1492 Conquest Of Paradise Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score 1492 Conquest Of Paradise by Vangelis.
At a glance:
Geek Score: 100
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 54.77
Album Excellence: 100%
I believe it was the fall of 1992 and my friend was driving me home from somewhere. Not sure of why I was there to be honest, but I remember one thing from that ride and one thing only. The music he was playing in the car was sensational. It was instrumental only, but something about that experience changed me as a person. I asked him what it was and it was by someone called Vangelis, the album was called 1492: Conquest Of Paradise and was apparently music to a film by the same name. I was hooked. This was literally the best music I had ever heard then and there. A few weeks later I entered a record shop (remember those?) and found this CD and of course I bought it right away and when I came home I played it on our home stereo. Man, the emotions overwhelmed me. I had never heard such beauty before in such clarity. This was so amazing I had to play it for my mom and that was a big mistake on my part because she took that CD and I had to buy another one. Over the years I have owned many copies of that CD because I always play it so much the CD got unplayable due to scratches and other things. It was my first ever soundtrack purchase and from then on I was smitten. I collected film music like crazy. 1492 has a special place in my heart and will always be my first love. Why you ask? Let me tell you.
It could be because of the stunning opening cue aptly called ‘Opening’ which is a stunning mood setting cue. It’s magical with those Native American instruments in there mixing with the synths. This cue has a special place with me because it was first. Of course, what everyone remembers from this score is the title track ‘Conquest Of Paradise’ with the bombastic and militaristic opening, like a march. Then the melody is being hummed by a male choir. The motif itself is stunning, pure brilliance, but I might be biased in this case. The part from 1:40 os so glorious. the cue explodes into this amazing inspirational music. Goosebumps ahoy! Yes, Vangelis always did great things with the sea as they had proven with The Mutiny (which sadly never got a proper release). ‘Conquest Of Paradise’ is my maiden voyage into the amazing. It’s perfect.
I love that this score is gapless because it’s perfect for it. The music which is 55 minutes long is just a big massive suite. Man, when ‘Conquest Of Paradise’ ends and it transitions into ‘Monastery Of La Rabida’ I just crumble from the weight of my own emotions. The theme presented in this cue is just mindblowing. I think this is the most beautiful piece of music I have heard. It is doing what it wants to do with me and I’m powerless to stop it, not that I want to. The added monk voices is of course a perfect addition to well.. perfection.
‘City Of Isabel’ is such a beautiful but short cue, a sort of waltz-like music with a great theme to boot. You sense something powerful is coming at the end of that cue with the percussion and you would be right. It transitions into ‘Light And Shadow’ which is a like a war cue, strong, consistent, a steady rhythm and a big choir singing the melody. The main theme goes on for most of the cue, but at 2:15 there’s a bold variation, a very epic change. The same choir as before, but the melody becomes bigger and stronger. ‘Deliverance’ has a very Spanish opening with the Spanish guitar. The ostinato continues for a while until it ends in a big choral performance whilw mixing in the guitar.
‘West Across The Ocean Sea’ is a dreamy cue filled with lovely warm synths and woodwind. One of my favorite themes on this score, which there are plenty. I can just put this on and dream away. It’s only flaw is that it’s too short, but like I said before, the score is just flowing from one cue to the next so it’s all part of the experience, the journey. ‘Eternity’ is probably the most interesting cue. the beginning is particularly interesting as it seems to be just native instruments playing. Then at 0:40 comes some of the most beautiful notes of music you’ll ever hear. There’s actually a pause here before it goes into the next cue ‘Hispanola’ which is interesting because there’s no reason for it. I love ‘Hispanola’ though. It sounds like they’re going to war with the natives. The powerful male singing on here, or rather chanting is excellent and gives the cue plenty of power. The choir of course doesn’t exactly make the cue less great. The last 40 seconds are pure zen rain.
‘Moxica And The Horse’ has the most exciting start of all cues. The synth percussion getting stronger and stronger as an older man is chanting with bursts of guitar firing at us. It is a powerful mood setter of a cue even though it’s pretty much the same for the first 4 minutes or so. The second half is more about the synths. At around the 5 minute mark there’s a new motif as well. ‘Twenty Eight Parallel’ starts like we’re at the pearly gates with the harp swirling before the synth and piano give a swirl as well. At 1:38 the main theme from Conquest Of Paradise is playing on synth piano. This is a beautiful rendition of the main theme, and gives a completely different feeling. While the original theme has an epic feel to it this has a calming feeling about it. It ends with ‘Pinta, Nina, Santa Maria (Into Eternity)’ which is, despite all the praise for this score and practically every cue in this review, the best cue on the score. That’s because it has a few fantastic themes and is over 13 minutes long. You can’t beat that for a great listening experience.
As you may have noticed, I love this score. This is an unconditional love that will never change in sickness and in health. It is one love that will last a lifetime or more. I’m quite sure that I would have loved it even if it wasn’t the first score I bought. It has such power over me and I’m more than willing to submit to this tour de force of a score. There’s literally nothing better than to put this on and blasting away at high volume. It’s therapy for me and that’s why it is one of the best scores in the history of best scores.
1. Opening *
2. Conquest Of Paradise *
3. Monastery Of La Rabida *
4. City Of Isabel
5. Light And Shadow *
7. West Across The Ocean Sea *
8. Eternity *
10. Moxica And The Horse
11. Twenty Eight Parallel *
12. Pinta, Nina, Santa Maria (Into Eternity) *