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



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3 stars A truly superb New Age album that predated the genre by a few years.The melodies are beautifull and the music is light to the touch.Prog fans and Yes fans will be interested by the appearance of Jon Anderson playing the harp on Flamants Roses which is probably my favourite track on the album. Very very nice stuff BUT not very progressive to be honest.
Report this review (#34895)
Posted Sunday, May 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My favourite track on this album is "Reve", which means "a dream" in English I believe. Actually it think that it is the best VANGELIS track of his earlier days, very silent, slow, long, beutiful... Can't get tired of listening to it and watching out of the window, as snowflakes slowly cover the city...

zzz zzz zzz

Report this review (#39306)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very slow, peaceful and atmospheric, complex and richly textured, emotional, drifting, swirling - no sequencers, lots of Fender Rhodes, some eastern sounding harp and a small amount of sax - I listened to this (on and off) for 20 years and still never tire of it - easily one of his best alongside 1496 (and I personally quite like Soil Festivities too).
Report this review (#40179)
Posted Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have always considered this record as an introduction, a prelude to the "Chariots of fire" album and the subsequent ones. Indeed, it has a bit the same character as those albums: anthemic & floating songs; smooth, relaxing & nostalgic bits; very catchy airs. However, the recording here is a bit less flamboyant than Vangelis' best sounding albums of the 80's.

"Opera Sauvage" is not very well known, but it deserves attention. The tracks consist in beautiful New Age music, being not linear nor monotonic. This album was probably the first one to be more accessible to a broader public, and it clearly introduces the typical modern sound of the Vangelis of the 80's.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Report this review (#40971)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Vangelis released two albums in '79, the other was China. Opera Sauvage was composed for a French TV series, and it's considered to be one of his most accessible works from the 70's. The romantic 'Hymne' was later used in a TV ad, which made it one of his best known tracks for wide audience. But completely another question is, how important for the more advanced listeners is this album in the whole discography. Not so necessary, as it contains rather typical Vangelis tunes that are pretty beautiful per se, but it's a relatively mild "middle of the road" product, easy to like and easy to ignore. Therefor it's more recommendable to relaxation-seeking new listeners of Vangelis - or electronic music in general - than to those who have already heard a lot.

Album's highlight is 12½ -minute 'Reve' (=dream); soft, dreamy, melancholic, and reminding some parts of the Blade Runner sountrack - which is much better album in total. Also the short 'Mouettes' is a delicate and tender track which has dozens of similar cousins in the discography. 'Chromatique' reminds me distantly of a theme from Mutiny On The Bounty ('Deliverance'?), which is much more effective. 'Irlande': again, quiet and sleepy one. Actually this album (with some CD player programming) would serve well to put one into sleep at night. The other long track 'Flamants Roses' momentarily breaks up the sleepy atmosphere where it starts from and returns to - with another Blade Runner feeling. That final track gives the album's only surprise in the form of some harp playing by JON ANDERSON. Yeah, no vocals this time. 2,5 stars, rounded up for the fact that there is hardly nothing to dislike on this safe album.

PS. Ricochet's lengthy 2-star review is one of the deepest in thought that I've read lately.

Report this review (#141995)
Posted Thursday, October 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was Vangelis' second album of 1979, and was his third album to be released of music for the wildlife programs of Frederic Rossif. It is definitely the best of the three. The music is more varied, better executed, and the sound quality is certainly a lot better. This was partly due to the improvements made in technology during the late seventies, but at the same time, this album feels like a lot more time was spent perfecting it compared to Apocalypse Des Animaux and La Fete Sauvage. The instrumentation is much richer and varied than on the former, and the album is also less repetitious than the latter. This album is certainly as good as any of Vangelis's proper albums of this time, like China and Spiral.

Side one of the original vinyl album contains two of Vangelis' most famous pieces of music. The short three minute opening track, Hymn, is one of them. Sounding like the whole track was done on the Yamaha CS80 with some addition percussion, this is a beautiful and simple piece of music. The melody is almost child-like, and once heard, is never forgotten. The instrumentation is very orchestral. It starts off with the melody played simply with little accompaniment. The instrumentation then gradually builds to a stunning crescendo at the end. A great way to start off the album.

The other famous track is the third track, L'Enfant. This track is often compared to the main theme tune to Chariots Of Fire - indeed, the scenes where that piece of music was used in the film, were originally shot to L'Enfant, and the two share the same tempo. The rhythm of L'Enfant is not entirely the same - while Chariots of Fire is in 4/4, L'Enfant is actually in 12/8. The melody line's rhythm is less regular than Chariots of Fire, as it skips from 9/8 to 12/8. But the instrumentation is undoubtedly similar, and yet it also bears a slightly oriental flavour in places.

In between these two famous tracks is the lengthy track Reve, which is deeply jazzy, laid-back and atmospheric. Dominated by some exquisite fender rhodes piano playing, this is backed simply by a slowly developing percussive sequencer line, and some orchestral flourishes and padding from the CS80. The piece does not get boring at all, as it passes from one theme to another. It evolves naturally, and again has the feel of being completely improvised.

Side one ends with the brief Mouettes, which has the most simple instrumentation of the whole album. Fender Rhodes piano is backed by a single Yamaha CS80 line, to create a soft and delicate kind of feel over its brief three minute duration.

Side two begins with Chromatique, which as the title suggests, contains a highly chromatic melody line, which has a very traditional French feel to it. You could almost imagine the track being played on a musette or accordion. But it isn't, and in its place, is CS80 mixed with Indian tamboura drones, and some beautifully played acoustic guitar, presumably played by Vangelis's engineer, Raphael Preston.

My favourite track on the album is Irlande, which is beautifully simple and spine-tinglingly atmospheric. It has that same haunting and ancient quality that 12 o clock has on Heaven and Hell. This CS80 dominated track starts of sparse and simple, and gradually develops, but never into epic or bombastic proportions. It also has a melody line that sounds strangely familiar, as though its an old folk tune that has been around for centuries. A purely inspirtational piece of music.

The only time this album really shows any bombastic flair is on the epic closing track, Flamants Roses, which features Jon Anderson on harp. The piece is the most progressive on the album, as it jumps from one melodic idea to another, and from one dynamic to another. The opening minutes are dominated by Anderson's harp playing, before Vangelis joins in, with the two playing a simple but effective melody. This then gradually develops as Vangelis's synths yet again create the impression of an orchestra being on the track. The piece ends, with a simple repetitive motif that plays over and over on the harp, with Vangelis providing delicate orchestration underneath. This section reminds me very much of the mid-section of the Yes track Awaken, which again contains Anderson's harp mixed with glockenspiel, and Rick Wakeman's pipe organ playing.

This is undoubtedly a much calmer and serene album than the other Vangelis albums of this period, and this is no doubt due to the fact that it is a soundtrack album. Yet the quality of the music and the performance is far greater than that on Apocalypse Des Animaux, La Fete Sauvage and Ignacio - to me it feels very much like one of Vangelis's proper albums as a result, and probably should be considered as such. Again, another highlight from Vangelis's peak late 1970s period. Definitely worth a listen.

Report this review (#160127)
Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm a little surprised at the low score for this 1979 Vangelis album...not to be confused with 'La Fête Sauvage', his 1976 soundtrack for yet another nature film by Frédéric Roussif. This one may not have been as widely available as his premier studio albums of the era (and was likely overshadowed by the release of the more muscular 'China' that same year). And it deliberately lacks the bombastic synthesizer chords and melodramatic drum fills of his most popular albums ('Albedo 0.39', 'Spiral').

But this was Vangelis at his mid-1970s creative peak, when the Greek synth-rock wizard perfected the unique sound that set him apart from other keyboard superstars of the '70s. The album presents a more gentle but no less passionate variation of the same musical vision, highlighting the proto-New Age romanticism he almost could have patented: a combination of lush symphonic synth-strings and jazzy Fender Rhodes electric piano, sprinkled with exotic percussion.

Vangelis always had a knack for thematic hooks, and this album (even more than some of his others) is filled to capacity with melodies so simple and yet so haunting they can't help but sound familiar. Maybe for good reason: a lot of the music was used elsewhere, in television commercials and in the soundtracks of other, more widely seen films.

The evocative 'L'Enfant' was borrowed by director Peter Weir for his 1982 movie 'The Year of Living Dangerously'. The album opener 'Hymne' was featured in the Oscar© winning score of Hugh Hudson's 'Chariots of Fire' (the director had likewise wanted to use 'L'Enfant', in the now famous title sequence, until Vangelis introduced a new piece at the last moment. The rest, as they say, is history). And the atmospheric film-noir synth-harmonica in 'Reve' clearly anticipated his later, legendary soundtrack to Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner'.

The album even reunited Vangelis with JON ANDERSON of YES, who plays some evocative harp on the dynamic album closer 'Flamants Roses'. At nearly twelve minutes it's one of the longer tracks here, and easily the most overtly proggy, offering another clue to what YES might have sounded like if Vangelis had agreed to replace RICK WAKEMAN.

Vangelis has released a lot of music in his ongoing career. But 'Opera Sauvage' certainly earns a top spot on the short list of his overlooked gems.

Report this review (#248624)
Posted Saturday, November 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of Vangelis' moodiest album, with only the finale Flamants Roses to put some dynamism into the proceedings. As such, however, this track breaks the mood that has been consistent since the album begins. And for the most part, this track keeps the mood, there is just one section where an electronic bombastic orchestra kicks in. This piece also features Jon Anderson on harp. The album opens with the strong melody of Hymne. I was playing this one time and someone commented that it sounded like a wine commercial, which it was in a way, since Gallo had used it in one of their commercials. Despite that, it is a fine piece, bucolic and warm, and provides a good start to the album. Reve, following, is a soft slow piece and the longest here. A soft simple rhythm helps drive the piece. It's not going anywhere, it's just going. Calmly. L'enfant is a classic track, used as the theme for the film The Year of Living Dangerously. An ethereal tone gives the main melody a floating sheen. This track, and Hymne, are both found on the compilation Themes. The following three, Mouettes, Chromatique, and Irlande, are short beautiful mood pieces that are presented in their simplicity. Irlande gives a haunting melancholy mood, while Chromatique simply revolves around a chromatic chord progression. This is perhaps the spaciest piece here. And we end on the aforementioned Flamants Roses.

Opera Sauvage seems to be one of Vangelis' more popular albums, and rightly so. As Heaven and Hell set the standard, this album is the most central expression of Vangelis' art. If you want to know what Vangelis sounds like, start here. An essential album, not just for the hardcore fan, but also for fans of good music and casual fans of Vangelis. Can't miss this one. And as a plus, this is also Vangelis' best cover. A woman photographed in soft focus stares out of purda at us with dark mysterious eyes. A friend of mine discounted the CD version simply because this picture became that much smaller. A beautiful cover that actually fits the music inside. Haunting and inviting, much like the album itself. Opera Sauvage is an album that floats through the twilight. Just go along and don't worry about the brief storm towards the end, it will only help you appreciate the peacefulness more.

Report this review (#288386)
Posted Saturday, June 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is not the first collaboration between the Greek composer and the French wild animal film maker. But as far as I am concerned, this one is not the best of their common work.

I had to wait for the third song to find some good "Vangelis" music. "L'Enfant" is by far my favourite song from this album and it is premonitory of "Chariots Of Fire". Most of this album is on the ambient and new age styles. At times with a nice melody, at times with ?humm; what else? (like the long "Rêves").

I can hardly say that this "Opéra Sauvage" is a bad album, but it ranges to one of my least favourite of the artist (not talking about "Beaubourg" of course). The overall is too much of a tranquil affair and offers very little great atmospheres or stunning melodies.

It is just a succession of average soundtrack parts and as such it might sound wise to view the documentary as a whole to get a better idea. But it is quite a challenging task since there is no trace (or hardly) of this original project: some twenty one episodes just short of an hour.

More than these forty minutes of music must have been composed on the occasion. But that's all what's left. And the result doesn't score more than two stars in my books.

Report this review (#305018)
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Let's skip Hymne. This short track has been made famous by a TV spot in my country and unfortunately is the Vangelis piece most known between the mainstream people, those who can recognize the music but don't know who the hell Vangelis is. I this this is the poorest track of this album. It's trivial and too melodic and it was used for a little girl who finds a kitty under the rain and brings it at home....the kind of things that can cause diabetis. An excess of sugar.

Apart of this, the album is the result of another collaboration with Frederic Rossif, so we are speaking of naturalistic documentaries soundtracks. "Reve" is slow, evocative of a rainy day. There will be something very similar on "Chariots of Fire", Abraham's theme if I remember correctly, but this is longer and more complex. A spacey track with some "electronic wind" in the background. A typical Vangelis track with some spare jazzy moments on a very melodic base. Chill Out.

Let's wake up with "L'Enfant". It's as melodic as Hymne, but has somethign of celtic or medieval even being totally electronic. A good one.

Back to space, or under a starry sky with "Mouettes". Well, this is newage, more than chill out. A couple of minutes of rhythmless melody and subtle keyboards.

"Chromatique" is unusual. The "simil-acoustic guitar" harping accompanies a strange and sad melody that has some "sitar" in the background. Of course it's not a true sitar.

"Irlande" as one can expect has a celtic mood. In the melody more than in the sounds used. A great piece.

Jon Anderson is credited of playing harp on "Flamant Roses". He's not Vollenweider. I too could probably play the harp in that way. However it's a curiosity and the track that's complex and has various different moments is absolutely not bad and the most "progressive" track of the album.

Good but non essential. And please skip the first track.

Report this review (#366202)
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opera Sauvage is one of the strongest and most consistant collection of songs Vangelis had come up with at that point, and it's also one of his most pleasant listens. While China had found him leaning more on the beautiful aspects of the electronic prog albums of Albedo 0.39 and Spiral, Opera Sauvage concentrates almost completely on that side of his music, and also happens to contain some of his best compositions. The melodic and lushly arranged "Hymn" and "L'Enfant" are both well known, and the soft electric piano atmosphere of "Reve" is one of his most relaxing pieces. On "Chromatique", Vangelis uses rhythm to great effect to make a timeless melody out of a simple chromatic scale. The album may not have the same exciting energy as some of his earlier albums, with the exception of the appropriately named "Flamants Roses", with Jon Anderson on harp, but Vangelis has clearly grown even more as a songwriter, and every piece is a marvel to listen to. One of his best.
Report this review (#604179)
Posted Friday, January 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Brings out the beast in you

The music of Vangelis lends itself perfectly to film and documentary scores, so it is not surprising that his composition skills have been called upon many times by the visual media. Unlike some of contemporaries though, there tends to be little material difference between the music Vangelis writes for films and TV and his normal album output. Consequently, the fact that there are soundtrack albums present is largely transparent when viewing his vast discography. "Opéra sauvage" ("Wild or wilderness opera") is one such soundtrack album, the music being composed in 1979 for a French nature documentary made by Frédéric Rossif.

What to expect here is therefore pretty predictable, with pleasant but unintrusive melodies being the order of the day. That said, this is not simply a collection of ambient sounds or soft synths. The melodies can be reasonably strong and the beat occasionally forceful. The onomatopoeic "Reve" is the softest of the pieces, electric piano being the instrument of choice for the longest track on the album at almost 12½ minutes. "L'Enfant" has the distinction of having been used on two separate soundtracks, the piece also appearing in the film "The Year of Living Dangerously".

While Jon Anderson does not sing at all on the album this time around, he still manages to secure a credit by playing harp on the closing 12 minute track "Flamants roses".

Overall, a pleasant but unassuming release which offers no surprises but a more than palatable diversion (hic!). Incidentally, the sleeve was also designed by Vangelis (such as it is).

Report this review (#791408)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm a little bit dissapointed to see that Opera Sauvage is such an underrated Vangelis album. Even if it is a documentary movie soundtrack ( another one from F. Rossif series) , the music from the album is unique in beauty and silence. Famous songs such as L'enfant and Hymne used to be openings for TV broadcastings for the last 35 years and will be in the future, for sure, making Vangelis music almost immortal. This album is, like many others, made to be played from the beginning till the last second without any stop or pause. Speaking about other songs, Reve is purely melancholic and floating, also Irlande and Muettes(the most ambiental one). The last song-Flamants roses- is a little complex because of the contribution of Jon Anderson from Yes on harp and because the use of percussion, as well.

Highly recommended for old and young prog music lovers anytime, especially after a hard working day!

Report this review (#1505730)
Posted Saturday, January 2, 2016 | Review Permalink

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