in print (large photographs, cover story), look for issue nr. 90 of this monthly magazine.

    Thanks to Juliana Welling

    "Alexander" web site

    Warner Bros has opened up an official web site for Oliver Stone's upcoming "Alexander" movie. Visit at www.alexanderthemovie.com. For now, there is only a synopsis of the story, but as time progresses we should be able to find more and more info, about the next movie to contain a new Vangelis score.


    This update: March 31, 2004

     

    Argentine Exhibition

    There's only 4 more days to go, before Vangelis' Exhibition in Argentine will close. The "Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes" is Argentine's most important museum and is located facing the "Plaza Francia". The exhibition was featured in TV news and well published. A large banner in front of the museum notes the exitence of the exhibition.

    The paintings, a selection of 73 (from the 75 that are on tour) are all shown in one special hall of the museum. Visitors are presented with a special free flyer introducing the exhibition, depicting Vangelis at work on a painting. The catalog is on sale, being the same as in Valencia, only presented with an extra cover to fold around the hard cover of the book.

    Next up is Brazil. Find locations with opening and closing dates here, as soon as they are available.

     
     

    Special thanks to Alberto De Magistris and Martn Alejandro Carmona Selva for information and photographs!


    This update: March 13, 2004

    Mythodea on Canadian TV

    The concert registration of Mythodea will once again appear on Canadian television, Monday evening March 15, starting at 8:00 PM local time, showing on public station arTV.

    One more Aphrodite's Child appearance on DVD

    BR Music will soon release a number of new volumes of the "Remember the 60s" (and 70s) series. Fans of "Aphrodite's Child" will be pleased to hear that one more television appearance will be included, showing the band playing or miming to "End of the World". More information as soon as the disk comes out.

    Thanks to Andr Martel and M. Gamha.


    This update: March 5, 2004

     

    Article in Dutch "Ode" magazine

    Dutch opinion magazine "Ode" has published in their current issue a Dutch translation of the recent "New Scientist" magazine article, originally called "The Power of Music". This interview - presented as something of an essay - was originally published in December 2003.

    This Dutch version of the article can also be read online at Ode's web site (www.ode.nl), but this comes without the picture accompanying the printed version. "Ode", issue 65, April 2004 can currently be found in the Dutch shops. The Vangelis article is mentioned on the cover.

    Thanks to Coen van der Geest for the tip.

    Short news

    Other bits that might be of interest: NASA recently published in a report that their Mars Rover "Spirit" woke up to the sound of "Chariots of Fire" to inspire its morning run, on February 24...

    Also related to space exploration, Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers regularly mentions in the Dutch media how he was inspired by Vangelis' music to pursue the dream of becoming an astronaut, and a selection of Vangelis' music will indeed accompany him on his trip to the international space station, a few weeks from now.

    Finally, fans of "Antarctica" (the legendary Vangelis scored Japanese movie) might be pleased, or indeed displeased, to hear that an American remake is being prepared by Disney and associated production companies. No composer has been assigned, so far, and the project currently seems to have been put on hold.

    Thanks to everyone - sorry, too many to mention - who mailed about these stories.


    This update: February 24, 2004

    Limited edition "Cavafy" DVD set

    Iannis Smaragdis' "Cavafy" - at this moment still the most recent film to feature an original score by Vangelis - is soon going to be put out on DVD, in the shape of a very limited release of only 20 copies. All of these copies are reserved for key people who worked on the movie's production, but is seems that some recipients intend to auction theirs to the general public.

    The box includes two DVDs, one is to feature the movie, including a 5.1 mix of the sound, and sub titles in English, French, German and Spanish. The second disk contains the special features, including documentaries, interviews, trailers and reviews.

    The disks are presented in a beautiful box, which also included a booklet with photographs from the movie. The disks are region free, which means that they can be played on any DVD player in the world, as long as it is able to play the PAL format on your TV. That means all of Europe and Africa, plus most setups in the States, Japan, Canada, South America, etc..

    A possible wider release of the movie on DVD might be considered in the future. More information on any of this, when it becomes available...

    Thanks to Jean Belanger.


    This update: February 12, 2004

    Buenos Aires Exhibition dates

    The dates have been established for the next episode in Vangelis' series of South American painting exhibitions. The "Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes" in Buenos Aires, Argentine, will display the paintings from March 4 to April 4. Find their web site at www.mnba.org.ar, but they have not announced this exhibition yet. A Spanish cultural web site however is already mentioning it, accompanied by an image of one of the paintings: www.cult.gva.es/dgpcbbaam/data/art/internat/en.html.

      Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
      Av Libertador Gen. San Martn 1473
      1425 Buenos Aires 
      Argentine
    

    Various

    This year's Grammy for the "Best New Age Album (Vocal or Instrumental)" category went to Pat Metheny for "One Quiet Night". Michael Hoppé's album "Solace" was nominated, catching our interest more specifically because it ended with a Vangelis performed rendition of "The Parting".

    As for those of us who like to surf the internet, the good news is that Don Fennimore has announced that his recently frozen site on Vangelis collecting will continue to exist and be updated after all, keeping this amazing resource available and up-to-date for public use. (www.vangeliscollector.com)


    This update: January 21, 2004

    Japanese remasters - review

     
     

    Remasters
    Remastering is a process where, in general, the process of creating the digital sound recording for use on a CD or other medium, is recreated from the music's original master tapes. Early CD releases were sometimes made in a hurry or with cheap equipment, when conversion from analog tapes to the digital format was not yet as much a routine as it is now, and many albums were transferred in a hurry by people who did not know exactly what they were doing. By redoing the process now, theoretically, the sound could be better and closer to the artist's original intentions. Sometimes (often) these recordings are also slightly tweaked with equalizers and similar subtle post production techniques to update the sound and make it a bit more attractive to CD listeners of modern times.

    A problem is that somewhere along the way, the remastering term became a hype, and was sometimes used more as a marketing term than a technical necessity.

    For Vangelis, especially the early albums, like RCA's Heaven and Hell, Albedo and Spiral were mastered for CD very poorly, which is one reason that for those albums those LPs used to sound warmer, brighter, clearer and more alive, so many fans have hoped for proper remasters of those albums. Japan once already saw the release of a "20 bit" remaster of Heaven and Hell which indeed improved with a clearer, more dynamic sound, and better channel separation. Polydor (now Universal) also once proved that even their albums could see improvements in mastering when they released Vangelis' own remaster of "Chariots of Fire", just in time for Sydney's Olympics in 2000.

    Now, Japan's famous "Rock Legend Series" decided to try it once more, releasing a total of 8 albums from Vangelis' catalog dating back as far as Aphrodite's Child.

    Sound quality
    First, the bad news. None of the Vangelis or Jon & Vangelis albums sound any better. In fact, they don't seem to sound different at all. The recordings have been amplified, so that they sound louder when played at the same volume. But this actually makes them clip at the louder parts. The frequencies are the same, noise is the same, recordings do not sound sharper, there is no difference. It's speculation whether this means that the originals were simply mastered as good as the new ones, and no further improving was attempted, or perhaps the original digital masters were simply amplified without any further remastering activities.

    The albums that did undergo changes in their sound however, are the three Aphrodite's Child albums. Comparing them to the Greek Polygram releases of the first two albums, and 666's usual European CD release, it's easy find subtle differences in tape speed and the overall character of the albums' sound.

    In the remastered form, 666 seems to have a little less highs and - perhaps because of that - it feels like there is less reverb on the recording. This loses some of the clarity of the sound, but it does on the other hand sound warm and punchy, with more presence. Which master is preferred over the other is a very personal matter, but it can be concluded that it's hard to justify speaking of a definite improvement.

     
     

    "It's Five O Clock" has lost a lot in the high end of its spectrum. This might also be the cause of the absence of much of the original's noise. However, with this removal, also the sharpness and clarity went out of the window, and it's easy to conclude that the original Greek release of this album sounded better in all aspects except for the noise.

    It's therefore a delight to listen to the "End of the World" album, which has clearly improved. The recording sounds brighter, clearer, more sharp. With its revamped high tones, it may sound a bit less warm to some, but with the musical elements more easy to distinguish, this album shows what most of us who buy remastered releases are really after.

    Presentation
    The true appeal of these releases then comes in the form of their presentation, the packaging. This makes them appeal to collectors, who were never so much after the subtleties of the sound quality that the audiophiles are looking for.

    The charm about these issues is that they are presented like they are miniature versions of LPs. They come in a cardboard sleeve as their vinyl predecessors did. The printing on the CD is a recreation of what was printed on the old LPs, including the 33 rpm indications. The disks are protected in the plastic antistatic sleeves that some LPs were sold in. Where it applies, the original inserts are also recreated, like for Private Collection and See You Later, as these were integral parts of the album's art designs. It's cute to see those sheets as they were, printed in a smaller form.

    Another aspect of the artwork is that the original LP sleeve designs have been preserved. Most of the CDs normally found in the shops have covers that look like the originals, but with enlarged texts, artist names, etc. Those would otherwise be considered too small for the CD layout. However, on these mini LPs they look again like they were. For Short Stories and Private Collection for instance, they look again exactly the way Vangelis and Alwyn Clayden conceived them at the time. "It's Five o Clock" and "666" are presented in gatefold sleeves, as they were in the UK upon their initial release.

    Each album also comes with an OBI (the paper info strip that comes around the spine of every Japanese release), plus an insert with more historical and track related information, of course in the Japanese language. Another plastic sleeve keeps it all together, again reminiscent of the way LPs were stored.

    Conclusions
    Summing it up: Except for the Aphrodite's Child albums, it cannot be recommended to buy all these albums for improved sound quality. Only "End of the World" is a definite improvement, if that's what you're after. For completist collectors however, the cute packaging and surrounding nostalgia - plus of course the limitation of 5000 copies on these editions - will be more than enough reasons to try and obtain these editions from Japan.


    This update: January 16, 2004

    Japanese remasters - selling out

    For now, no review of these remastered albums yet, but the general conception from Japan is that the CDs have indeed improved their sound quality, with more base and a more clear overall sound. Proper comparisons will soon follow...

    Something to note is that the series, which is limited to 5000 copies per disk, seems to be selling very quickly. In fact, some of the disks have already been declared "out of print" by the record company, only 2 days after their release. Many shops in Japan still have them in stock but some titles, according to Universal's supplier database, can no longer restocked. This includes Aphrodite's Child's "666" and Jon & Vangelis' "The Friends of Mr Cairo" and "Short Stories" albums. The major Japanese on-line stores have also sold out some of the titles they had earlier in their stock. Some collectors might not want to await reviews, risking to find themselves unable to order all albums.

    Perhaps one of the reasons that these releases are selling so quickly is that these type of "mini-LP" styled releases and remasters are very popular among Japanese collectors, regardless of which artist is being released.

    Anyone who wants to try and order them might appreciate these Japanese on-line stores, which have optional English ordering interfaces. The stock these stores have left differs per album, best try them all for your particular selection.

  • www.cdjapan.co.jp
  • www.hmv.co.jp
  • www.amazon.co.jp
  • The new issues can be recognized by their January 2004 release date.

    Thanks to Seiya Hirano.


    This update: January 14, 2004

    Remasters - Roussos DVD - Anderson concerts

    A few small updates. First off, the series of Japanese remasters (Vangelis, Jon & Vangelis and Aphrodite's Child albums) has been released this week. The CDs are now available in the Japanese shops, while internet stores have been dispatching pre-orders since Saturday. More details - including comparisons on sound quality - will soon follow on this site.

    A correction on the Demis Roussos "Greatest Hits" DVD: An earlier review on this page mentioned that "It's Five O Clock" was the same material that appeared earlier on "Remember the 70s Volume 2", the band's appearance on the "Pop Match" TV show, but in fact this is *another* appearance on this series, with the band playing the same song in a similar setting. Thus, this is a different clip after all and another good reason to buy this DVD. Another intersting part not mentioned here before is the extra called "Een fenomeen", where Vangelis can frequently be seen while attending a festive, in a sequence about Roussos's son being christened in traditional Greek fashion.

    Finally, Jon Anderson has announced that he is going to venture on a solo tour along the East Coast of the USA. According to Jon's web site and remarks he made in interviews, the project entitled "Work In Progress Tour" [Corrected January 15] will include one or more Jon & Vangelis songs.

    Thanks to Seiya Hirano, M. Gamha, Michael Thomas Roe, Sufian and Elf.


    This update: January 3, 2004

    Pictures of the Exhibition (Uruguay)

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