Although Vangelis may always be linked to his catchy soundtrack for Chariots of Fire, he's made a stab at orchestral immortality with Mythodea, a multi-movement instrumental and vocal extravaganza that commemorates NASA's Mars Odyssey Mission. A toy-size remote robot stumbling silently over red pebbles is hardly musical fodder, so Vangelis reaches to mythological depths for inspiration here. Soprano superstars Jessye Norman and Kathleen Battle are gorgeous goddesses atop a Mt. Olympus-size orchestra (with imposing thunderclouds of 20 percussionists), and Vangelis mans the keyboard consoles himself, adding sonic space and mechanical effects. The composer didn't title his movements, nor did he give meaning to the choral vocalise, but the music fills the imagination with rattling swords, full-blast rocket engines, space winds, unknown horizons, and (in the lengthy "Movement IV") all-directional chaos. Norman's honey-coated voice blends nicely with the crystalline tones of Battle's, and their redemptive duet in "Movement IX" reminds one of Delibes's Lakmé duet, or an intertwining flight of birds. "Movement I" is a deliberate restatement of Holsts's "Mars," and the astute listener can pick up colors from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, as well as passages from Debussy, Ravel, and Mahler. The somber "Movement III" features another duet by Norman and Battle, layered with tragic choral tones, Vangelis's hammered dulcimer, and teardrops from the harp. Prepare yourself for a big listening experience: Turn up the volume, crank up the bass, hang on to your armchair, and ride Rocket Vangelis through Mars's sonic vistas.
Performance CreditsVangelis Primary Artist,Keyboards
Jessye Norman Soprano
Kathleen Battle Soprano
Blake Neely Conductor
National Opera of Greece Choir Track Performer
Technical CreditsVangelis Arranger,Producer
Philippe Colonna Engineer
Fredrick Rousseau Engineer
Giulio Turturro Art Direction,Cover Art
Nikos Espialidis Engineer
Andreas Mandopoulos Engineer
Blake Neely Orchestra Transcription
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Odyssey is an orbital space craft, not a lander robot, and is the first of three space probes NASA has sent to Mars that has succeeded, beating the odds considering the world's current record for Mars probes. And speaking of records, I'd say Vangelis has outdone himself, putting as much of his heart and soul into this masterpiece as everyone at NASA did in this spectacular voyage. Thank you, Vangelis.
Vangelis' career spans almost four decades. I have been a fan of his for at least three of those decades. When you have been playing music for that long you are bound to have hits (Blade Runner) and misses (The City). ''Mythodea'', unfortunately, goes in the misses catagory. Luckily there are not alot of his other albums in there. Vangelis has always had choral and operatic pieces on many of his albums dating back to ''Heaven and Hell''. But it was always in small dosages, usually one or two tracks. Vangelis has been upping the choral tracks steadily over the past several years. On ''Mythodea'' it is all choral/operatic except for the first track. I found each movement becoming more and more tedious as the music progressed and started getting bored with the whole thing half way through. The music does not keep your interest. To me it is mostly droning. Jesse and Kathleen's singing gets tiresome. Vangelis' music is way in the background and not impressive. This CD is not melodic so there is no memorable tune you will be humming in your head or to yourself after you have been listening to this CD which is the first bad sign. Another bad sign is you are going to catch yourself wanting to ''fast forward'' each track. Granted, ''1492'' has a fair amount of chorale music. But the music Vangelis composed for this soundtrack is so much bolder plus Vangelis is showing some of his best synthesizer playing which is not emphasiszed in the least on ''Mythodea''. This is his first CD with the Sony label. So far they are batting zero. The only positive to this CD is that at least he is still making music and for that I give it two stars