AFL1-5110 Heaven and Hell
Produced & Arranged by Vangelis
Released on November 1975
UK CHART POSITION #31
Find it at GEMM
AFL1-5110 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

H eaven and Hell is widely regarded as Vangelis’ first “great” work. In it, he mixes progressive rock and electronic music effectively, creating a tone poem that conveys its subject matter with skill and invention. Heaven and Hell begins with “Bacchanale Symphony to the Powers of B” (note that some records don’t list the separate movements), a Carmina Burana-inspired piece with tortured chorus and some progressive flights of fancy that recall the keyboard work of Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman. The second movement starts out rather weakly but soon unfolds into some lovely music, peaking in the third movement with a Tangerine Dream-like ascension of sound that reveals the theme to “Chariots of Fire” in its earlier incarnation (which here served as the theme to the BBC series “Cosmos”). The first side of music ends with “So Long Ago, So Clear,” an airy song featuring Yes vocalist Jon Anderson that suggests the quieter moments on Relayer. Side two makes the distinction between heaven and hell more clear, conjuring at various moments ghosts, priests, lost souls and angels. “Needles and Bones” is a treat, presaging the Oriental-themed China (though the playful keyboard sounds could have come from Cluster), while the ending “Away” begins as an ELP-inspired instrumental before fading into a lovely quiet. Vangelis actually adds little to the progressive rock genre, choosing instead to embellish accepted styles within his own, ethereal idiom. In doing so, he strikes upon a unique style that merges electronic and progressive stereotypes into a single set of colors to paint from. Where many composers have opted for abstract arrangements (a compositional copout for some), Vangelis keeps Heaven and Hell relatively concrete in its movement and structure. It’s a bold move that pays off; his tone poem invites comparison to the work of Rachmaninov and other 20th century composers, and is the first of Vangelis’ albums to elevate him to the status of a serious composer.

AFL1-5110 back cover
AFL1-5110 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. HEAVEN AND HELL (PART 1)    (Vangelis)    21:54
    SO LONG AGO, SO CLEAR    (Vangelis/Jon Anderson)
  2. HEAVEN AND HELL (PART 2)    (Vangelis)    21:09

CREDITS

VANGELIS -- all kinds of keyboards, percussion and sundry instruments
Jon Anderson -- lead vocals
English Chamber Choir -- choir
Guy Protheroe -- choir conductor
Vana Veroutis -- lead female vocal
Alan Lucas -- engineer
Mike Doud/AGI -- sleeve concept
Paul Wakefield -- photography
Geoff Halpin -- logo design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/FRA November 1975 RCA Victor LP RS-1025 gatefold cover
US November 1975 RCA LP/CS AFL1/LPK1-5110  
ARG 1976 RCA LP AVS4644  
CAN/ITA/GER/SPA 1976 RCA LP LPL1-5110  
GRC   Polydor LP 2393 131  
UK   RCA LP LP 3012 gatefold cover
JPN 1980 RCA LP RPL-8005 insert
NET 1980 RCA LP NL-25299  
UK 1981 RCA LP NL-71148  
GER September 1981 RCA LP PL-70009 gatefold cover
FRA/GER/NET September 18, 1989 RCA CD/CS ND-71148  
UK April 1995 RCA CD 74208 repackaged w. ALBEDO 0.39
US April 29, 1997 Windham Hill CD 11232  
JPN   RCA CD BVCP-7371 20-bit digital remaster

 

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