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Vangelis - Chariots of Fire (OST) CD (album) cover

CHARIOTS OF FIRE (OST)

Vangelis

 

Prog Related

3.07 | 149 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Greek maestro VANGELIS has a special place in my heart when I look back at my entire music listening history. Quite rare for a basically instrumental output, his synth-based and often pretty romantic music has sort of walked by my side since adolescence; in the emotional sense it has often stored my inner feelings. The settings of my Vangelis-related memories may be seemingly as simple as having a desolate stroll in a lakeside park in a beautiful summer evening, but nevertheless they're dear to me, and the music still manages to touch me. Now, due to my sentimental intro you probably presume Chariots of Fire is among my most cherished Vangelis albums. Actually, it doesn't have that status. But re-listening to it now, I realize it comes very close to having it, at least partially if not for the album whole.

This soundtrack for the Oscar-winning film about two British runners participating in the Paris Olympics in 1924 brought Vangelis more fame. I finally saw the movie at the age of 22 or so. I liked it, but just like with Blade Runner, I felt slightly disappointed here and there of the way the music was used. The album itself had already been familiar to me as my first love had it. Needless to say, the famous main theme (commonly known as 'Chariots of Fire' instead of 'Titles') works brilliantly in the opening scene with a bunch of men running on the sea shore. One of the best known Vangelis tunes it has remained ever since, for a good reason. It is fresh, compact, uplifting, accessible, and unlike much of synth music -- or any popular music -- of the early 80's, it still sounds fresh.

The vinyl has six pieces on its first side. Next comes 'Five Circles' which I also enjoy a lot for the romantically soft and yet majestic soundscape. 'Abraham's Theme' is a reserved and introvert piece which hides most of the passion under the quiet surface. 'Eric's Theme' is my least fave track on this album. It feels overlong and therefor a bit hollow to me. '100 Metres' is a very reserved, tension-building intro to the powerful bliss of the famous Anglican hymn 'Jerusalem' composed to the poem of William Blake. BTW, I adore also ELP's version of it. Vangelis's version featuring a choir and church organ is very orthodox unlike ELP's, but it's gorgeous anyway.

The entire second vinyl side is a near 21-minute piece confusingly titled as 'Chariots of Fire' which circulates some themes. Imagine slow movements of romantic piano concertos, with synths taking place of an orchestra. Well, I'm not a great fan of this over-extended and rather vaguely wandering epic. Admittedly there's a lot of sensitive emotions in the piano melodies; I clearly prefer the more delicate sections over the more bombastic ones.

So, as I said, this album hasn't been among my dearest from Vangelis, but for the best moments it's absolutely first class Vangelis in the romantic end of his spectre. In fact, it surprises me how many two-star reviews it has here. My rating is 3 stars rounded down.

Matti | 3/5 |

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