Sunday, May 22, 2022

Vangelis - Mythodea (Music for the NASA Mission 2001 Mars Odyssey) (2001)

Vangelis Papathanasiou - Mythodea (Music for the NASA Mission 2001 Mars Odyssey) (2001)

Tracklist front / back album covers

"Introduction" – 2:43
"Movement 1" – 5:41
"Movement 2" – 5:39
"Movement 3" – 5:51
"Movement 4" – 13:42
"Movement 5" – 6:35
"Movement 6" – 6:27
"Movement 7" – 4:58
"Movement 8" – 3:07
"Movement 9" – 5:00
"Movement 10" – 3:03

Two CD-singles were also released, both featuring a track called "Mythodea Special Edit" (3:57) which combined parts of "Movement 9" and "Movement 1", plus either "Movement 1" or "Movement 7". They were not widely available, so their original purpose may have been purely promotional, as were specifically a number of other CD-single releases.

The album was recorded at the Athens Concert Hall (Athens Μέγαρο Μουσικής - Megaro Moussikis), chosen for its excellent acoustics. For the recording, Vangelis expanded the original composition of 1993 by adding two movements, extending two more and inserting some new cues throughout. The chorus parts were also touched upon, with lyrics and melodic changes.

Except for Vangelis, none of the performers of the 1993 concert reprised their roles. Instead, Vangelis was accompanied by the London Metropolitan Orchestra augmented with two harpists, sopranos Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman (both Sony Classical artists as well), and the Greek National Opera Choir and percussion ensemble. Vangelis asked musician Blake Neely to make the instrument transcriptions and conduct the orchestra as well.

Although the album was finished by the date of the concert in June 2001, its release was held back until October 23, 2001 to coincide with the entry of the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft in the orbit of Mars. A promotional CD-audio was nevertheless given to the press at the date of the concert and a CD-audio in a blue velvet box was given to guests of a private dinner that took place after the concert. In 2004, two of these boxes were auctioned off online for charity purposes, fetching a total of US $2,435.

Vangelis noted that "it's really the music that manages to speak to all. In Mythodea, everyone can find something to identify with, because it's in this shared language".

There were variations on the track listing: some releases of the album carried alternative titles "Movement 1" through "Movement 11", and "Mythodea Special Edit" was sometimes included either as a bonus or as a hidden track.

The audio CD is CD-Text-enhanced, with the following header appearing on compatible players: Mythodea - Music for the NASA Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey - Kathleen Battle, Jessye Norman, Vangelis. Text for tracks appears like this one for track 4: Movement 3 / Vangelis - London Metropolitan Orchestra - Athens Opera Choir - K.Battle - J.Norman.

The album reached #1 in the sales charts of Greece, where it attained platinum certification and was nominated for the 2002 "Arion" Greek music awards, in the category "Best instrumental music". In Portugal, the album reached #2 in the charts and attained silver certification for over 10,000 sales. The album reached #39 in Italy, #46 in Germany and #75 in Switzerland. At the Billboard Classical Albums chart peaked at #12 position, charting 22 weeks, while #4 position on Top Classical Albums chart.

A remixed version of "Movement 1" is included in the Vangelis compilation Odyssey: The Definitive Collection (2003). The opening march starts with less sound effects, instruments join in one by one more clearly, and an initial spoken countdown is absent. The same "Movement 1" was used as the title theme of reality TV series Der Maulwurf (lit. The Mole), which was broadcast by German station Pro7 in 2001. It was also used in the soundtracks of the trailers for the Hollywood films X-Men (2000) and The Scorpion King (2002). Finally, "Movement 9" is included in the compilation album Classic Kathleen Battle /A Portrait.

A one-hour condensed edit of the concert was made available for broadcast by TV stations and later released on video, cutting the intervals and leaving just the first encore, for a total running time of 76 minutes. More significantly, the live playing and singing were replaced by the album version mixed with live applause, except the encore which retained the original full-live recording. The synchronization of the live performance with the album recording was achieved with a click track being played to the performers.

The DVD-Video and VHS were released on February 17, 2002.[25] The DVD featured PCM stereo and 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, 16:9 non-anamorphic image, and had as extras: artist biographies, "Making of Mythodea", music video, an introduction by NASA, and written notes by Vangelis. The DVD-video reached gold status in Portugal, for over 14,000 sales.

Vangelis Papathanasiou Band Members / Musicians

Music composed, arranged and produced by Vangelis

Concert conceived, designed and directed by Vangelis

Vangelis: synthesizers, keyboards

Markella Hatziana, mezzo-soprano

Lucienne Deval, soprano

Choir and percussion of the National Lyric Stage, Yvan Cassar: conductor

Album composed, arranged and produced by Vangelis

Concert conceived, designed and directed by Vangelis

Vangelis: synthesizers, keyboards

Kathleen Battle, Jessye Norman: sopranos

London Metropolitan Orchestra, Blake Neely: conductor

Greek National Opera Choir, Fani Palamidi: conductor

Greek National Opera percussion emsemble (album only)

Seistron, Typana: percussion ensembles (concert only)

Frederick Rousseau: sound engineer and coordinator

Mythodea — Music for the NASA Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey is a choral symphony by Greek electronic composer and artist Vangelis. It premiered as a single concert in Athens, Greece, in 1993 but a recording was only released in 2001 by Vangelis' then new record label Sony Classical, which also set up the NASA connection and promoted a new concert, this time with a worldwide audience.

For the 2001 version of Mythodea, Vangelis expanded and reorchestrated the original composition. It was first recorded and then played live on-stage by: Vangelis on synthesizers and keyboards, the London Metropolitan Orchestra augmented by two harpists, sopranos Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman, the chorus of the Greek National Opera, and, for the concert only, the Seistron and Typana percussion ensembles. The concert was held in Athens, Greece on June 28, 2001, but the record was officially released only on October 23, 2001, to coincide with the 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft entering the orbit of planet Mars. The CD, and later the DVD, achieved a number of sales accolades around the world.

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