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Composed, Arranged, Produced, and Performed by:

Conducted by:
Nic Raine
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Sony Classical
(November 9th, 2004)
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Regular U.S. release.
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Buy it... if you seek to hear Vangelis' wildly popular music for 1492: Conquest of Paradise developed to an even more mature, symphonically magnificent level of grandiose and monumental harmony.

Avoid it... if the rhythmically repetitive and thematically simplistic nature of Vangelis' music cannot be compensated for you by the sheer power of the overwhelming immensity with which it is expressed.
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WRITTEN 10/29/04, REVISED 9/21/11
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iTunes (9.99)

Alexander: (Vangelis) There have been surprisingly few films about the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great in the history of Hollywood, and none in the decades leading up to 2000. Living from 356-323 B.C., Alexander built an empire by sweeping his superior armies through 90% of the known world, traveling 22,000 miles in eight years and establishing Greece as a dominant culture that would ironically remove most of the obstacles that might have restrained the subsequent Roman Empire from its own similar conquests. After the outstanding success of Ridley Scott's Gladiator in 2000, a whole slew of people came up with the idea of producing a modern film about Alexander all at once. While the Oliver Stone epic Alexander was the first to make it onto screen, similar productions by Baz Luhrmann and Mel Gibson (for HBO) had been in pre-production for years, with Luhrmann's version starring Leonardo DiCaprio being the most likely competition for Stone. The cast and crew power behind Stone's film, however, gave it a distinct advantage, first and foremost with a cast that extends from modern pop-culture stars to veterans Anthony Hopkins as Ptolemy and Christopher Plummer in a bit role as Aristotle. Thinking back on Gladiator, it would have been easy to assume that 2004's Alexander was a project built for the masculine scoring sounds of Hans Zimmer or, due to his previous collaboration with the director, maestro John Williams. But Stone had a more geographically-minded and intriguing idea in mind, one that would hopefully ensure his film as Oscar-bait and reach out to a more historically relevant Greek sound. His idea was Evangelos Odyssey Papathanassiou (otherwise known as Vangelis), a varied and extremely popular international artist who, aside from being Greek, had a knack for producing a massive piece of music once every few years that could surely cement Alexander as an awards contender. On the other hand, Vangelis did not take film scoring assignments as readily in the 2000's as he did back in the 1980's. But, as the composer states, "I've always admired Oliver Stone's films... and Alexander the Great is a story that's a natural part of my heritage." The fact that the film turned out to be a hideous and embarrassing mess for Stone was not much due to Vangelis' score, which was largely overwhelmed by the incomprehensible narrative that the director settled upon.

With an avid fanbase in tow, Vangelis' style features a distinct, rather simplistic, electronically-driven method of composition that has gained him awards in several genres of music across many international borders. In the film score realm specifically, Vangelis plucked an Oscar from John Williams and Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981 for his catchy but one-dimensional and cheesy Chariots of Fire, and his better known subsequent scores are those for Blade Runner and 1492: Conquest of Paradise. While the first two mentioned were predominantly focused upon electronics, 1492: Conquest of Paradise was a revelation for soundtrack fans around the world (the album is certified gold/platinum in 17 countries and the title theme has been a successful single in many of those countries) because of its choral use, and it begged questions about the possibility of Vangelis' maturing abilities leading to a breakthrough orchestral project at some date in the future. In the 2000's, that transition was realized to its fullest when the artist offered a muscular orchestral, synthetic, and choral opera for NASA's Mars exploration called "Mythodea" in 2001 and 2002. After 12 years away from the big screen, Alexander is a continuation of Vangelis' trend towards seeking the perfect harmony between synthetic and orchestral elements. The result is what fans of 1492: Conquest of Paradise will likely fall in love with in the first five minutes, the electronically-conceived score enhanced by Vangelis' decision to employ a full orchestra and massive choir to provide harmonically rich and overwhelmingly powerful statements of pleasing melodies. There is more instrumental diversity in Alexander than there had been in 1492: Conquest of Paradise, with this 2004 score taking on some of the fluid, specifically evolving personality of an actual film score rather than playing totally like the contents of a new age album tracked to a film. There may arguably be no single theme as memorable or bankable as the main identity of 1492: Conquest of Paradise in Alexander, but the extent of the thematic grandeur has been extended to include several well developed ideas over four or five concert-like tracks of significant length. The magnitude of the orchestrations in the monstrously shifting tonal expressions defies the constrained and sometimes harsh tone of his electronics, yielding a timeless, larger-than-life sound suitable for a conqueror.

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Average: 3.64 Stars
***** 1,147 5 Stars
**** 921 4 Stars
*** 427 3 Stars
** 289 2 Stars
* 431 1 Stars
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Missing Tracks!?!?!   Expand >>
kasalapi - December 24, 2007, at 12:08 a.m.
2 comments  (1989 views)
Newest: March 4, 2008, at 2:42 KajunKabob
Many cues and themes are missing!   Expand >>
prasanth - August 15, 2006, at 12:45 p.m.
15 comments  (7938 views)
Newest: April 25, 2008, at 9:35 S.Venkatnarayanan
A disappointment apart from some cues
Sheridan - July 4, 2006, at 11:18 a.m.
1 comment  (1731 views)
Second soundtrack   Expand >>
Laurens - August 4, 2005, at 12:33 p.m.
3 comments  (3631 views)
Newest: September 2, 2005, at 10:54 Laurens
roxane's dance is magical!!   Expand >>
Mariam - April 16, 2005, at 7:18 a.m.
2 comments  (3099 views)
Newest: August 1, 2005, at 3:45 ritchie
Can't agree with the glowing review
huntress - April 16, 2005, at 1:57 a.m.
1 comment  (2014 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 56:20
• 1. Introduction (1:31)
• 2. Young Alexander (1:35)
• 3. Titans (3:59)
• 4. The Drums of Gaugamela (5:19)
• 5. One Morning at Pella (2:10)
• 6. Roxane's Dance (3:24)
• 7. Eastern Path (2:58)
• 8. Gardens of Delight (5:23)
• 9. Roxane's Veil (4:40)
• 10. Bagoas' Dance (2:28)
• 11. The Charge (1:40)
• 12. Preparation (1:41)
• 13. Across the Mountains (4:12)
• 14. Chant (1:38)
• 15. Immortality (3:18)
• 16. Dream of Babylon (2:40)
• 17. Eternal Alexander (4:37)
• 18. Tender Memories (2:58)

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The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
Copyright © 2004-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Alexander are Copyright © 2004, Sony Classical and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 10/29/04 and last updated 9/21/11.
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