Mythodea (Soundtrack) by Vangelis



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Mythodea (Soundtrack) by Vangelis

Vangelis:  Bringer of Score
Review by Christopher Coleman


Mythodea (Soundtrack) by Vangelis


Mythodea (Soundtrack) by Vangelis

Category  |   Score

Originality 9
Music Selection 9
Composition 10
CD Length 10
Track Order 9
Performance 10
Final Score 10/10


Real Audio Clips






Quick Quotes

"The entirety of the concert is a rambling progression of random musical thoughts by Vangelis, with no strong, lyrical elements to pull it all together. Unlike the popular 1492: Conquest of Paradise or Chariots of Fire, there are no lengthy cues of thematically enchanting material."

Christian Clemmensen - Filmtracks Reviews Mythodea



Composed, Arranged and Produced by Vangelis
Conducted by Blake Neeley
Performed by Vangelis (synthesizers, keyboards), The London Symphony Orchestra, The National Opera of Greece Choir, Kathleen Battle, Jessye Norman (Sopranos), Palamidi and Percussion Ensemble
Released by Sony Classical Records October 23, 2001

Mars has been the object of man's dreams, myths, and destiny for centuries and in the last 40 years or so, Mars has had the eye of NASA. Probes, fly-bys, landers, crawlers, have all been a part of NASA's ongoing quest reach and explore the planet and currently underway is NASA's Mars Odyssey Mission. Just as feature film portrayals of our quest to break the confines of terra firma and head to the Moon has generated some superior film music (ie. Apollo 13, October Sky, The Dish), it stands to reason that Mars could do the same. Even more recently, Mars has drawn the attention of Hollywood. In the span of a few months movie goers found themselves taken to the arid, redlands of Mars twice. Unfortunately, both films left audiences as dry and cold as the planet. Ennio Morricone's score for Mission to Mars failed miserably and was an ear-sore to most film music fans; however, Graeme Revell's score to Red Planet faired a bit better with its progressive-techno edge. Of course, if the perimeters were expanded a bit, Danny Elfman's Invaders from Mars could be pulled into the conversation, but that one we'll leave on its own [wink].

The year 2001 has been one that, through October, has only seen moderate film music ravings. The remaining few months hold out some promise with Howard Shore's Fellowship of the Ring and John Williams second entry for 2001, Harry Potter. Vangelis breaks the relative silence with his reworking of his 1993 composition, Mythodea. While not actually a film soundtrack, Sony Classical's release of Mythodea represents the live recording of sopranos, Kathleen Battle, Jessye Norman, a 120-voice chorus, The London Metropolitan Orchestra, and Vangelis himself on synthesizers and keyboards. The recording took place on June 28, 2001 in the Olympian Temple of Zeus in Athens - a first. The concert was actually filmed and will be aired on PBS starting this fall. Despite this technicality, Mythodea, for the film music fan, is a welcome interjection of bold, powerful music and it is little wonder that NASA selected it to accompany their Odyssey mission to Mars.  Incidentally, the Odyssey went into orbit around Mars as this review was being finalized.

Mythodea's composer, Vangelis is no stranger to film scoring. In the film-world, Vangelis is most recognized for his works: Chariots of Fire, Blade Runner, and 1492: Conquest of Paradise. The composer can be put into the small group of composers labeled "new age" that occasionally drop the exceptional soundtrack; much like Kitaro. Mythodea probably resembles 1492 most, but exceeds it in terms of sheer entertainment from start to finish. Mythodea is a densely textured project, at times full of purpose and forcefulness, and at others, heavenly.

Earlier in 2001, Elliot Goldenthal made a ton of new fans with his forceful work for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Mythodea takes up where Final Fantasy left off. Mythodea doesn't use a melodic love-theme to counter the music's generally aggressive style as Final Fantasy did, but uses operatic, female vocals instead. After a synthetic start in Introduction (1), the listener is launched into the stratosphere in tracks 2 and 3. Starting with a familiar Vangelis-march, it soon turns to a full-bodied, choral performance in Movement 1
.  Movement 2 takes it to another level of ominous music. Deep male chorus, later to be joined by the full chorus, combines with a battalion of percussion to deliver a truly sublime experience - a statement that, unfortunately, isn't made about very many film scores these days.

Opera and jazz vocalists, Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle combine to provide an almost siren-like quality to the music. There haunting voices help bring balance to the sheer strength of the chorus and orchestra. We first hear their talents in Movement 3 (4), but are heard in every track thereafter. Through the two featured vocalists do we find the balance needed to round this effort out. Vangelis' sweeping synthesizers and sharp accents can be found throughout every track, yet one's attention will remain on the chorus and the vocalists most of the time.  Quite smartly, Vangelis employs his synthesizers and keyboards to accentuate the orchestra, and provide a bit of technical texture to the final product.  Only in track 1, do they really take center stage.

Mythodea is for those who truly enjoy a good dose of hefty-music.  There aren't any moments where the listener is wondering where this music has been, is at, and is headed.  Vangelis is very clear in what he wants to communicate through his composition - the wonder of Mars, its ancient appeal and inspiration to mankind, and the drive to reach it.  Without a doubt, from track 1 to track 10, Mythodea:  Music for the NASA Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey, will go down as one of the most entertaining releases of the year.


Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 Introduction 2:43  ***
2 Movement 1 5:41  *****
3 Movement 2 5:39  *****
4 Movement 3 5:51  *****
5 Movement 4 13:42  *****
6 Movement 5 6:35  *****
7 Movement 6 6:27  ****
8 Movement 7 4:58  *****
9 Movement 8 3:07  ****
10 Movement 9 5:00  *****
11 Movement 10 3:03  ****

Total Running Time


Mythodea (Soundtrack) by Vangelis

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


Referenced Reviews
Apollo 13  |  The DishRed Planet



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