Interview in Ta Nea newspaper, June 23, 2001
Greek newspaper "Ta Nea" published a special on Vangelis in the week before 2001's Mythodea concert in Athens. Part of this article was a small interview, the first published since a very long time.
They say music is the most polite expression of the sound of universe, do you agree?
It's the Universe itself. So it is it's expression.
Can you define the start of your sound, your music?
We never define music ourselves. Music defines us.
If we regard that everything in music has been said, what makes every new combination of tones so different? (if that is, technically, music).
The combinations in the codes of the Universe never end.
In music communication, do your believe only the sense of hearing takes part?
First it seems only hearing has the first role. But because every object has it's own music, music becomes perceptible by the whole body and by vision, feel, and also by smell and taste. With simple words, music gets perceptible with all senses.
What of your senses drives you in music creation?
What is creation after all? Is there a theosophical view (of the Creation of the Universe) philosophical (of the expression of human mind). [towards what theory are you]?
To the need of Creation, with no point of view.
Is music a communication with divine?
Music is the "immaterial materialization" of divine. It's divine itself.
When we spoke one time you said every new music work is important to be healthy. To do something good. Is that your only goal? How do you explain that?
Music is a powerful media that can have positive or negative results. It depends in the man how he will use it. The responsibility is ours.
Do you believe all of your -musical- creations did [good]? where they [healthy]?
I think I tried and I try to that direction. If I succeed, you must ask the receivers.
Before you deliver a music work, do you feel it belongs to you? Is it absolutely your matter?
Nothing belongs to anybody and everything belongs to everybody for one instant.
Do you believe for somebody to listen to music, it requires to be educated? Or what does it require?
It is wrong to believe we need special education to feel the music. But it needs a general education, to open our centers of [perception] so we can accept the "objective form of the world".
Do you prefer educated or instinctive listeners?
While not being against music education, if I had to choose from, I choose instinctive.
Don't you feel, in the last years music has become... too much? Do you prefer more silence?
I would prefer a pause to think more and [review].
Felini once said "we need to do more silence so we can start understanding something". Do you feel you can understand all that sounds that surrounds us?
Unfortunately or fortunately, yes.
Do you expect others, your public, to understand your music?
I'm interested in a sincere communication.
Are you interested in the mark you will leave to the world of music? What do you want it to be?
The Oscar for "chariots of fire" came by... itself? Did you expect it or was it a "gift"?
At one instant the Academy decided to give me this award. I have nothing more to say about it.
Are you haunted by success in general?
The word "success" is a very subjective matter. It doesn't mean the same for everybody. So better we don't get in this discussion.
You think we should know who Vangelis Papathanassiou is behind his work - his new work "Mythodea"?
I don't see what it could add, in the way somebody will perceive the work.
How do you define - technically first - but also emotionally your "Mythodea"?
Listen the work and use as a tool your memory, not analysis.
Do you believe the era of myths has gone its way?
Not at all. The era of myths never goes by.
You choose the voices of Jesi Norman and Kathleen Battle by their timbre or by personalities, the expression of these specific performers?
The timbre, expression and personalities of each performer are [interweaveble].
They say the time of Great Performers has ended. Do you agree?
No, it's not over.
What's the meaning of drums and cymbals for you?
Is it the most primitive sound? The most primitive music?
Is it something we call the start of music
Drums for the west is not as important as the other traditional instruments. They use them, for the most part, as accompaniment, or to point the rhythm. I strongly believe that percussions are instruments of imperial importance with precise expression, and if used correctly, they can exist without the need of any accompaniment of other not-percussion instruments.
Your works seem to be "constructed" from the beginning, orchestrated, ready, before they are performed by musicians, inside your mind. Is this correct?
Yes, it is.
How can somebody have so many sound combinations in his mind? What is it's source?
The human mind is thousand times more capable than the boxes used all the time today, that impress kids and olds and oppress our lives, and their offer - in analogy of their uses - is more negative in the end rather than positive (talking of computers.)
You can record in every studio of the world you like. They can not refuse you. How did you choose the recording center of Megaro Mousikis, to record "Mythodea"?
For two reasons. First because Greece, my country, if a place fully functional and second, because the equipment of the recording center of Megaro Mousikis is fully satisfying.
Recently you have linked music with the body function, a "machine" you invented to make sound - music - automatically, before the [neural movement] starts to function. For example the music for educational movies of open heart operation in the basis of the writings of an major doctor of NIMTS [national army fund hospital]. How do you perceive this relation of music and body function?
Music governs me, as it governs everything. Music is the forming factor and the form at the same time. Everything else comes next.
Is it true that scientist gave your name to a far away star?
These are the scientists of the Smithsonian Institute. What can I add?
Some scientists of the Universe think of you the music creator, the "closest" to the Universe and it's sound, it's music. Do you agree?
It seems they agree.
What is the Universe for you?
What it says, it's a very precise word.
[note: Vangelis and the interviewer use the Greek word "Symban" for Universe]
Do you think we can communicate with what is called the Universe? Do we have?
If man does not communicate with the Universe, with what should he?
What Truth is behind your music, and what is True for you?
Music is the absolute truth. For my music I cannot say anything.
What is Silence? and what Music?
It's the same, alternating.
What does Seferis' verse say to you "wherever I go, Greece is hurting me"
I agree, but I agree more when I'm in Greece.
Interview by Pavlos Agiannidis