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Vangelis - 1492 - Conquest Of Paradise (OST) CD (album) cover




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3.95 | 140 ratings

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5 stars Vangelis now enters into what I consider a golden age of his music. Throughout his career so far we have seen an artist who was never content to repeat himself. Starting here, though, he begins a process of extending himself further and further with each new release, a process that would not end for another twelve years. The past has been revisited, the best has been brought forward to serve as a new foundation, and the rest has been left behind.

1492 ? Conquest of Paradise is the soundtrack to Ridley Scott's film of the same name coordinated to have been released on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' first landing in the Americas, an event which has changed the course of history. Whether that is for good or ill depends on whom you talk to. Great soundtrack, terrible movie.

The album begins with a tense and dream-like piece conveniently titled Opening, which then blends into Conquest of Paradise, a rousing march featuring a humming male chorus and appropriate synth symphonic bombast. The next three pieces, Monastery of La Rabida, City of Isabel, and Light and Shadow, are atmospheric pieces that express the late 1400's in Spain, a time when Islam was completely driven out, and Medievalism was still prominent yet there was some influence from the early Italian renaissance. West Across the Ocean Sea is an acoustic guitar driven piece depicting the drudgery of a long ocean crossing and the doubt that such a crossing will actually lead to anything. Simple and haunting. Eternity is an oddly timed tune attempting to recreate the life of the natives on Hispaniola. Not so much a period piece as an original piece conveying a mood. I'm not too sure how well it really works, but the high flutes which give way to lush synthesizers are a thing of beauty. A thing not of beauty is the battle which Hispaniola tells, another driving piece lead by a rich and plaintive solo vocal. The exuberant melody generates a lot of drama. The next three pieces make up more than half the album. First off is Moxica and the Horse, driven by a syntho beat in world music mode, and dreamy yet dynamic vocals that are really a kind of a cry. The song moves forward, but does not move anywhere in particular. In Twenty Eighth Parallel, Vangelis has attempted to create the most lush romanticized version of location ever. The main theme is exceptionally beautiful, almost cloyingly so, with an unutterably rich orchestration A flourish of the harp leads us into the climax, Pinta, Nina, Santa Maria (Into Eternity), a thirteen-minute example of classic Vangelis. We start with a rhythm, then we are introduced to the main melody and its counter, a theme that never waivers for the entire piece. Vangelis' masterful orchestrations build one atop the other over the duration and ends with a massive crescendo. Majestic. We are dealing with one of the most important events in human history here, and no amount of grandeur is really too much for it. Unfortunately, it is too much for Scott's film, but we can't blame that on the music. We finish with a reprise of Eternity, with a lush symphonic background added. The album resolves on a satisfying note that completes everything that has come before. Masterful, simply masterful.

1492 ? Conquest of Paradise is easily Vangelis' best work since 1979 and one of his best releases overall. He has abandoned the electronic rock of the Direct era for a return to theme, melody, and orchestration. A necessary and enjoyable contribution to any Vangelis collection and for anyone who just plain loves good music.

Progosopher | 5/5 |


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