a look at the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou

Greek performer Irene Papas is renowned both as a singer and as an actress. She made fame with acting in movies as "The guns of Navarone" (1961), Michael Cacoyannis' "Zorba the Greek" (1964) and Costa-Gavras "Z" (1969). One of her last parts as an actor she played a role in the movie "Captain's Corelli Mandolin" (2001). Also, together with her husband director Michael Cacoyannis she created many films based on the original plays of Euripides, namely "Electra" (1960), "Trojan Women" (1971) and "Iphigenia" (1976). Apart from movies Irene has directed many Greek plays staged in theatres, more recently "Las Troyanas" (2001) in Sagunto (Spain), "Ecuba" (2003) in Rome (Italy) and "Antigone" (2005) in Syracuse (Sicily, Italy). She is currently president of three acting schools, the "City of the Scenic Arts" of Sagunto, the "Tor Vergata" of Rome and the "To Skolion" of Athens.


Tracklist and credits

as printed on the cd



1986 Polydor 829413 Greece

1986 Polydor 829413 Greece/USA/West-Germany
2007 Polydor 06025 1720630 4 Greece (remastered)

Both the original LP and CD seem harder to find nowadays.

Recording studio
The music for this album was recorded at Nemo Studios in London, England.


bulletThe music of Rapsodies is inspired by tradional Byzantine music.
bulletAccording to interviews the music of Rapsodies was already composed in 1982...
bulletVangelis and Irene have worked together on many occasions...
bulletMost noticeable for the first time, Irene sings on the last Aphrodite's Child album '666'.
The provocative song 'Infinity' (oo) sung by Irene delayed the initial release of the album.
bulletThe first album they made together was recorded in 1978 and released as 'Odes'.
bulletAs an actress Irene has performed in many plays and movies. For some of the plays Vangelis provided the score,
in 1983 "Elektra" performed at the Epidaurus theatre in Greece,
in 1992 "Medea" performed in Barcelona, Spain,
in 2001 "Las Troyanas" performed in Sagunto, Spain,
in 2003 "Ecuba" (together with "Le Troiane") performed in Rome, Italy,
in 2005 "Antigone" performed in Syracuse, Italy.

For all the lyrics of this album, go to : Vangelis and Irene Papas lyrics: Rapsodies

‘Rapsodies’ appears to have been recorded or certainly started around 1982, but was only released in 1986, the last year in which Vangelis used his London Nemo studio. The previous album he did with Irene Papas had been ‘Odes’ and its traditional Greek theme is continued here, but now in the form of various hymns associated with the period in the Greek Orthodox religious calendar called Easter.
On this recording the sound is somewhat lusher and more in keeping with the ones normally associated with Vangelis. All hymns, apart from the third one sung a cappella, have extensive arrangements which makes it hard to tell how much music is traditional and how much original. The instrumental track 'Rapsodia' appears to have been composed by Vangelis especially for this album but a lot of the rest of it also sounds like vintage Vangelis. It is possible to make out the original simple hymns (after all, they have to be easy enough to be sung by "untrained" vocalists) but take for example 'Christos Anesti' which ends with a beautiful original piece or the opening track which Vangelis similarly makes all his own. The final piece 'Asma Asmaton' is really extraordinary and proves the ideal vehicle for Irene Papas to let loose her dramatic skills as the actress who also plays the ancient Greek dramas. Apparently, it conveys a rather orgiastic ode from a man to a woman and vice-versa, in a modern
setting by Lefteris Papadopoulos.

Review by Ivar de Vries