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Vangelis - Chariots Of Fire CD (album) cover

CHARIOTS OF FIRE

Vangelis

 

Prog Related

2.90 | 92 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars The 42 minute mile

"Chariots of fire" was of course a phenomenally successful film which won many awards and plaudits. Vangelis' film score undeniably played a significant part in the film's success. I deny anyone who has seen the film to hear the main theme without instantly picturing a group of runners on a beach, filmed in slow motion. Apart from that defining moment, the soundtrack complemented the film superbly, Vangelis toying with the watcher's emotions though the various moods he created.

This however is not a film review, and here we must assess the music on a purely audio basis. Unfortunately, as with the majority of soundtracks, when heard out of context the results do not hold up nearly so well.

The title theme enjoyed major success on the back of the film, and is a fine piece of music in its own right. Confusingly, the piece we all know as "Chariots of fire" is in fact called "Titles" here. It is however only a brief part of the album, the remainder of which is largely washes of atmospheric synthesisers, such as can be found on any number of Tangerine Dream albums.

Side one of the album closes with a rendition of the hymn "Jerusalem", also covered by Emerson Lake and Palmer on "Brain salad surgery". This is quite different to the rest of the album, as it features the Ambrosian singers performing the piece in a straight church choir manner with Vangelis providing church organ.

The piece which actually bears the title "Chariots of fire" occupies the whole of the second side of the album. This 20 minute suite is not taken directly from the film, but sees Vangelis improvising upon and developing themes from side one. While there is a relaxed quality to the music, it retains the feel of being film music. At times, it seems we have drifted into a classical piano concerto, with only the occasional dramatics of a synthesiser burst or clumsy attack on the timpani to keep things from wandering too far.

Seen for what it is, the music from a film, "Chariots of fire" is a reasonably strong piece of work. Assessed solely as an album in its own right, it is a pleasant diversion, but largely lacking in anything of substance.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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