Alexandre – Original Score – Special Edition – Vangelis
Put the saga of history’s greatest overachiever–Macedonian emperor Alexander the Great had conquered 90% of the pre-Christian world before his death at 32–in the hands of Hollywood’s favourite over-reacher, Oliver Stone, and the result is three-hours of epic blood ‘n’ bathos. The soundtrack by Greek synth-score pioneer Vangelis Papathanassiou may be bookended by heroic orchestral/choral pomp of suitable scale and melodic dignity, but they buttress a far more compelling cocktail of primitive martial rhythms (“Drums of Gaugamela”) and ancient ethnic-folk conceits (“Roxanne’s Dance”). Though his film scores have become increasingly rare since the twin breakthroughs of his Oscar-winning Chariots of Fire and the sci-fi masterpiece Bladerunner, his work here argues that Vangelis’ restless curiosity and musical range have only blossomed in the ensuing decades. With the exception of the final, club-targeted bonus cut, gone are his once overt electronics, replaced by a more organic, post-modern sense of fusion that evinces itself seductively on cues like “One Morning at Pella” and “Eastern Path.” Elsewhere, cuts like “Across the Mountains” and “Tender Memories” are powered by Vangelis’ trademark graceful lyricism, a trait that helps set this score apart from sword ‘n’ sandal contemporaries like Gladiator and Troy.
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