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Voices from Final Fantasy: Final Fantasy Premium Orchestra Concert summary

Voices from Final Fantasy is a DVD recording of arranged orchestral music from the Final Fantasy series performed live in Yokohama, Japan on February 18, 2006. The music is composed by Nobuo Uematsu and arranged by such renowned musicians as Shiro Hamaguchi, Masashi Hamauzu, and Arnie Roth. Musical director Arnie Roth conducts the orchestra during the two-hour concert, which includes highlights from the twenty-year history of Final Fantasy. Nobuo Uematsu himself serves as emcee.

Gradius V: Original Soundtrack summary

Gradius V marks Hitoshi Sakimoto's triumphant return to the shooters genre. Throughout the soundtrack the composer pays tribute to the classic themes of the Konami sidescrollers, upon which the design of Quest shoot-em-up Magical Chase was based. Sakimoto told Cocoebiz regarding the soundtrack, "I love Gradius and played it a lot. I was heavily influenced by music from the series. It was a great honor to work on a title like this, also somewhat intimidating. For Gradius V, I didn't really think too much about the previous music in the series. I was given specific stylistic requests from Konami, so while keeping those in mind I tried to work in my own personal composition method." Comparing the boss music from Life Force to the composer's arrangement for the Playstation 2 title, the remixed track retains the essence of the original, while updating the theme for a new generation console. The soundtrack is a blast for old school enthusiasts and Sakimoto fans alike.

Tactics Ogre summary

Tactics Ogre summary

Yasumi Matsuno himself was an enthusiast of music and fan of the rock band Queen, as illustrated by the many references found throughout Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. In Valeria can be located one of Freddie Mercury's "Seven Seas of Rhye," while the 1993 sequel is named Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, after a song found on the virtuoso rock band's "A Day at the Races." For Hitoshi Sakimoto's third major title with Quest, Masaharu Iwata was designated the principal composer for the project. Tactics Ogre's soundtrack also includes music by Hayato Matsuo, notable for his facility with symphonic arrangements. As with other albums shared by Sakimoto and Iwata, was divided in two parts. Represented on the music album are both the original sound versions found in the Super Famicom title and enhanced MIDIs of superior sampling quality, suggesting that the score was truly meant for a fully symphonic arrangement. A worthy successor to the Ogre Battle OST and a notable precursor to Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre deserves the attention of hardcore game music enthusiasts.

Stella Deus: Original Soundtrack summary

The freedom of working through Basiscape has allowed Hitoshi Sakimoto to reunite with Ogre compatriot Masaharu Iwata for strategy RPG Stella Deus. The title track, "Alchemy," builds on the martial themes of the Tactics series, transitioning from the weightiness of a march to the euphonic solo by wind instruments. The composer brings together two emotional extremes into a completely natural whole, a perfect explication of the method of counterpoint. Setting the stage for the game world, the song communicates to the player, here you will be compelled to act decisively against formidable challenges, and yet you will also have the opportunity to freely play and explore with leisure. The soundtrack is another solid contribution by the musical team very much in the vain of Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy Tactics.

Tactics Ogre summary

Tactics Ogre summary

Yasumi Matsuno himself was an enthusiast of music and fan of the rock band Queen, as illustrated by the many references found throughout Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. In Valeria can be located one of Freddie Mercury's "Seven Seas of Rhye," while the 1993 sequel is named Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, after a song found on the virtuoso rock band's "A Day at the Races." For Hitoshi Sakimoto's third major title with Quest, Masaharu Iwata was designated the principal composer for the project. Tactics Ogre's soundtrack also includes music by Hayato Matsuo, notable for his facility with symphonic arrangements. As with other albums shared by Sakimoto and Iwata, was divided in two parts. Represented on the music album are both the original sound versions found in the Super Famicom title and enhanced MIDIs of superior sampling quality, suggesting that the score was truly meant for a fully symphonic arrangement. A worthy successor to the Ogre Battle OST and a notable precursor to Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre deserves the attention of hardcore game music enthusiasts.

Koudelka: Original Soundtrack summary

Following Soukaigi, Kikuta formed his own company, Sacnoth. He received funding from SNK, who would publish the Sacnoth titles upon their release. Kikuta had already decided upon a story, which had been brewing in his imagination for years. For the the gothic horror RPG Koudelka, Kikuta served as scenario writer, producer, and composer. Remarkably some of the composer's best songs were recorded during the hectic development. "Live Patience" is one of the most memorable of Kikuta's many excellent themes, and "Ubi Caritas et amor," a chamber piece sung in Latin, is a deeply impressive addition to the composer's diverse musical achievements.

Soukaigi: Original Soundtrack summary

Hiroki Kikuta's only Playstation project for Square was the post-apocalyptic action game Soukaigi. Mixing stylistically distinctive melodies with turbulent and uncertain chord progressions, Kikuta's themes deftly convey the extremes of darkness and light, incorporated both live instruments and unique synthesized sounds. The vocal track, "Lovely Strains," is one of the most memorable of the composer's unique melodies.

Seiken Densetsu 3: Original Sound Version summary

For his second project for Square, Hiroki Kikuta composed music for the third Seiken Densetsu project, aided by 18 year-old sound programmer Hidenori Suzuki. The volume of music for the original soundtrack tripled that of the previous game, reflecting the broader ambitions of the epic Super Famicom sequel. The composer created distinct themes for such diverse settings as woodland villages, sprawling plains, volcanic craters, snowy mountain peaks, tropical forests, ruined pyramids, Medieval castles, and the rolling expanses of the in-game oceans. It is a true testament to the success of the soundtrack that it has received lasting attention from international game music fans despite the fact that Squaresoft criminally decided against releasing the epic masterpiece outside of Japan. A truly memorable game soundtrack, Seiken Densetsu 3 belongs alongside the OST's of Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger in the collections of Super Famicon game music enthusiasts.

Seiken Densetsu 3: Original Sound Version summary

For his second project for Square, Hiroki Kikuta composed music for the third Seiken Densetsu project, aided by 18 year-old sound programmer Hidenori Suzuki. The volume of music for the original soundtrack tripled that of the previous game, reflecting the broader ambitions of the epic Super Famicom sequel. The composer created distinct themes for such diverse settings as woodland villages, sprawling plains, volcanic craters, snowy mountain peaks, tropical forests, ruined pyramids, Medieval castles, and the rolling expanses of the in-game oceans. It is a true testament to the success of the soundtrack that it has received lasting attention from international game music fans despite the fact that Squaresoft criminally decided against releasing the epic masterpiece outside of Japan. A truly memorable game soundtrack, Seiken Densetsu 3 belongs alongside the OST's of Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger in the collections of Super Famicon game music enthusiasts.

Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon: Coi Vanni Gialli summary

The same year Final Fantasy VII debuted in Japan, Hamauzu began work on the light-hearted soundtrack for Chocobo no Fushiga na Dungeon, a dungeon crawler starring the yellow avian of the Final Fantasy series. In the materials packaged with the original soundtrack, the composer explains that while the project was assigned to him unexpectedly, he had long been a fan of the chocobo's personal history. "When one says 'Chocobo,' I'm sure you all think of Uematsu-san's famous theme, right?" Hamauzu writes in the liner notes. "I think I was still in high school when that lovable character first made his debut in Final Fantasy. And accompanying his entrance was a perfectly matched theme. 'I'd love to try doing this kind of work,' I often thought back then..." When the time came to create his own Chocobo themes, the composer decided to arrange the opening and ending of the album for a fifty-piece orchestra, a challenge that was met with such success that the experiment was expanded into an orchestrated soundtrack called Coi Vanni Gialli. "Demand for classical music in Japan is still low compared with other countries," the composer writes in the insert for the arranged album, which he composed together with game musician Yasuo Sako. "Moreover, the market is limited to recorded media. In the post-war days of the 1950s, performers made an effort to popularize classical music, and believed somewhat naively that if they committed themselves steadily and wholeheartedly to that venture, the culture of music appreciation would take root... I still feel that I'd like to spread the word on this style of music by any means necessary. Had I tried to make my living in classical music, to rise to the status of giving my own recitals, I wouldn't be able to say that. And even if I could, I'd only be preaching to the choir of classical music lovers... but I've never been one for cutting corners. Anyway, allow me to express a tired, yet true platitude on classical music: take your time with it, and the day will come when you appreciate it."

Final Fantasy X: Piano Collections summary

Following his work on Final Fantasy X, Masashi Hamauzu took on the project of arranging tracks for a piano album, a roll previously assigned to Shiro Hamaguchi, who had his hands full with the anime Final Fantasy Unlimited. The finished pieces were performed by pianist Aki Kuroda. The composer expressed the opinion in an interview with RocketBaby that arranging electronic videogame tracks for the piano must be one of the most difficult adaptations imaginable. For the piano album, not only would the musician arrange his own tracks, but he would also tackle the compositions of his colleagues. The composer said that this was something of an intimidating task, but he was also intrigued by the idea of approaching songs like "Guadosalam" by Junya Nakano, whose arpeggios and the placement of the instruments the composer greatly enjoyed.

In the material for the Final Fantasy X Piano Album, dated Jan 8, 2002, Hamauzu writes, "For someone like me, who usually relies upon MIDIs, confronting the staff music for a piano score is an arduous process. One does not have the option of burying clumsy progressions in the mix, or altering the surface of the music with other instruments. Nor can you predict the results until the occasion of the performance, when your sheet music is interpreted by the pianist. So you have to prepare the score with every bit of thoroughness and precision. It was a trying experience but, as someone who came to composing late, participating in such a musical project was a valuable opportunity for leveling up, for which I am extremely grateful."

SaGa Frontier 2: Piano Pieces "SF2" - Rhapsody on a Theme of SaGa Frontier 2 summary

With the favorable outcome of Masashi Hamauzu's foray into symphonic arrangements with the Chocobo Dungeon arranged album, the composer was assigned his first RPG project in 1999, working together with producer Akitoshi Kawazu on the next Playstation intallment of the SaGa franchise. For the soundtrack, Hamauzu paired up with the skilled synthesizer programmer, Ryo Yamazaki, who had managed to capture the feel of acoustic instruments for Mitsuda's Chrono Cross score. The project would mark the beginning of a long and harmonious collaboration between the two musicians. The composer said of SaGa Frontier 2 that his approach to the game soundtrack was a departure from standard RPG scores. But when the experiment turned out both to express his artistic ideas and also worked well for the game, the methodology became the basis for his style. Hamauzu supplemented the original album with an arranged soundtrack centered upon piano arrangements. Called Rhapsody on a Theme of SaGa Frontier 2, the live music accentuates the great success accomplished by Hamauzu and Yamazaki on their first collaboration in synthesizing a rich orchestral sound using digital instruments.

"The idea that game music should sound a certain way is a common sentiment," Hamauzu writes in the liner notes for SaGa Frontier 2. "But I felt that conforming to the atmosphere of the previous games in the SaGa series was not entirely necessary. I asked myself why was I chosen to write music for the new SaGa if only to defer stylistic judgment to the preconceived expectations of SaGa's history. I felt it would be a mistake to fabricate a copy that any other composer could do just as well. It was important to me that I work on discovering my own voice. Only in the final two months of production did I realize that attempting to express my own unique character to the utmost was the best medicine for dissolving concern over how suitable my music was to the task of continuing the tradition of this series. I extend a heartfelt thanks to the SaGa staff for dealing with these self-absorbed struggles of mine. And also to the synth manipulator, Yamazaki-kun. In addition to the brilliance of his work, it was the appreciation he showed for my harmonic style that was my greatest source of happiness."

Saga Frontier 2: Original Soundtrack summary

With the favorable outcome of Masashi Hamauzu's foray into symphonic arrangements with the Chocobo Dungeon arranged album, the composer was assigned his first RPG project in 1999, working together with producer Akitoshi Kawazu on the next Playstation intallment of the SaGa franchise. For the soundtrack, Hamauzu paired up with the skilled synthesizer programmer, Ryo Yamazaki, who had managed to capture the feel of acoustic instruments for Mitsuda's Chrono Cross score. The project would mark the beginning of a long and harmonious collaboration between the two musicians. The composer said of SaGa Frontier 2 that his approach to the game soundtrack was a departure from standard RPG scores. But when the experiment turned out both to express his artistic ideas and also worked well for the game, the methodology became the basis for his style. Hamauzu supplemented the original album with an arranged soundtrack centered upon piano arrangements. Called Rhapsody on a Theme of SaGa Frontier 2, the live music accentuates the great success accomplished by Hamauzu and Yamazaki on their first collaboration in synthesizing a rich orchestral sound using digital instruments.

"The idea that game music should sound a certain way is a common sentiment," Hamauzu writes in the liner notes for SaGa Frontier 2. "But I felt that conforming to the atmosphere of the previous games in the SaGa series was not entirely necessary. I asked myself why was I chosen to write music for the new SaGa if only to defer stylistic judgment to the preconceived expectations of SaGa's history. I felt it would be a mistake to fabricate a copy that any other composer could do just as well. It was important to me that I work on discovering my own voice. Only in the final two months of production did I realize that attempting to express my own unique character to the utmost was the best medicine for dissolving concern over how suitable my music was to the task of continuing the tradition of this series. I extend a heartfelt thanks to the SaGa staff for dealing with these self-absorbed struggles of mine. And also to the synth manipulator, Yamazaki-kun. In addition to the brilliance of his work, it was the appreciation he showed for my harmonic style that was my greatest source of happiness."

Legend of Mana: Original Soundtrack summary

"I kept saying I wanted to work on a fantasy and this title finally came around," Yoko Shimomura said of the Legend of Mana soundtrack. "I really had fun with it. I tried hard to make it fit the style of the game and to express myself." Something of a departure from the previous Seiken scores produced by Hiroki Kikuta and Kenji Ito for the series, Shimomura's entry took advantage of the Playstation's sound capabilities to introduce voice tracks and sound samples from acoustic instruments. In tune with the eclectic style of the game itself, the original score features delicate melodies, quirky flights of fancy, even hardcore rock battle themes.

Legend of Mana: Music Selection summary

"I kept saying I wanted to work on a fantasy and this title finally came around," Yoko Shimomura said of the Legend of Mana soundtrack. "I really had fun with it. I tried hard to make it fit the style of the game and to express myself." Something of a departure from the previous Seiken scores produced by Hiroki Kikuta and Kenji Ito for the series, Shimomura's entry took advantage of the Playstation's sound capabilities to introduce voice tracks and sound samples from acoustic instruments. In tune with the eclectic style of the game itself, the original score features delicate melodies, quirky flights of fancy, even hardcore rock battle themes.

Super Mario RPG: Original Sound Version summary

Yoko Shimomura's last soundtrack for the Super Famicom would invite her to create a musical hybrid of two classic game series. The title was Super Mario RPG, which included tracks inspired by the compositions of Nintendo game legend Koji Kondo and Final Fantasy maestro Nobuo Uematsu. Shimomura captures the essence of both these distinctive musical styles while putting together her own unique and energetic pieces. Listening to "Happy Adventure, Delightful Adventure" one gets the sense that the musician came to the daunting project with ample gusto for the task. Never before has the use of a traffic whistle for a theme song been handled more ingeniously. Super Mario RPG remains a favorite among fans in no small part due to the playful spirit the composer brought to two franchises already weighted with a wealth of musical ideas.

Another Mind: Original Soundtrack summary

Junya Nakano explained in his liner notes to Another Mind that with the project, he attempted to write in a different style, if only slightly, than he had with Gun Hazard. Rather than compose by constructing sounds using sampling and hard disk recording techniques, the majority of the music for the game was produced through the Playstation's internal sound chip. He thanks Hidenori Iwasaski, the synthesizer programmer for the game, for skillfully providing quality sounds for the electronic instrumentation. For his part, Iwasaki replied, "The original music provided by Junya Nakano were so well realized to begin with that all I did to optimize the sound for Playstation was add compression to the original sounds. It's a defeat for manipulators everywhere. Someday, I'm going to absorb Nakano's ability to produce these enchanting sounds."

Front Mission 3: Original Soundtrack summary

The Front Mission 3 original soundtrack is provided by Ogre Battle symphonic orchestrator Hayato Matsuo and Chou Aniki composer Koji Hayama. The game contains some notable tracks but mostly chooses to eschew the series' gritty, dystopian roots. In the OST's liner notes, Matsuo writes, "I worked on the BGM for this game together with Hayama-kun, but as I personally love Front Mission, composing the music was an enjoyable process. Producer Toshiro Tsuchida was very clear in the images he wanted for the music, but left all the details up to us, so I think we were able to operate with great creativity. There is plenty of variety in the music, with orchestral tracks, and rhythm and synth based music, so it aims to give you a sense of the game's complexity, diversity and human drama. Thanks to the Square Sound staff, who programmed the music into the actual machine, that the sound quality in the game turned out so high. In the case of games, there are material restrictions on sound channels and tone quality, but because of this staff, we were able to realize a music that scaled at least some of those walls. Thanks for lending me this space to write. And thank you to everyone listening to this soundtrack. If you can relive the world of Front Mission through this soundtrack even when not playing the game, I'll be very pleased."

Final Fantasy: Vocal Collections II - Love Will Grow summary

First released in 1995, Final Fantasy: Love Will Grow is the second vocal collection of arranged Final Fantasy tunes following Final Fantasy: Pray. The songs are composed and arranged by Nobuo Uematsu, and performed by Risa Ohki and Ikuko Noguchi in Japanese, English, French, and Portuguese. Ohki also appears on the Genso Suikoden vocal album "La pasionne commuove la Storia."

Final Fantasy: Vocal Collections I - Pray summary

First released in 1994, Final Fantasy: Pray is the first vocal collection of arranged Final Fantasy tunes preceding Final Fantasy: Love Will Grow. The songs are composed and arranged by Nobuo Uematsu, and performed by Risa Ohki in Japanese, English, French, and Portuguese. Ohki's vocal tracks also appear on the Genso Suikoden vocal album "La pasionne commuove la Storia."

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