ABK1-4003 The Music of Cosmos
Produced by Gordon Skene and Kent Gibson
Released on 1981
US CHART POSITION #136
Find it at GEMM
ABK1-4003 cover  

Y up, there are billions and billions of soundtracks out there, so why bring this one to light? For starters, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series on PBS was something of a watershed moment for astrology enthusiasts. Not only did it introduce millions to the wonders of space and rekindle our love affair for the stars, but the soundtrack also introduced many to the music of Vangelis. Perhaps taking a cue from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the producers of Cosmos chose a suitably majestic score than interspersed classical excerpts with the works of electronic composers like Vangelis, Synergy and Isao Tomita. Electronic music fans will find a measure of validation in hearing Vangelis’ “Heaven And Hell” glide gracefully into Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, or Tomita’s treatment of a Bach theme segue into a performance of the original master’s “Partita No. 3.” It’s an appropriate union considering that for many listeners classical music served as the gateway to the electronic music of the Seventies. Not all of these luminous works hold their own in this rarefied air: an excerpt from Vangelis’ “Alpha” comes off as trite while Roy Buchanan’s “Fly Night Bird” and the traditional Oriental piece “Depicting The Cranes In Their Nest” seem a little out of place in space. Still, the Cosmos soundtrack wraps these works (some separated by centuries) into a seamless musical universe for the most part. The themes (Space/Time Continuum, Exploration, Cataclysm) serve as signposts along the journey, and allow Cosmos to function as a self-standing statement about the world around (and above) us. It appears there are two versions of the Cosmos score: a single elpee/cassette version (subtitled “Selections From The PBS TV Series”) and a double-elpee version that features many additional tracks.

TRACK LISTING

  1. SPACE/TIME CONTINUUM
      A. Heaven and Hell, Part I    (Vangelis)
      B. Symphony No. 11    (Dmitri Shostakovich)
      C. Alpha    (Vangelis)
  2. LIFE
      A. Depicting the Cranes in Their Nest
      B. Canon a 3 on a Ground in D    (Johannes Pachelbel)
      C. The Four Seasons (Spring)    (Antonio Vivaldi)
      D. The Sea Named Solaris    (J.S. Bach/Isao Tomita)
  3. THE HARMONY OF NATURE
      A. Partita No. 3    (J.S. Bach)
  4. EXPLORATION
      A. Symphony No. 19    (Alan Hovhaness)
      B. Legacy    (Larry Fast)
      C. Russian Easter Festival Overture    (Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov)
      D. Inside the Heart of the Universe    (Toru Takemitsu)
  5. CATACLYSM
      A. Fly Night Bird    (Roy Buchanan/Roussell/Newark/Weeks/Silva)
      B. Beaubourg, Part II    (Vangelis)
      C. The Rite of Spring    (Igor Stravinsky)
  6. AFFIRMATION
      A. Entends-tu les Chiens Aboyer?    (Vangelis)
      B. Bulgarian Shepherdess Song
      C. Heaven and Hell, Part I    (Vangelis)

CREDITS

VANGELIS --
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields --
Ernest Ansermet --
V. Balkanska --
Roy Buchanan --
Arthur Grumiaux --
Houston Symphony Orchestra --
Alan Hovanhess --
L. Kanevski --
London Symphony Orchestra --
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra --
Neville Marriner --
Eduardo Mata --
The NHK Symphony Orchestra --
Elmar Oliviera --
L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande --
Gerard Schwarz --
Sevan Philharmonic --
Leopold Stokowski --
Synergy --
Toru Takemitsu --
Isao Tomita --
G. Yamaguchi --
S. Zakmanov --
Geoffrey Haines-Stiles -- executive producer

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/CAN 1981 RCA LP/CS ALK1/ABK1-4003 gatefold cover
UK 1981 RCA LP RCALP 5032 gatefold cover

 

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