1924 Paris Olympics, 2 Kings 2:11, 2 Kings 6:17, 2012 London Olympics, Book of Revelation 3:12, chariot of fire and horses of fire, Chariots of Fire, Diamond Jubilee, Elijah, Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, Glastonbury, Greek diminutive for Evangelos, HM Queen Elizabeth II, Jesus establishes new Jerusalem, Jesus’ visit to Glastonbury, Joseph of Arimathea, New Jerusalem, photos of Queen Elizabeth II throughout her life, Revelation 21:2, Second Coming, Sir Hubert Parry, Somerset, Vangelis, William Blake
The Chariots of Fire theme was composed by the now 70-year old Greek, Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou.
This gentleman is far more commonly known by one name only, Vangelis, which, in Greek, is the diminutive for Evangelos.
By comparison, think Robert and Bob.
Vangelis is himself a curiosity in so many ways, but suffice it to say his musical genres run from electronic (he’s a pioneer in the use of the synthesizer), progressive, ambient, jazz, pop rock and orchestral music.
His Chariots of Fire was, of course, the main theme for the fine film of the same name about the British Olympic teams’ travails in the 1924 Paris Olympics. It focused especially upon the relationship and rivalry between two team members dating to their days at Cambridge University.
One man was a fundamentalist Christian Scotsman the other an English Jew, the latter being overtly discriminated against and essentially shunned by The Great and Good at Cambridge precisely because of his heritage and faith.
The film’s title was inspired by the line, Bring me my chariot of fire, from the William Blake poem adapted into the popular British hymn and using Sir Hubert Parry’s score.
Blake’s poem was inspired by the apocryphal story that a young Jesus, accompanied by his uncle Joseph of Arimathea, a tin merchant, travelled to what is now England.
They visited Glastonbury, the English town in the southwestern County of Somerset during Jesus’ so-called lost years.
Indeed, Glastonbury is a magical, historic place which has been continually inhabited at least since Neolithic times (e.g., circa 10,000 B.C.). It is equally associated with King Arthur.
That legend of Jesus and his uncle Joseph is linked to an idea in the Book of Revelation (3:12 and 21:2) describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a new Jerusalem.
The Christian Church in general, and the Church of England, in particular, used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven, a place of universal love and peace
Nowadays, Jerusalem is essentially Britain’s unofficial national anthem and was heard at the end of Chariots of Fire.
For those who viewed the latest Royal Wedding, you may recall hearing it played and sung by the congregation as William and Kate knelt before the altar in Westminster Abbey.
As a reminder or indeed an introduction, have another listen to this simple but powerful anthem:
If this fails to play, my apologies. Please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yIWBO_7nio&feature=related
The original phrase “chariot(s) of fire” is from The Bible 2 Kings 2:11:
“And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”
“And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”
During the 2012 London Olympics, Chariots of Fire was played during every medals award ceremony.
Since the Olympics themselves formed a part of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, enjoy this theme with what is an utterly fascinating montage of Her Majesty’s face, morphing from one year to the next, dating from her babyhood to the present day.
It does make one reflect upon what must be, literally, tens of thousands of times this lady has been photographed during her lifetime.
If this fails to play, my apologies. Please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=E8nJhG1xE5o
Her Majesty has lived a remarkable life, and this is a very accurate, sympathetic and respectful portrayal of it.
Long Live The Queen!
The Chariots of Fire music and film are widely available from a variety of sources.
For those unfamiliar with it, in 1793, a mere 17 years after America’s Declaration of Independence, William Blake wrote the astonishing America a Prophecy and which I heartily recommend to all, whether Americans or not. See what you think of Blake as visionary:America a Prophecy
Visit Somerset is the official website (in English, only, naturally) for tourism to The Jewel of the Southwest: http://www.visitsomerset.co.uk Twitter: @VisitSomerset
Vangelis’ official website is a very much a work in progress: http://www.vangelisworld.com/
An unofficial one, however, is chock full of all one needs: http://elsew.com/
The William Blake Archive, curiously described as “A hypermedia archive sponsored by the Library of Congress and supported by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Rochester, and the Scholarly Editions and Translations Division of the National Endowment for the Humanities” is here: http://www.blakearchive.org/blake/