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Vangelis - Opéra Sauvage (OST) CD (album) cover




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3.53 | 113 ratings

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4 stars "Opera Sauvage" was released in 1979, quite a busy time for Vangelis and also during his most prolific and successful times. It falls between "China" and "See You Later", both albums being more accessible, the former being an excellent love letter to China and the latter being more focused on a "popular" sound. "Opera Sauvage" in contrast, is another soundtrack, made for a nature documentary. However, this album is more like Vangelis' signature sound and less like his other soundtracks. Many consider it one of his best and most important albums. It has a nice, warm feel to it, not cold like so many other electronic albums that were being released at the time.

Hymne - This short track features quite a famous melody from Vangelis which has been rearranged several times for commercials and what-not. As the title suggests, the melody does have a hymn-like style to it. It's a short composition which repeats the melody a few times and becomes more dramatic and regal as it goes with orchestral-style percussion.

Ręve - A much longer track at over 12 minutes. It is more atmospheric, but also features a lovely, slow melody that is less reliant on a repeating theme that has a celestial feel to it. Vangelis utilizes the electric piano quite extensively here which gives it the bright and airy texture. The notes are sustained to give a semblance of infinity, or a slow passage of time with a nice, dreamy sound. There is a quiet, thumping feeling pushed far back in the mix and some nice, fluttering effects from the synths surrounding the main melody played by the electric piano. There is an occasional shot of jazz sensibility throughout and a marching beat comes in towards the end.

L'Enfant - At this point, the album moves back to a more melodic-based track were the theme is presented and then later developed as it continues. This is another fairly recognizable theme presented with the piano, with brass synth effects taking over as the music slowly intensifies.

Mouettes - Another short track that also works on the theme and variation style. Instead of the classical-based feel of the previous tracks, this one has a romantic-era feel to it. It's also quite ambient.

Chromatique - Less melodic and based on a chromatic line as the title suggests. An acoustic guitar is added to help support the descending melody and is used throughout. It's got an interesting feel, almost more cinematic and some really nice effects and synth textures, also harsh at times, so the guitar helps to warm it up a bit.

Irlande - Another theme and variation style piece. Again, the title hints at the style, which is definitely Celtic sounding and quite serene.

Flamants Roses - Another long track that approaches 12 minutes. The track actually goes through several styles, tempos and dynamics and it features a harp played by Jon Anderson, the only instrument on the album not played by Vangelis. The first section is fairly ambient, but it moves to a more dynamic section in the 2nd section where it builds with a nice crescendo and dramatic feel and percussion bringing it to a climax. The 3rd section utilizes some bluesy flourishes and such which makes it even more interesting.

There are many that consider this album one of his best, if not his best. For me, it's a pleasant listen, but I don't quite hold it in the high esteem as most as it is a bit too predictable in many places, the exceptions being the two longer tracks and "Chromatique". Some of the melodies are a bit overplayed, and that probably factors into the slightly lower rating for me. However, I feel it is good enough to be 4 stars because the best tracks take up the most time on the album, but it doesn't quite get the stellar review from me as "Heaven and Hell" and a few of Vangelis' other albums. Still pretty good, but not the masterpiece that others might claim it is, especially in a progressive sense.

TCat | 4/5 |


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