Coined by Decca as a lunar album, “Nocturne” –subtitled the piano album- sees Vangelis turn up the New Age avenue which is a big surprise as the full outcome goes against almost everything he ever said and did about his own music through the years.
The album -containing a collection of 17 mellow tracks all centred on grand piano and some synth backgrounds- features reworks of existing tracks along completely new pieces such as “Nocturnal Promenade”, “Through the Night Mist”, “Sweet Nostalgia”, “Longing” and “Lonesome”. Tenderness and sweetness prove constant factors on the recording dominating the overall atmosphere from the start, which is fine for me for a short while but not for the total 76-minute running time.
Fortunately there’s still Big V’s unique, enchanting playing style as well as some of the synth backgrounds making things sparkle (only) a few times like on opener “Nocturnal Promenade”, the gentle “Through the Night Mist” or the emotive “Lonesome” (that though could do with more depth). This said a track like “Intermezzo” -containing no piano at all- sounds uninspired and falls flat on its back while the cracking magic on the original, minimalist arranged “La petite fille de la mer” has vanished on the new version. The reworked “Chariots of Fire” also turns out weak, obsolete and superficial. Instead one better turns to what Vangelis accomplished on “Chariots of Fire”-The Play.
Overall, this collection of piano compositions inspired by night time and a long-held passion for space comes close to muzak. I think many Vangelis fans expected much more when they’ve heard all this…
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