This really is an excellent album by Vangelis. It's good first listen & grows with every play. You may know the often used tunes "Hymne" & "L'Enfant" but it is the long tracks here which are truly stunning. If you liked the Chariots of Fire soundtrack you will no doubt love this.
After `L'Apocalypse des Animaux' and `Fete Sauvage', the forty-three-minute `Opera Sauvage' is Vangelis's third soundtrack album for the French wildlife photographer Frederic Rossif.
Although, it is not really a soundtrack album in the sense that Vangelis does not compose to accord with the minute-by-minute, second-by-second action on the screen. Rather, here, as in other film soundtracks, he composes pieces and leaves it to the film's music editor to make the links to what is happening on screen. The result, sound-wise, is a set of true musical pieces. To that extent, this album can stand on its own as an independent work and can be enjoyed without ever seeing a minute of the film to which it ostensibly relates.
The album opens with the stately fanfare of `Hymne', famous for various commercials and subsequently reworked by Vangelis for his later `Portraits' album. This is followed by an intimate, lyrical, and tender `Reve' (`Dream'). As for `L'Enfant', many will know the music without knowing its origin: it is in the tradition of earlier Vangelis tracks such as `Pulstar' and `Spiral', but is not carried through to a denouement.
Jon Anderson re-appears on the final piece, `Flamants Roses' (`Flamingos'), making a major contribution playing the harp, so evocative of the piece's subject-matter. The only duff track is `Irlande'. It possesses a melancholy Irish air but is too simplistic. There is no development; it goes nowhere.
Overall, then, there is nothing `savage' about this album. It is truthful, for sure, but never unpleasant.
Today, Vangelis is best known for his powerful film scores such as "Chariots of Fire", and (more deserved) "Blade Runner" and "1492". But during the 70s and 80s, Vangelis composed some of his best works on regular albums. This 40 minute long album from 1979 is probably one of Vangelis' very best. It contains some of his most well-known tunes such as "Hymne" and "L'Enfant" in their original and most beautiful versions. There's also the very dream-like "Rêve" and the brilliant GHOSTly "Chromatique". Finally, "Irlande" completes this (sadly) forgotten masterpiece. Apparently, the cover design was done by Vangelis himself, which just contributes to the fact that this is a very personal and wholehearted Vangelis-effort.
Actually, I bought this wonderful CD only to complete the movie soundtrack of "The Year of Living Dangerously", where one important piece was missing: "L'enfant". This piece was played during the rain scene with Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver. A typical Vangelis new age oeuvre with a soothing sound tapestry.
Floating Teasing Water Heralding greatness Drifting Exploring Relaxing Change
These are the themes, that the tracks evoke for me.
I'm not a fan Irelande because its just one line of music, repeated with variations. You desperately want it to go somewhere, but it never does.
Flamant Roses is the one changelling piece. It moves between elements that seem unrelated. I suspect that the documentary makerswas cramming material into the film at this point.
Chromatique is my favourite track. It makes me picture, so many magical things. Maybe I'm passing by colourful galaxies, or watching shoals of fish shifting in a reef. There is a wonderful sense of cascading, so that you have time to catch you breath, before the next avalanche of colour overwhelms you. Fantastique.