Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (born 29 March 1943), professionally known as Vangelis is a Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, rock and orchestral music He is best known for his Academy Award winning score for the film Chariots of Fire as well as the score for Ridley Scott’s iconic film Blade Runner (a dispute with the studio caused Vangelis to withhold permission to use his music for some time).
Vangelis began his professional musical career working with several popular bands of the 1960s such as The Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child, with the latter’s album 666 going on to be recognized as a psychedelic classic
Throughout the 1970s, Vangelis composed music scores for several animal documentaries and the success of these scores brought him into the film-scoring mainstream. In the early 1980s, Vangelis formed a musical partnership with Jon Anderson, the lead singer of progressive rock band Yes, and the duo went on to release several albums together as Jon & Vangelis.
It was the link up with Jon Anderson (I have always been a massive Yes fan, even the self-indulgent Tales from Topographic Oceans) that I first came across Vangelis and the song, State of Independence although I have to confess that the definitive performance of this song is by Donna Summer.
However, the piece of music that I consider to be one of Vangelis’s greatest compositions is the relatively less played “To the Unknown Man”………it is 9 minutes of sheer unadulterated musicality, a theme repeated over and over again building to a wonderful climax. The nearest comparison I can think of is Ravel’s “Bolero”
The video I have chosen is the one where the music accompanies photographs of the galaxy taken by the Hubble Telescope……….sit back and enjoy!