1492: Conquest of Paradise is a 1992 music score by Greek electronic composer and artist Vangelis. The film, a recount of the voyage to America in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, was directed by Ridley Scott, for whom Vangelis had previously composed the music score for Blade Runner, in 1982. The album and the single "Conquest of Paradise" enjoyed a revival in 1995 for various reasons and broke many sales records.
Due to the soundtrack's success, Vangelis won Echo Award as "International Artist Of The Year", and RTL Golden Lion Award for the "Best Title Theme for a TV Film or a Series" in 1996. At the 50th Golden Globe Awards was nominated for the Best Original Score - Motion Picture.
- "Opening" – 1:21
- "Conquest of Paradise" – 4:47
- "Monastery of La Rábida" – 3:39
- "City of Isabel" – 2:16
- "Light and Shadow" – 3:46
- "Deliverance" – 3:28
- "West Across the Ocean Sea" – 2:53
- "Eternity" – 1:59
- "Hispañola" – 4:56
- "Moxica and the Horse" – 7:06
- "Twenty Eighth Parallel" – 5:14
- "Pinta, Niña, Santa María (Into Eternity)" – 13:19
A number of pieces can be identified in the film, but it is clear that Scott preferred "Hispañola" (track 9) to set the tone of the film, rather than "Conquest of Paradise" (track 2).
The CD was released in each market with one of two different covers.
A Single disc was released with four tracks, two of which were not included in the album:
- "Conquest of Paradise"
- "Moxica and the Horse"
- "Line Open"
On this soundtrack, Vangelis plays together with a number of performers, including two Flamenco guitarists and vocalists, violin, mandolin and flutes. As on a number of previous albums by Vangelis, the English Chamber Choir, directed by Guy Protheroe, performs the choral parts.
The sound engineering was done by Philippe Colonna and coordination by French musician Frederick Rousseau (also known for his collaborations with Jean Michel Jarre), who has been Vangelis's studio partner since the 1980s till the recording of the Alexander soundtrack.
Vangelis plays all synthesizers, using mainly string patches but also several ethnic ones, to reflect the character of the film, and electric piano and harp patches. Some calmer, atmospheric pieces (tracks 3, 7, 11 and 12) are entirely performed by Vangelis, using pianos, strings and harp.
For the ethnic music, Vangelis consulted with French specialist Xavier Belanger, who has advised other artists on similar issues, including Jean Michel Jarre.
A video clip was shot in Paris with Vangelis in his Epsilon Studios (since dismantled), with the choir performing.
Three tracks of this album contain lyrics. In "Monastery of La Rabida" and "Deliverance", the choir sings Latin hymns ("De Profundis" and "Dies Irae, respectively"). In "Conquest of Paradise" Vangelis used a pseudo-Latin invented language.
Both the album and the EP had poor sales upon their release in 1992, but success came three years later, in 1995, for disparate reasons: In Germany, local boxer Henry Maske used the album-track "Conquest of Paradise" as his introduction theme during boxing bouts. When he became the IBF world title holder in the light heavyweight category, the piece received wide coverage and a single was hastily released.
In Portugal, the local Socialist Party also used "Conquest of Paradise" as its theme for the general election campaign (it won). The song has also been used as a theme for the Crusaders, a Super Rugby team based in Christchurch, New Zealand, for English rugby league team the Wigan Warriors, for the 2011 Cricket World Cup, and for the 2010 and 2014 cricket World Twenty20 championships.
The soundtrack album charted very well, and went on to be certified gold and platinum in over 17 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Holland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K., culminating with over million copies in Germany.
The single "Conquest of Paradise" also topped the charts in a number of countries, including 10 weeks at No. 1 in the Netherlands and Germany, where it sold 1.5 million copies, 8 weeks at No. 1 in Belgium and Switzerland. The cumulative worldwide sales of the album and single exceed over 4 million copies.