Conquest of Paradise is a sumptious combination of orchestral electronica, folk melodies, choral vocals and renaissance influences.
Vangelis is the Tchaikovsky of electronic music; he’s a fountain of beautiful melodies and an innovative orchestrator, but occasionally more concerned with style over substance. Like Tchaikovsky, Vangelis’ best known work is programmatic.
On 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Vangelis builds on his career of exceptional soundtrack work. SOme of his best work in the past has been for soundtracks, including Opera Sauvauge, Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire. His soundtrack for 1492 is no exception.
1492: Conquest of Paradise combines many influences, including renaissance folk music, gregorian chant, and classical romantic music. The result is melodic and majestic, with occasional flashes of excess. The soundtrack was for a Ridley Scott film of the same name that has been quickly forgotten. However, Vangelis’ music has held up over the years.
The melodies are memorable, but recur frequently. The catchiest is “Conquest of Paradise”, a march for piano, electronic orchestra and chorus. This piece has a martial-sounding march with wordless choral vocals that sing a stacatto melody. A section contrasts by using a legato lyrical melody, and by expanding the orchestration to include synths playing the traditional brass parts of the orchestration.
What makes his work on 1492 so unique is the way Vangelis effortlessly combines pure electronic sounds, orchestral electronica, choral music, and acoustic instrumentation. Vangelis orchestration seemlessly integrates synthesizers into a virtual orchestra. Vangelis seems uniquely capable of orchestrating at this level with such a broad palette.
1492: Conquest of Paradise is a classic work of symphonic electronica.