You could say that the Vangelis soundtrack 1492: Conquest of Paradise was an album 500 years in the making. The Greek composer-artist’s score for the Ridley Scott movie of the same name was inspired, like the film, by Christopher Columbus’ voyage to America, and both were released on the 500th anniversary of that historic journey. On 24 October 1992, the album entered the UK chart.
The soundtrack was a combination of the new and the familiar for Vangelis, who once again used the English Chamber Choir to give his music an epic, choral quality. They sang three Latin hymns, on a disc that also saw him teaming anew with French engineer and regular collaborator Frederick Roussea. But this time, reflecting the story of discovery of the New World by the explorer from Genoa, there were contributions from two Flamenco guitarist-vocalists and instrumentation reflecting other ethnic themes of the film narrative.
The album entered the UK chart at its No. 33 peak but continued to sell steadily, going on to silver certification in 1993 and gold in 1995. Even greater success was bestowed on the score in such countries as France, where it was double platinum (appropriately, too, as the role of Columbus was played by French superstar Gerard Depardieu) and Holland.
The near-title track single ‘Conquest of Paradise’ was also a major European hit, topping the charts for weeks on end in both Holland and Germany. The album was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, but lost out at the January, 1993 ceremony to Alan Menken’s Aladdin.
The 1492: Conquest of Paradise score album can be bought here.
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