Vangelis is renowned for his dramatic theme to the film CHARIOTS OF FIRE, but his compositions for Oliver Stone's ALEXANDER may prove to be timeless as well. Filled with soaring melodies and rich orchestrations, this soundtrack illuminates the grandeur of the man called Alexander the Great. Accordingly, there is nothing subtle about this soundtrack; this music is sometimes powerful, sometimes haunting, and, above all else, stately.
The majesty of Vangelis's score is best captured on "The Drums of Gaugamela," a piece that uses throbbing tom-toms and dark, almost Wagnerian low-brass motifs. The march-like "Dream of Babylon" continues along this vein. On this piece, galloping, staccato strings move through a dense forest of brass and percussion, and, like many of these tracks, an eerie melody (as sung by a large vocal choir) whispers overtop. Other compositions such as "Roxane's Dance" combine exotic Middle Eastern modes with dreamy harp glissandos and pulsating drumming. "One Morning at Pella" is the only serene composition on ALEXANDER. This calm movement features graceful harp and soft, gentle string accompaniment. Overall, this soundtrack is grand in scope, effectively evoking scenes of mounting armies and ancient battles.