Video games have come a long way since Pong, and so has their music. The electronic bleeps and blorps of ye olden days have evolved into composed musical scores that have their own fans and are performed by major symphony orchestras nationwide. Final Fantasy, one such game with a musical score that – as illustrated in this episode – draws on the classical music tradition, will soon be performed (again) by the Houston Symphony. Lesley Sabol, Director of Popular Programming at the Houston Symphony, and Joshua Zinn, content producer and host at Houston Public Media, talk about the relevance of video game programs for symphony orchestras and their audiences, and the evolution of video game music; plus, hear examples of Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu’s classical music knowledge and influences.
The Houston Symphony will perform Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy on July 23, 2016. To find out more, check out their website.
Audio production for this episode by Todd “Toddo” Hulslander with kansatsu by Dacia Clay.
Music in this episode:
- “Final Fantasy Prelude” and “Dancing Mad,” from Distant Worlds II: More Music from Final Fantasy)
- Bach Preludes (No. 1 and 3), performed by Tzvi Erez
- Bombing Mission and The Gold Saucer, from the original soundtrack for Final Fantasy VII, by Nobuo Uematsu
- “Chocobo” theme from Final Fantasy XII from the original soundtrack composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto
- Bach Trio Super, from Bach in the Back Bay, performed by Bálint Karosi
- The Place I’ll Return to Someday, from original soundtrack for Final Fantasy IX, by Nobuo Uematsu
- Fantasia by Girolamo Alessandro Frescobaldi, from YouTube video posted by Ernst Stolz
- Live opera music from Final Fantasy VI: Grand Finale performed by Milan Symphony Orchestra; aria performed by Svetla Krasteva
- “Casta Diva” performed by Maria Callas and the Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala, led by Tulio Serafin
- Sleeping Beauty Waltz performed by CSR Symphony Orchestra (now known as the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra)
- Duel from Eugene Onegin performed by the Orchestre de Paris with conductor Semyon Bychkov
- Bacchanale by Jacques Ibert, performed by L’Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux with conductor Yutaka Sado
- Orchestral version of “One-Winged Angel” from Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy
Note: In the opening of this episode, I promised to post a certain photo, but my dad is still searching for it! It’s coming soon to our social media. Pinky swear. – Dacia