Vangelis, composer of Chariots of Fireplace and Blade Runner soundtracks, dies aged 79 | Songs

Vangelis, the Greek composer and musician whose synth-pushed get the job done brought big drama to movie soundtracks including Blade Runner and Chariots of Fireplace, has died aged 79. His reps reported he died in clinic in France the place he was currently being handled.

Born Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou in 1943, Vangelis won an Oscar for his 1981 Chariots of Fire soundtrack. Its uplifting piano motif turned world-renowned, and achieved No 1 in the US charts, as did the accompanying soundtrack album.

Primarily self-taught in songs, Vangelis grew up in Athens and formed his initially band in 1963, named the Forminx, actively playing the pop audio of the time: uptempo rock’n’roll, sweeping ballads and Beatles deal with versions, with Vangelis giving organ lines.

They break up in 1966, and Vangelis turned a writer and producer for seek the services of, operating for other musicians and contributing scores for Greek movies. Two many years later, he struck out for Paris to even further his occupation, wherever he formed the prog rock quartet Aphrodite’s Kid with Greek expats, including Demis Roussos. Their single Rain and Tears was a strike throughout Europe, topping the French, Belgian and Italian charts and reaching the Uk Top rated 30.

Industrial heights … Vangelis at his residence in London, 1982. Photograph: Martyn Goddard/Alamy

Right after they split – Vangelis deeming the environment of business pop “very boring” – he returned to scoring film and Television set. Turning down an invitation to substitute Rick Wakeman on keyboards in Certainly, he moved to London and signed a solo offer with RCA Records: his LPs Heaven and Hell (1975) and Albedo .39 (1976) every achieved the United kingdom Top rated 40, and the former was employed to soundtrack Carl Sagan’s well known Tv series Cosmos. The link with Sure was finally done later in the ten years, when he teamed with the band’s Jon Anderson for the duo Jon and Vangelis, whose debut album went Best 5.

Vangelis experienced ongoing his film score perform all through the 1970s, but it was in the 80s that this reached its business heights. Chariots of Fireplace became inextricable from Vangelis’s timeless concept, and the new music grew to become synonymous with gradual-movement sporting montages. “My songs does not attempt to evoke emotions like pleasure, like, or pain from the audience. It just goes with the impression, since I perform in the second,” he later stated.

His score to Blade Runner is similarly celebrated for its evocation of a sinister upcoming model of Los Angeles, in which “replicants” and individuals dwell awkwardly along with just one one more, via the use of lengthy, malevolent synth notes saxophones and lush ambient passages enhance the film’s intimate and poignant moments. “It has turned out to be a quite prophetic film – we’re dwelling in a type of Blade Runner entire world now,” he reported in 2005.

Later in the ten years he scored the Palme d’Or-winning Costa-Gavras political drama Missing, starring Jack Lemmon the Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins drama The Bounty, and the Mickey Rourke-starring Francesco. He worked yet again with the Blade Runner director, Ridley Scott, on 1992 movie 1492: Conquest of Paradise, and somewhere else during the 90s, soundtracked Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon and documentaries by Jacques Cousteau.

Vangelis in 2001.
A fascination with outer room … Vangelis in 2001. Photograph: Simela Pantzartzi/EPA

Vangelis drew on Greek instrumentation along with the usual orchestras used in movie scoring on Oliver Stone’s 2004 classical epic Alexander.

His most the latest rating was for El Greco, a 2007 Greek biopic of the Renaissance painter. The Greek artist, who moved to Spain and obtained his nickname there, was significantly admired by Vangelis, who composed albums in 1995 and 1998 that had been impressed by and named after him.

Frequently celebrated for his evocative Chariots of Hearth topic, Vangelis was also commissioned by sporting bodies to soundtrack main situations, together with the 2000 Olympic Video games in Sydney, the 2002 Environment Cup in Japan and South Korea, and the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He also wrote ballet scores and new music for stage productions of Medea, The Tempest and other performs.

Solo releases remained continual alongside his commissioned function, and once in a while bundled collaborations with vocalists these types of as Paul Young.

A fascination with outer place discovered voice in 2016’s Rosetta, dedicated to the area probe of the identical identify, and Nasa appointed his 1993 piece Mythodea (which he claimed to have published in an hour) as the official new music of the Mars Odyssey mission of 2001. His final album, 2021’s Juno to Jupiter, was impressed by the Nasa probe Juno and highlighted recordings of its launch and the workings of the probe by itself in outer place.

Amid all those spending tribute to Vangelis was Greek key minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who hailed “a pioneer of electronic sound”.

This write-up was amended on 20 May well 2022 to a lot more precisely explain the characters in Blade Runner, as “replicants”.