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This review is from: Chariots Of Fire (Remastered) (MP3 Download)
Whilst there's no doubt that 'Chariots of Fire' is an excellently scripted, acted and directed piece of cinema, Vangelis' soundtrack is the absolute highlight of the film, which chronicles the story of Olympic winning athletes Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. Vangelis' score is a masterful melding of heraldic, classical music, much of it with pastoral overtones, with the chilly ambient synth music that characterised other Vangelis releases of the '80s, such as 'Antarctica' and 'China'. 'Titles', the piece which will be most familiar to listeners, is the opener - an evocative, shortened variation on the closing theme, replete with tripping synths and a gliding classical melody. The gentle, lilting 'Five Circles', which follows it, is the album's most traditional-sounding piece; a yearning piece, which sounds more the work of Elgar, than of most of Vangelis' other releases. The contrasting character traits of Abraham and Eric, are evoked nicely in their respective themes; the former a memorable, if overly bombastic piece, the latter a reserved one, awash with electronic sounds.
'100 Metres' is probably the only less than excellent track on 'Chariots of Fire', and whilst it is rather aimless and disappointing, it is not so bad as to take away anything really, from the quality of this soundtrack. The version of 'Jerusalem' on show here, is not the one used in the film itself; but is rather an equally captivating, but more modern variation, with the voices hidden behind vocoder. Which leads to the closer, the self-titled 'Chariots of Fire'. It's a long, at times slightly rambling, but fitting close, to a superb soundtrack. Its distinctive explorations of the melody from 'Titles', as well as its near-eerie, opening, makes it a piece of truly Vangelian scope. For those looking for an evocative album which channels both the sounds and spirit of British classical music, and also the synth-soaked electro/synth pop of the 1980s, or just for a thoroughly original and enjoyable classical record, I would highly recommend Vangelis' 'Chariots of Fire'. A record to be played over and over.