Documentaire over Vangelis


Lid sinds
15 december 2011
Als een Vangelis liefhebber kijk ik hier reikhalzend naar uit. heeft de DVD blijkbaar al binnen en gezien:

(bron is dus

Review: "Vangelis and the Journey to Ithaka"

Despite his appearance in "Talk To Al Jazeera" of last year and his upcoming appearance in a three part BBC series about film music, it's safe to say that the chance to see and hear Vangelis speak on video is still a rare occasion. The opportunity to see a complete two hour long documentary with in-depth interviews, historic footage from the archives as well as some fresh new music performances and a whole series of artists and stars with anecdotes and comments on Vangelis' career en persona is absolutely unprecedented.
If all goes well, "Vangelis and the Journey to Ithaka" will finally be released for purchases on the internet. It's time to have a closer look at what exactly is being released. And yes, it does turn out to be an absolute treat!

The history of this documentary is long and perhaps best forgotten when watching the DVD. Relevant is that most of this film was shot in 2007, perhaps even a bit earlier, and that now finally all rights seem to have been cleared: The general public will soon be able to watch it on DVD. Up till now, the only way to see this film was to be at just the right place at just the right time: Two rare and unannounced screenings at film festivals in Finland or Bulgaria, where early drafts of the documentary were presented.
Indeed, some excerpts were previously released to the public. You can see the first 11 minutes of the movie on Vimeo, while a different excerpt was released on the "All My Loving" DVD in 2007. However, watching those fragments is nothing compared to the experience of watching the complete movie.

"Vangelis and the Journey to Ithaka" provides a unique chance to catch a glimpse of Vangelis' life and career. While it centers around some of his most admired musical works (and some of his work as a painter), it tells, in the shape of interviews with Vangelis, his artistic friends and colleagues, as well as through video footage, both new and from the archives, the story of who Vangelis is as a person, who he works with, how he thinks and how he composes. Private as Vangelis is, even lifting just a tip of the curtain can help to paint the picture of who it is, who is the source of all this music that so many people cherish.
Vangelis is very relaxed in his interviews, which makes that quite possibly we catch a more authentic impression of the man than ever before. He does not hold back, talks about much more than his way of thinking, his career or what music is to him. For the first time we can hear him reminisce about his youth, from experimenting with sound to his parents hiding him from the hardships of going through both a world war and a civil war. Talking about his parents we see Vangelis at his most vulnerable.

While in his own interviews you get to see his serious side, mostly, it's the stories his friends and colleagues tell that manage to fill in the gaps by shining some light on his sense of humor, talent, generosity and perhaps even a darker side of his being. No effort was spared in interviewing friends and colleagues from many periods in his career, at locations all over the world. The enthusiasm and authenticity of these people always makes for a great listen. Whether it's Jessye Norman's grandeur, Sean Connery's earnest reverence, Ridley Scott's candor reminiscing, Kathleen Battle's sincerity, Roman Polanski's friendly admiration, Julian Rachlin's enthusiasm or Montserrat Caballe's heartfelt affection, each story adds to completing the picture.
In the end though, the main focus is where it really should be: Vangelis' music.

A large sequence shows how Vangelis simultaneously composes, performs and records his music, filming an example where he improvises a classical styled piece, which sounds like it's been performed by almost an entire symphony orchestra. Yet in reality it is being composed spontaneously by vangelis in one single performance, controlling the sound palette of his synthesizers and the dynamics of the mix using a series of foot pedals, while he makes up the music as he goes along. It also shows him preparing the performance, adjusting his setup while making notes, intercut with an interview where Vangelis explains how for him the traditional orchestra shares more than a parallel with the way electronic instruments mould their sound and performance by combining and manipulating separate sources of sound.

It's fantastic to see Vangelis at work again. No matter how often you see the footage known from TV specials like "Musiques Au Coeur", "The Man and his Music", or "Musical Express", it's still absolutely rivetting to watch him at work, to hear his music being born into existence.
Throughout the rest of the documentary you will see bits of Vangelis performing on his current synthesizer setup, shots of Vangelis playing piano (including a wonderful restrained piece, in the background of a bit of interview), as well as archive footage, like where he improvises for Ridley Scott, during post production of "1492, Conquest of Paradise". Other bits of unreleased music include commercials for "British Railway" and David Bailey's famous anti fur commercial.

Obviously featured are some of his more successful or ambitious works, like Chariots of fire, Conquest of Paradise, Mythodea, I'll Find My Way Home, Blade Runner, Alexander and the songs with Montserrat Caballe.
The DVD is released without any special extras, but the movie itself has all you could really wish for. Perhaps some optional subtitles in English and/or other languages would have been helpful. The movie suffers from an uneven mix, where some voices can be very hard to understand, when played at comfortable levels for the rest of the movie. But that could very well be the only serious complaint about this release.
Our conclusion can be short: Highly recommended viewing for the avid fans, as well as the casually curious music enthusiast.

Available (for pre-order):
Ja, mooi gezegd, ik bedoel geschreven!

Eerlijk gezegd had ik hier wel meer reacties van forumleden verwacht...
Mooie muziek maar om nu twee uur naar bolle harige kop van 'm te kijken is ook weer zo wat.

In 1991 zat ik ongeveer zolang voor de beeldbuis naar die bolle kop te kijken, maar vooral te luisteren, hijzelf werd bijna weggespoeld door de regen bij dat openluchtconcert in Rotterdam op het water.. :erm:
Dat heb ik ook gezien. Later hoorde ik van iemand die bij het Metropole-orkest speelt, dat het geheel playback was....
Ik had al zo'n vermoeden, toen ik zag dat Vangelis zelf een stuk plastic over zijn JD800 trok, en de muziek ging gewoon door.
Dat heb ik ook gezien. Later hoorde ik van iemand die bij het Metropole-orkest speelt, dat het geheel playback was....
Ik had al zo'n vermoeden, toen ik zag dat Vangelis zelf een stuk plastic over zijn JD800 trok, en de muziek ging gewoon door.

Ik had ook last van plaatsvervangende schaamte.. Wat een vertoning was dat. :D
Ik had al zo'n vermoeden, toen ik zag dat Vangelis zelf een stuk plastic over zijn JD800 trok, en de muziek ging gewoon door.

... als je al niet hoorde dat het volledig identiek was aan de plaat/cd-versie... :D

Het heeft nog jaren geduurd voor ik Vangelis weer serieus nam.
Jammer inderdaad dat het concert playback was.
Tijdens de repetities speelde Vangelis wel live, en liet indrukwekkende combi's horen. Hij kan het dus wel.
Vangelis ziet er nou niet bepaald fris uit, maar het gaat mij er enkel en alleen om dat ik hem weer zie enthousiast spelen in deze documentaire, op zijn synthesizers. Het Eureka concert heb ik hem allang weer vergeven ;-)

Ook in onderstaande BBC4 documentaire (over filmmuziek) komt Vangelis aan bod, met name in aflevering 3 (26 sept). Dan wordt voor de zoveelste keer over Chariots of Fire gepraat, terwijl Vangelis op zijn synthesizers het nummer speelt/verklaart.

Met kun je ook in Nederland online hiernaar kijken :-)