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El Greco

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3
  4. Part 4
  5. Part 5
    (traditional from Chania, Crete)
  6. Part 6
  7. Part 7
  8. Part 8
    (composed by Psarantonis)
  9. Part 9
  10. Part 10
  11. Part 11
    (composed by Loudovicos Ton Anogion)
  12. Part 12
  13. Part 13
  14. Part 14
  15. Part 15
  16. Part 16
  17. Part 17
  18. Part 18

In the 400th anniversary of Doménikos Theotokópoulos death, it seems a good idea to review one of the two albums that the also Greek Evangelos Papathanassiou, Vangelis, dedicated to El Greco.

It is the soundtrack for the 2007 movie 'El Greco' a Greek-Spanish-Hungarian coproduction directed by Yannis Smaragdis (to whom Vangelis already wrote the soundtrack of 'Cavafy' in 2000).

It is very important to not mistake this El Greco with the music Vangelis composed in 1995, Foros Timis Ston Greco, dedicated also to the Greek painter, published at first as a very limited luxury edition and re-edited later in 1998 commercially as El Greco (hence the confusion).

Unlike other times when the Hellene composer has used the movies he has worked for as mere excuses to elaborate his compositions, with almost no relation between images and music and hardly soundtracks in the common sense, in El Greco Vangelis takes a more conventional approach.

The album opens with the most memorable piece: a hugely inspired melody in the shape of a choral hymn. It will return in the album's last track, that time played by a gloomy piano. Between both tracks lays out a faint ambient score, almost subdued. Romantic passages are tinged with sadness and choral themes are dark, even oppressive. The music is subtle, it never breaks the quiet pace. Emotion never comes through complexity or strength, but it is a restrained emotion. There are no recognisable themes, although Vangelis delivers his inspired melodic progressions from time to time. But they are always too brief (the longest track in the album does not reach the five minutes).

Although the music is played with synthesizeres, there's a predominance of orchestral sounds, accompanied frequently by traditional instruments, linking the music to a concrete place and time. It helps, too, the inclusion of a traditional Cretan song and two other folk songs by Greek singers.

Vangelis compuso la música sin cobrar por ello y publicó el álbum como forma de apoyar este proyecto cinematográfico. La película se estrenó en España y Grecia, llegando a ser un éxito comercial en esta última. La banda sonora estuvo disponible a la venta en ambos países en aquel momento, pero enseguida se convirtió en un disco difícil de encontrar y en la actualidad posiblemente sólo se pueda obtener en Grecia.

Vangelis wrote the music free of charge and published the album as a way to support the film project. The movie opened in Spain and Greece, becoming a financial success in the latter. The soundtrack was available to buy in both countries at the time, but soon became an item hard to find. Possibly today can only be found in Greece.

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