a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou
One Man Orchestra
Two Greek performers of popular music have achieved much recognition over the past decade, and gained an "international reputation" - Demis Roussos and Vangelis Papathanassiou. It would seem they have little in common, one of them a stage singer, the other a serious composer and arranger, a real master of electronic and acoustic keyboards. Nevertheless for five years they were part of one band called "Aphrodite's Child". The band was created in 1968 by the young Greek musicians, living as immigrants in Paris in opposition to the regime of the "black colonels". Many creations of this original ensemble, especially the songs "Rain and Tears" and "It's Five O'Clock" were very successful and still haven't been forgotten today. One of their most interesting projects, the oratorio "666", was first performed in 1972, shortly before the band disintegrated. Keyboard-player Vangelis Papathanassiou, having dismissed the band, began to write symphonic works and music for films. Only in 1975 he returned to the stage simply as Vangelis. Record-company RCA, for which the musician had signed a contract, decided that his surname Papathanassiou was very difficult and that presenters of music programmes wouldn't pronounce it correctly. Since then Vangelis has written more than half a dozen albums, among them "Albedo 0.39", "Spiral", "Beaubourg" and others, on which all instrumental parts are being played by him. Vangelis is considered one of the best keyboard-players in the world. His works, compared to those of other electronic music performers, distinguish themselves by having first of all bright melodies and very full compositions saturated with various intonations from folklore. Secondly, the harmonious originality of his music makes Vangelis draw the attention of many arrangers. In particular, the piece "Pulstar", also in this issue (*), was included in the repertoire of the “Polja Moria” orchestra. The last two years were especially successful regarding his musical biography. He wrote two vocal albums together with well-known singer and lyricist Jon Anderson. So after one decade, he has returned to writing simple forms of song again. And at the end of 1981 Vangelis received an honorable Grammy award for his music for the "Chariots of Fire" movie, recognized as the best film-music of the year.
A. Troytsky(*) on one of the blue flexi-discs that came with the issue.
By Ivar de Vries