PD-1-6335 Chariots of Fire
Produced by Vangelis
Released on March 1981
UK CHART POSITION #5 . . . US CHART POSITION #1 . . . WON OSCAR FOR BEST SCORE . . . UK RE-CHARTED POSITION #39 (1984)
Find it at GEMM
PD-1-6335 cover  

Chariots of Fire is far and away Vangelis’ most popular work, though it is a far way from being his magnum opus, a point that has polarized some fans. Reluctant to share their hero with the hoi polloi, fans pointed out the record’s triteness and re-use of melodies, forgetting for the moment that the same flaw could be pointed out in many of Vangelis’ previous works. While the electronic composer’s best-known work is not his best work (isn’t it ironic?), the Chariots of Fire score is a remarkable bit of movie music all the same. Compared to the scores of Tangerine Dream, Vangelis’ is a much more deft bit of recycling (in this case, using the melody from “Heaven and Hell” that served as the theme to the Cosmos tv series). The first side features five short pieces, notably “Titles,” which heralds the theme from a distant ether and then places it right up front, exposed but resplendent. In many ways, these pieces recall the work of Jon and Vangelis, and fans of the one are likely to enjoy the other. Surprisingly, Vangelis shows much restraint in not repeating the opening melody at every opportunity: only slight references to it are made on the side-long “Chariots of Fire.” That work is a sometimes amorphous tone poem that uses the film as a source of inspiration rather than a particular series of events. It’s an unusual course to take for a film score, and this “music first” aesthetic may explain why the score was so popular. Also, Vangelis did have a unique sound, futuristic and classical at the same time, which suited the olympic theme perfectly. A brilliant bit of casting for the soundtrack, coupled with a new creation from the composer, earned the score an Academy Award. In retrospect, it’s more important that Vangelis received recognition for his work in general than any one work in particular.

PD-1-6335 back cover
PD-1-6335 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. TITLES    (Vangelis)    3:25
  2. FIVE CIRCLES    (Vangelis)    5:15
  3. ABRAHAM'S THEME    (Vangelis)    3:14
  4. ERIC'S THEME    (Vangelis)    4:04
  5. 100 METRES    (Vangelis)    /    JERUSALEM    (Parry, arr. by Harry Rabinowitz)    4:44
  6. CHARIOTS OF FIRE    (Vangelis)    20:34

CREDITS

VANGELIS -- all instruments
Ambrosian Singers -- choir (5)
John McCarthy -- choir director (5)
Raphael Preston -- engineer
Raine Shine -- engineer
John Walker -- engineer

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK March 1981 Polydor LP/CS 1026  
US/CAN October 1981 Polydor LP/CS PD/CT-1-6335  
US 1981 Audio Award LP 212 w. The London Philharmonic?
GER 1981 Polydor LP 2383 602  
JPN 1981? Polydor LP 28MM 0033  
UK November 1982 Polydor 3LP   repackaged w. CHINA & OPERA SAUVAGE
US   Polydor CD 800 020  
  1989 Polygram CD 899 969  
US 1990? Polydor LP/CS 825 384  
  1995 Mobile Fidelity CD UDCD-622 original master recording
UK September 18, 2000 Universal CD 549 095 digital remaster

 

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