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Vangelis, the electronic-music pioneer who won an Oscar for “Chariots of Fire” and composed such other landmark film scores as “Blade Runner,” died. He was 79.
Greek media reports say he died in a French hospital while being treated for COVID-19.
The self-taught musician, a track from his 1975 album “Heaven and Hell” as the theme for Carl Sagan’s 1980 PBS series “Cosmos”
Vangelis performed all of the instruments, including synthesizer, piano, drums and percussion.
His memorable theme not only entranced moviegoers but the soundtrack reached no. 1 on the Billboard charts and was nominated for a Record of the Year Grammy.
The Oscar for “Chariots of Fire”
Ridley Scott hired him for his science-fiction film “Blade Runner” and
Costa-Gavras engaged him for the Jack Lemmon drama “Missing,” both in 1982 and both nominated for BAFTA awards.
Mel GIbson remake of “The Bounty” followed in 1984.
Subsequent scores, also for historical dramas, included Ridley Scott’s “1492: Conquest of Paradise” (1992) and Oliver Stone’s “Alexander” (2004), both less celebrated but still musically compelling for their mix of electronics with conventional orchestra and choirs. He also scored Roman Polanski’s erotic thriller “Bitter Moon” (1992).
1980s interview, he said this: “People say that a synthesizer is a machine, not a natural sound. Everything is natural.
The first instrument built – a flute or maybe a tom-tom – was a machine to create sound. Acoustical conventional instruments, like a guitar, are fantastic, but they are restricted and always give the same sort of sound. It allows us to go beyond what we have known.
You can start from a beep, and develop a whole range of sounds with endless variations. It is incredible.”
He composed music for the funeral of physicist Stephen Hawking in 2018.