23 Feb 2014

A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY Report

This article will be available on Gamemusic.net from tomorrow

Music from video games is developing and there is no doubt about that. One of the series that helped the industry to move forward was Final Fantasy. Music from this franchise became so popular that nowadays, we experience concert tours of “Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy” all around the globe. But producers promise more and that being said, we had the innovative „Final Symphony” in London last year.
This time, again in the capital of England, “A new World: intimidate music from Final Fantasy” was brought into existence. The event was planned to be given more cameral atmosphere, which supposed to allow listeners to connect with the music in even more emotional way.

Located in the east part of London, one of the concert hall of London Symphonic Orchestra is actually a church that does not really look prominent neither outside nor inside. Nevertheless, the important thing is what occurred in the center of it.
Without surprise, Arnie Roth was the conductor. Followed by him the performers included pianist Benyamin Nuss, Navarra String Quartet and few other invited artists (guitar, drums, clarinet, flute, contrabass…).
As Arnie Roth said, the choice of musicians is the most important part of creating such event. It is hard not to agree with him and admit that the selection was perfect. The group played at ease, with visible joy on their faces.

The concert started with „One-Winged Angel” (FF VII). No need to explain that to fans, but this track usually That article is available on does not work as a fanfare nor is it an infamous composition (we were promised new arrangements).
Generally, among a huge number of chunks that had never been played live, a few widely recognizable compositions were played. One of them was the aforementioned “One-Winged Angel”, but also “Those Who Fight” (FF VII) or “To Zanarkand” (FF X) that has beautifully enclosed the spectacle.
It is essential to mention that not everything has been composed by Nobuo Uematsu, as the music from Final Fantasy XII or XIII was also in the programme (Hideki Sakamoto, Masashi Hamauzu).

There were solo performances, too. „Eruyt Village” (FF XII) as well as „Those Who Fight” and „Gustaberg” (FF I) were played on the piano by Benyamin Nuss. The tracks contrast between rather romantic “Eruyt Village” and „Gustaberg” and dynamic “Those Who Fight”, but the young pianist showed great skills in both cases.
Another solo instrument was the guitar. “Elia the Maide of Water” (FF III) which was played on it, only ensure us that the choice of instrumentation was ideal.
Besides solo, we also listened to duets. That was “Troia” (FF IV) arranged on guitar and cello as well as “The Promise” and “Blinded By Light” (FF XIII) on piano and violin.

One of the most anticipated moment of the concert was the performance of „Dark World” (FF VI) in which both Nobu Uematsu and Arnie Roth (violin) were announced to participate together.
Easy to spot synthesizer which was placed next to the piano, clearly suggested it was the Japanese who was supposed to play on it. The arrangement was very intriguing and definitely came out as a highlight among all the other works.

There were some humoristic aspects, as „Chocobo’s theme medley” and after intermission „Moogle’s theme medley” were played. Especially the first of them was outstanding. They even used a toy which sound reminded of Chocobo’s squeal. The audience seemed amused.

Majority of arrangements were played ensemble, although some of them were performed by the Navarra String Quartet only. And not only were they flawless, but their performance was literally heart-breaking.
We listened to “Fight with Seymour” (FF X), “A New World” (FF V), “Fragments of Memories” (FF VIII), “Town” (FF I), “The Decisive Battle” (FF VI), “Rebel Army Theme” (FF XI), “The Zanarkand” (FF X) and “Force Your Way” (FF VIII).

“A new World: intimate music from Final Fantasy” is a project that authors can be proud of. To my mind, they managed to achieve the goal. I personally participated in “Distant World” before and I feel the difference between these events. It was not a mass concert. It is not overstating that the audience integrated with artists. Besides, it was again proven how enormous is the library of Final Fantasy music and how much still can be presented live.                                                         
There were CDs and posters (of Nobuo Uematsu and Arnie Roth) available to purchase in the lobby.
The only thing that has left me unfulfilled is that you had to buy a double-prized VIP ticket in order to greet and meat the stars. All in all it is not connected to the music which was truly magical, as if from a “New World”.

At the end, I would like to mention there is a huge possibility of a CD release (According to what Arnie Roth).
However, if you fancy poor quality recordings uploaded on youtube, here you go (although some tracks seem to be missing from that playlist).

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