Sunday, September 1, 2002

Final Fantasy 2002 0220

Credits: 2002 Nobuo Uematsu, Shiro Hamaguchi, Squaresoft, Sony Classical.

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Description (on Animenation): On February 22, 2002 composer Nobuo Uematsu conducted the Tokyo Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in a recital performance of classic Final Fantasy themes accompanied by special guests Rikki and Emiko Shiratori. This double disc CD-Extra set includes 17 tracks recorded during the concert along with bonus video footage of the concert and a special message from Nobuo Uematsu accessible through a computer.

Track Listing:

Disc 1

  1. Tuning
  2. Liberi Fatali (FF 8)
  3. The Theme of Love (FF 4)
  4. MC-1
  5. Final Fantasy I-III Medley
  6. MC-2
  7. Aerith's Theme (FF 7)
  8. Don't be Afraid (FF 8)
  9. Tina's Theme (FF6)
  10. MC-3
  11. Dear Friends (FF 5)
  12. Vamo' alla Flamenco (FF 9)

Disc 2

  1. MC-1
  2. To Zanarkand (FF 10)
  3. Yuna's Decision (FF 10)
  4. MC-2
  5. Love Grows (FF 8)
  6. Suteki da Ne? (FF 10)
  7. MC-3
  8. Place Where it Returns
    ~ Melodies of Life (FF 9)
  9. MC-4
  10. One Winged Angel (FF 7)
  11. MC-5
  12. The Man with the Machine Gun (FF 8)
  13. Final Fantasy

Another Great Orchestra Arrangement for Final Fantasy >>> by Kenryoku Maxis
For those of us Living in America, we were not able to attend this wonderful concert, commemorating not the games, but the Music of the ongoing Final Fantasy Series. Now the CD has arrived, with all the songs played in the concert, special hosts from various parts of the Final Fantasy world talking and video of the concert itself. This 2 CD bundle is a must for any Final Fantasy music fan and for all those who like great gaming music.

I have been a fan of Gaming music since I was 3 years old with the original Mario and Zelda music. From MIDI to Orchestra, I like them all, but my heart really goes for a good Orchestra playing some classic themes. This is one of those great CD's that has a lot of good themes from classic games that are now Orchestrated in a powerful way. Some are new to me, others I have heard many times, but they are all good.

Below I have listen all the tracks for the 2 CD 'Final Fantasy Concert 02-02-2002' Soundtrack. If you enjoy Gaming music, especially in the Orchestra variety of it, you will enjoy this.

--Disk 1--
1 - Tuning: This is just the first track, with the orchestra tuning their instruments to get ready for the concert. If you want a nostalgic orchestra feel, be sure to start with this track. If not, just skip it and go right to the music.

2 - Liberi Fatali: The famous Opeing theme from Final Fantasy VIII, 'Liberi Fatali' is redone for the concert but much different from what I thought it would be. This version is much more quiet then the previous and despite sudden bursts from the orchestra, you can hardly imagine this song being used for the epic battle to begin Final Fantasy VIII. But it is still a great piece, with the orchestra doing a fabulous job.

3 - Theme of Love: If there's any song I could say is the best from
Final Fantasy IV, it would be either The 'Opening Theme', heard in almost every Final Fantasy game or the 'Theme of Love'. I have a few orchestra remixes of this song, but this one is well done just as the others are. A quiet theme, this song is always beautiful and rich with Violins. I especially like how the song ended in this version. One on my favorite Final Fantasy songs and I am glad they put it in the Concert.

4 - MC1: In most Japanese concerts, they ask special guests to come and speak during the concerts. From what I can tell, it sounds as if the main guests in this concert are the starring voices in Final Fantasy X, Tidus and Yuna. I may be wrong, but they sound quite similar. They are describing what was just played and what will be coming u in the concert, along with why the concert was done.

5 - Final Fantasy I ~ III: This track is very well done, orchestrating many of the big themes from the old Final Fantasy games. The one that stands out of course is 'Chocobo Theme'. I have heard at least 10 themes for this song, but this one of the best versions in orchestrated form.

6 - MC2: This is the second track devoted to the guests of Honor. Sadly, I cannot make out what they are talking about in this one...

7 - Aeris' Theme: Out of all the Final Fantasy music out there, one of my 2 most favorite songs is this one. I have had my hands on the Reunion Soundtrack for FFVII for a couple years and by far, my two favorite songs in Final Fantasy were orchestrated for that soundtrack, this being one and the other being the Main Theme for FFVII. This one is a lot like the other but, fitting with the entire concert, lighter than the previously made remake. Unlike the game and the other remake, it doesn't triumphantly blast as much due to it's added string sections and lighter tone from beginning to end. But all and all, this is still just as powerful a piece as both of the other times I heard the song, both after watching the pain of Aeris dying and sitting at home experiencing it all over again in my mind with the Reunion track. Definitely one of the best in the entire Concert.

8 - Don't Be Afraid: We travel from Aeris' Death straight into the main battle theme for the Final Fantasy games, 'Don't Be Afraid'. This version most resembles the theme found in Final Fantasy VIII, using most of the same beats and instruments as even it's previously orchestrated counterpart. It is well done and like the other remake song, I like it very much.

9 - Tina's Theme: Much to my surprise, Tina's theme from Final Fantasy VI (III) has returned, but in a new form. Much like the previous Orchestra remake of this song a few years ago, it is triumphant sounding and holds true to the sound from the original SNES game. But unlike the other remake, this one is quieter and has more of the wind instruments brought out where before they were drowned out by trumpets. I am quite happy of how this song turned out.

10 - MC3: The same people as in MC1 talking about what will be coming up in the second half of the concert and the songs to come before the break. It also involves a long dialogue with Nobuo Uematsu, the writer of the Original Final Fantasy Soundtracks.

11 - Dear Friends: Where before there was a remake of the main theme from Final Fantasy V, now we have the remake of the song titled 'Dear Friends'. With a light but dark tone, it fits the mood for a preamble to the following song, 'Vamo' alla Flamenco'.

12 - Vamo' alla Flamenco: Although I have yet to play Final Fantasy IX, I have for quite a while been a fan of the music found throughout its soundtracks. I am pleased to now have an orchestrated version of one of the better songs from this game. Following the song 'Waltz for the Moon' in Final Fantasy VIII, this song is an upbeat guitar dance piece that utilizes a mixture of old musical styles and that of a Spanish Flamenco dance tune. One of the best on the first CD's and a great losing song.

--Disk 2--

1 - MC1: The Male host of the concert goes on for 10 seconds to tell the audience to listen to the rest of the concert.

2 - At Zankarkand: My experience with Final Fantasy X is minimal at best, even with the music, but this small piano track is sweet, reminding me of such themes from Joe Hisaishi's works of 'Mononoke Hime' or Yoko Kanno in 'Macross Plus'. Short but works well to bring us into the second half of the concert.

3 - Yuna's Decision: Much like Track 2, this is a slow but rich piano piece from Final Fantasy X. This particular piece makes me imagine a gallant female warrior waiting between two different tasks to be done.

4 - MC2: The hosts come and ask a man they call 'Aki-san' to tell the audience about how he came to work on Final Fantasy. They talk for about 2 minutes about him and go on to the rest of the Concert.

5 - Love Grows: From Final Fantasy VIII, one of the best songs returns. 'Love Grows' has always been a powerful piece for me. I was a little sad when I realized that this version was lacking in the vocals from Faye Wong that I so loved, but they replaced it with a well done orchestra melody hoping from one instruments to another. I cannot say I prefer it to the original vocal version but it is well done and I still enjoy it.

6 - Suteki Da Ne?: Once again, my lack of playing Final Fantasy X left me out of hearing another beautiful song. 'Suteki Da Ne' is a sweet vocal piece; Sweet as almost all of the songs preceding it on this CD are. The song makes me want to see how and when it was used in the game.

7 - MC3: For the third Host track, I cannot figure out what they are talking about. Sorry, but anyone who knows Japanese can find out once they buy the CD.

8 - Melodies of Life: My lack of playing Final Fantasy IX didn't stop me from hearing this, one of my favorite Vocal Final Fantasy songs. It sounds as if they got the original singer to sing the song once more, which is very nice seeing as she is my favorite part of the song. She adds a distinct flavor to the song and has one of the sweetest voices I have ever heard. I find myself listening to this song more and more now that I have it on CD...

9 - MC4: For the Fourth Host track, they speak to the singer to the previous song. I wish so much I could understand what they are saying fully...but that'll be for later when I learn Japanese now won't it...

10 - Sephiroth's Theme: Ah well...we can't always have a perfect concert, can we? For my one complaint track, I would have to say this is it. I have loved the versions of the 'Sephiroth Theme' in the past, but in this light and somewhat slow concert, this piece stands out too much in a bad way. The number in the chorus as dwindled to what sounds like 6 people singing. To top it all off, the arrangement isn't as powerful as the past remake or original Playstation version. When it is all added up, the song just doesn't live up to it's much acclaim and hype (for both the character and the power behind the songs purpose for the end of the game. This song could have very much been added to or replaced by another song more fitting to the type of style such as 'South Pontera Theme' from Final Fantasy VI or 'Main Theme' from Final Fantasy VII.

11 - MC5: This is another Host track but sadly, another where I cannot tell what is going on fully. I THINK they are interviewing Nobuo Uematsu, but I did not hear his name and only going by Voice recognition. Forgive me if I am wrong.

12 - The Man With the Machine Gun: To add from the weaker version of 'Sephiroth's Theme' we have this track, 'The Man With the Machine Gun.' Another track I have previously heard in an Orchestra remix, this one was done almost the same as the one before but added more strings and trumpets, producing a more powerful effect in some ways, less than others. All in all, I like this track a lot and follows up nicely after the poor display with the 'Sephiroth Theme.'

13 - FINAL FANTASY: The last track of the concert is the ever classical and beautiful 'Theme of Final Fantasy.' Almost an exact replica of the song from the ending theme of Final Fantasy VIII, this version is slow and moving with a single snare drum and many violins supported with a small assortment of brass, mainly low brass and occasional Trumpets coming through. A wonderful piece to end the concert but makes me a little sad because I don't wish it to end...

And so it is over, but you can always listen to it over again! I have already, many times. Anyway, I give it an 8 for it's great songs, but also because it lacked a couple things, mainly some of the more powerful songs and emphasis in the songs it did put in. I recommend this still to everyone because it is well made. This CD came in at a VERY strong 8.

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