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Vangelis - China CD (album) cover

CHINA

Vangelis

 

Prog Related

3.78 | 129 ratings

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Progosopher
5 stars A return to form after the rude interruption that was Beauborg.

The end of the seventies was an active period of time for Vangelis. In 1979 alone he had released one oddity of a film soundtrack and one rare gem of collaboration with a fellow Greek expat and two classics. China is one of the classics. Vangelis' sense for melody takes a far eastern edge here. The theme here is the magnificence of ancient Chinese culture. The opening, Chung Kuo, begins with a flourish, a rush of sound that awakens one to something like the creation, and is then taken down to the earth. The name is the ancient name for China. The piece moves into its main section, regular and melodic and damn near transcendent. This blends into The Long March, a tasty piano piece commemorating a march of the modern Chinese army: they marched 235 out of 368 days, several at night, fighting a skirmish a day, fighting several pitched battles and covering 6,000 miles halting only every 114. A beautiful piece for such an arduous experience. The Dragon is a dynamic piece, followed by the sweet Plum Blossom, and then by the Tao of Love, perhaps his best short composition. The Little Fete puts a Li-Po poem to music, recited by Yeung Hak-Fun and Koon Fook Man: "I take a bottle of wine and I go to drink it among the flowers. We are always three . . . counting my shadow and my friend the shimmering moon. Happily, the moon knows nothing of drinking, and my shadow is never thirsty. When I sing, the moon listens to me in silence; When I dance, my shadow dances too. After all festivities the guests must depart; This sadness I do not know. When I go home, the moon goes with me and my shadow follows me." The second set begins with the back and forth of Yin & Yang and concludes with the magnificent combination of Himalaya and Summit. Himalaya has a regular beat to it, like a Sherpa plodding up the steep mountain heights. This piece builds up in grandeur and arrangement, with rising and descending bursts of sound which parallel the towering of mountainsides and the vertigo inducing drop of deep canyons. All this eventually blends into the cold adamantine peacefulness of Summit. By this time, all bets are off, and we are in another world, one of transcendence and mystery. We only get a glimpse of it through the frozen clouds before it drifts away from us into the aether. But that glimpse is enough. We have seen the source of the world. We have danced with the dragon and lived to tell the tale. We have traversed Chun Kuo. We have traversed China.

Essential Vangelis. Overall better than Spiral and Albedo 0.39. On par with Heaven and Hell, although most of the Vangelis fans I know, including myself, prefer H&H. Don't hesitate. Just buy it.

Progosopher | 5/5 |

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