Elon Musk paid a touching tribute to Vangelis Papathanasiou, the Greek composer who died on Thursday at the age of 79.
Good night, sweet maestro, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest pic.twitter.com/sqiY8iHS41
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 19, 2022
Vangelis, who had a minor planet named after him in 1995, had a fascination with space from an early age.
Vangelis shared Elon Musk’s enthusiasm about outer space
“Each planet sings,” he told the LA Times in 2019. He said he saw parallels with the dystopian world depicted in Blade Runner for which he also wrote a score.
His fascination found voice in 2016’s Rosetta, dedicated to the space probe of the same name, and NASA designated his 1993 piece “Mythodea,” which he claimed to have written in an hour, as the official music of the Mars Odyssey mission of 2001.
His final album, 2021’s Juno to Jupiter, was inspired by the NASA space probe, Juno, which orbits Jupiter. The album featured recordings of Juno’s launch and the workings of the probe itself in outer space.
Tributes have flooded in since the news of Vangelis’s death, with Academy Award-nominated movie composer Daniel Pemberton writing on Twitter: “Oh man. Vangelis. One of my all-time heroes. He changed everything. Very very sad to hear…”
Canadian singer-songwriter Devin Townsend said: “Absolutely loved Vangelis and his work. The album ‘Jon And Vangelis’ was a favorite.”
Among those paying tribute to Vangelis was Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who hailed him as “a pioneer of electronic sound.”
Nikos Dendias, the Foreign Minister for Greece, said: “Vangelis Papathanassiou was a great Greek composer who excelled at a global level. We say goodbye with a big ‘thank you’ for what he offered to Music, Culture, and Greece.”
Opposition leader, Alexis Tsipras, also sent his condolences and said: “There are few who can add the name ‘global’ next to their names, and Vangelis Papathanassiou was a Global Greek.”
Vangelis was one of the most respected composers in the world
Vangelis was born in the small town of Agria in Thessaly but grew up in Athens.
He went on to become one of the most well-respected composers in the world of film, and his work on the films Chariots of Fire and Bladerunner have made him a household name across the world.
He was a prolific, decades-long composer whose work ranged from advertising music and film scores to elaborate, symphonic-style compositions and “Jon and Vangelis,” his duo with Jon Anderson, lead singer of the prog-rock group Yes.
However, he remained wary of commercial success and valued his independence over record sales, once telling an interviewer he never saw music as mere entertainment.
“Success is sweet and treacherous,” the composer told The Observer in 2012. “Instead of being able to move forward freely and do what you really wish, you find yourself stuck and obliged to repeat yourself.”
In 1986, Vangelis readily admitted to the Los Angeles Times that “half of the films I see don’t need music. It sounds like something stuffed in.”