Themes is one of the most entertaining and thorough of any of Vangelis' collections, with excerpts spanning such albums as Opera Sauvage, China, and the ever-popular Chariots of Fire release from 1981. Most of the selections from Themes speak for Vangelis' movie contributions, including the infamous "Chariots of Fire" track as well as the lonesome-sounding theme from Missing and the powerful openings from Mutiny on the Bounty. With this music, Vangelis has implemented some variations in rhythm and some noticeable fluctuation in his synthesizer work, making these tracks much more colorful and animated than his new age meanderings of the '70s. Also, his ability to cast visual imagery through his keyboard playing is represented by many of these excerpts, but proven best on tracks like "Antarctica," in which the white, barren wasteland is conjured up perfectly through his wispy synthesized textures, and then again on "End Titles From Bladerunner," which was previously unreleased, simulating the impersonal, android-like world in which the movie was based. Both of his cuts from China include oriental-flavored backdrops, while Bladerunner's love theme remains one of Vangelis' most beautiful pieces. Themes is a definitive purchase as far as compilations are concerned, since a majority of his best material lies in the 14 tracks.
Mike DeGagne, Rovi