The legendary Greek composer and electronic musician Vangelis Papathanassiou is the latest of a generation to leave us in 2022.
It’s hard to know what to say about the composer – too large a legacy to even fully grasp, amidst a flood of obituaries this year. Yes, Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner scores, yes, Aphrodite’s Child and yes, Yes (Jon Anderson). Blade Runner defined what synth futurism was; Chariots of Fire was iconic enough to be a sonic meme in the 80s, before what we know now as memes.
Maybe it’s best to leave the reflection to others, which includes today even the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (who broke the news, in Greek) and European Space Agency Senior Advisor Mark McCaughrean (ESA also worked with the composer):
Loosely translated, the Greek Prime Minister noted that knowing his second name was Odysseus, he began his long journey in the roads of fire.
Here are some collected obituaries and remembrances:
Vangelis Papathanassiou dead at 79 [loudersound]
Vangelis, Oscar-Winning Composer of ‘Chariots of Fire’ and ‘Blade Runner,’ Dead at 79 [Rolling Stone – Daniel Kreps]
Our friends at mu:zines have a 1990 interview in Sound on Sound to read, by author Richard Buskin:
Amusingly, the composer (somewhat presciently in 1990) rails against synth complexity, saying “Mozart would have written a symphony in the time that it takes someone to programme several racks of equipment!”
Let’s start with another composer of beloved soundtracks: