If there is one release highly valued by admirers of Vangelis then it
must be this one! In 1995 the National Gallery (Alexandros Soutzos Museum) in
Athens publised "FOROS TIMIS STON GKREKO" (A Tribute
To El Greco) in an initiative to generate funds for the purchase of Domenicos
Theotocopoulos' (El Greco) painting 'Saint Peter'. Limited to only 3000 copies
the release and sale of 'A Tribute To El Greco' is Vangelis' contribution to
establishing the "National Fund for the Purchase of Works of Art", a fund
created to enable Greek musea to purchase works of art that are considered part
of the Greek cultural heritage.
The full release of "FOROS TIMIS STON GKREKO"
consists of a CD (housed in a digi-pack
sleeve), a 128-page art
book, a specially printed
sheet containing Vangelis'
introduction (in Greek) and (if bought at the museum) a numbered
The CD itself is numbered by hand,
as well as signed by Vangelis. The digi-pack
sleeve contains credits both in
Greek (on the back) and in
English (inside). The art
book is also written in Greek
ánd English, with a section thanking Vangelis for his contribution and detailed
information on El Greco's life and work. Naturally it contains many photos of El
Greco's paintings. Finally, the large
box that contains it all is a
large blue hard-covered velvet-textured box, with two overlapping panels on top.
The music on the cd, dedicated and inspired by El Greco's
paintings ranks among my top favorite music of all time. The subtle and
reflective Byzantine compositions are crowned with a breathtaking
This album is one of those that only has contains 'Movements', in
this case Movement I to VII. Three years after the limited release the music was
also issued as "El Greco", but that album is slightly
edited and extended with three new tracks (Movements III, V and VII).
Composed, arranged and performed by Vangelis.
Montserrat Caballé - soprano
Konstantinos Paliatsaras - tenor
Recorded by Frederick Rousseau and Philippe Colonna.
Choir conducted by Ivan Cassar.
1995 FOROS TIMIS STON GKREKO
Warner Music UK Limited SAM 1702 Greece.
Although there is no mention where the music is recorded, considering
that it was released just before "Voices" it was most likely recorded in the
Only by pure coincidence, the day that I bought my copy of the "FOROS
TIMIS STON GKREKO" box in Athens was also the day that I personally met
Vangelis. An occasion that surely I will not lightly forget, and
this is to ever remind me of
that impressive moment...
The project shows Vangelis at his most inspired by the almost
exclusively religious paintings from Domenikos Theotokopoulos (to give El Greco
his full name) and his general artistic outlook. This becomes apparent from a
rare personal note by Vangelis in the booklet, which is basically the mystic
statement that, in order to be a truly creative artist, one must be true to
one's own nature and thus to Cosmic nature in general, as they are identical.
The music's flavour is very Byzantine, using Greek orthodox harmonies,
church-bells, choir-sounds and more. It's got a faint religious touch and is
both austere and rich at the same time - austere because of the generally sparse
orchestration, rich because of its deeply felt emotions. One of Vangelis' main
musical strengths, which is the use of rubato (the slight quickening up or
slowing down of the tempo of the music to create those subtle effects), is very
much in evidence throughout. Two singers from the classical world also make a
contribution - a great aria by Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballe accompanied on
piano and on another track tenor Konstantinos Paliatsaras. ... although it's
hard to think of a classical composer creating music equivalent in nature to 'El
Greco' still anyone who likes classical music (for instance Wagner - similar use
of rubato, or perhaps Eastern European religious music) will in all probability
like this music as well.
Review by Ivar de Vries