The music for Oliver Stone’s new film Alexander features several characteristics of the Vangelis style, from synthesisers, acoustic instruments and percussion to the choral lines familiar to the fans of the Greek-born composer of Chariots of Fire. In Alexander, he creates an unmistakably modern ambience with a combination of orchestral and vocal forces, particularly in those scenes that call for war-like noises, such as ‘Titans’ and ‘Drums of Gaugamela’, describing Alexander’s mighty military conquests.
In addition to those ‘wall of sound’ sequences, the composer comes up with a jaunty Songs of Praise tune, ‘Eternal Alexander’, for chorus and symphony orchestra that swings along with an irresistible gait; that, and the thematically related acoustic guitar melody of the film’s closing track, ‘Tender Memories’, could become the most frequently aired themes.There are quieter, more reflective tracks with an exotic oriental flavour, beginning with a folk tune to describe an early morning at Pella. ‘Gardens of Delight’ and ‘Roxane’s Dance’, with Vanessa-Mae playing a seductive melody redolent of Scheherazade, feature a sensual wash of violin, harp filigree and feather-light percussion that’s most fetching. A number of tracks segue from one to another, carrying the mood through and avoiding the fragmentary nature of soundtrack listening. A huge array of credits testify to a job well done.