A New Style
The film's director, Hugh Hudson, chose Vangelis to compose the film's music, after becoming impressed with his albums Opera Sauvage and China and having worked with Vangelis on commercials in Paris during the 1970s. Vangelis played all the instruments, including synthesizers, acoustic piano, battery and percussion, and recorded the score in his Nemo studio in London, which he had set up in 1975. The music that he came up with, mostly electronic for a period film, initiated a new style in film scoring. The use of synthesizers in film scores beyond mere textures, and their convenience in allowing directors, producers, and studios to hear preliminary versions of full scores found its roots in Chariots of Fire.
- "He tells us about the way he set about producing the music for Chariots of Fire. About the low budget it really had. About the way in which he endlessly exchanged thoughts with the author about the story. Only when the movie was completely finished did he actually start working on the music for it. Saw it only three times for that purpose and then started work." — Vangelis interview to Music Maker magazine, September 1982
- "I didn't want to do period music. I tried to compose a score which was contemporary and still compatible with the time of the film. But I also didn't want to go for a completely electronic sound." — Vangelis interview in American Film magazine, September 1982
The score album, however, is almost all re-recorded, and sounds different from the music heard on film, with often richer arrangements, particularly in the "Titles" track. The second part of the album is a one-track suite including music from and inspired by the score. On the other hand, some original themes from the film did not make it to the album.
- "A record is something other than a film. There have to be changes - not least of all for artistic reasons." — Vangelis interview to Neumusik magazine, issue 5, August 1981
Although Vangelis had already done a number of film scores, including those for animal documentaries by Frédéric Rossif, Chariots of Fire was his first major film score, and it immediately gave him his big breakthrough as a composer, as "Titles" was an international hit and changed the whole course of his career.
- "It occurs very rarely that a composer thinks of his most successful work as his best. I am no exception to that rule. I think of my soundtrack for ... Mutiny on the Bounty as endlessly more interesting than Chariots of Fire." — Vangelis interview to De Telegraaf newspaper, June 15, 1991
Read more about this topic: Chariots Of Fire (album)
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