20020220 music from Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy, 20020220 music from. Передняя обложка. Click to zoom.
Final Fantasy, 20020220 music from
Передняя обложка
Covers release: ashmountains
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by Masashi Hamauzu / Shiro Hamaguchi
Published by Square Enix
Catalog number SQEX-10030~1
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 2 CD - 25 Tracks
Release date July 22, 2004
Duration 01:47:16
Genres
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Overview

Game music concerts have been abundant in recent times, but back when 20020220 - Music from Final Fantasy was announced, the only Final Fantasy concert prior to this was Final Fantasy Symphonic Suite, which occurred a whole thirteen years earlier. The concert could be described as the first in the long line of Final Fantasy concerts that were soon to follow and it was an excellent way to start a mini-revolution. With largely excellent full-orchestral arrangements, crafted elegantly by series' arranger Shiro Hamaguchi, and sometimes strong performances from the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, this well-attended Japan-only event was so popular that it even received a separate album release, to be reviewed here. It does, however, suffer from inconsistency in terms of the quality of performances and a funny trend becomes quickly evident.

Body

The recording of the concert begins with the sound of the orchestra tuning, an addition that sets the scene of the concert effectively, despite being one most would skip. The first performance, however, is "Liberi Fatali," essentially a live performance of Final Fantasy VIII's fully orchestrated and operatic opening theme with only minor adjustments to fit the context of a contest. Though made dramatic by the rich forces used and dynamic variety, the performance is less impressive than the pre-recorded version featured on the Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack. It lacks clarity from the orchestra and the choir suffers from significant intonation problems. It did, however, impress the fans and, as many people's definitive Final Fantasy opening theme, it was an appropriate way to introduce the concert.

The classic "Theme of Love" from Final Fantasy IV was the next arrangement to be heard, a significant improvement on the many previous arrangements of the theme. Though traditionally crafted, much like many of Hamaguchi's orchestrations, the way it manages to be passionate yet sensitive makes it a beautiful, albeit somewhat overstated, interpretation of Final Fantasy IV's subtle love story. After a short speech from Masakazu Morita (Tidus) and Mayuko Aoki (Yuna), several more classic themes are revisited in the "Final Fantasy I-III Medley," perhaps Hamaguchi's nod to the influential Final Fantasy Symphonic Suite. The progression witnessed in this 8:24 collection of themes is especially good, intensification being evident between the sweet harp tones of "The Prelude" that open and the grand bras-led finale "Rebel Army Theme." Its biggest highlights were the rich interpretation of "Matoya's Cave" and the sweet rendition of Final Fantasy III's "Elia, the Maiden of Water." The "Chocobo" theme was less convincing, though a fan pleaser nonetheless, while the "Final Fantasy I Main Theme" remained a classic, even if its arrangement was fairly plain.

One of the most eagerly anticipated performances would have been "Aerith's Theme," an emotional classic that somewhat disappoints here. This arrangement was first featured on the Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks album and, just like "Liberi Fatali," its initial performance was much superior. While most forces suffice and the strength of Hamaguchi's arrangement still comes across, it's all too easy to notice how the violins never seem to release the full emotional power that the piece's hopeful yet saddening melodic progressions could offer. More disappointing was the next theme, "Don't Be Afraid," which could have been a classic were it not for the unpolished performance provided. The first section is ridiculously fast and the tempo goes up and down like a yo-yo, indicating lack of rehearsal time and poor conducting, ultimately resulting in the steadiness that contributed to the intensity of Hamaguchi's Final Fantasy VIII Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec no longer being evident. The theme is simply unsettling for the wrong reasons, and its end — a few timpani beats that bare no relevance to the original key — really sums up the extent of its failure. Could all the performances be this degradatory?

Fortunately "Tina" demonstrates an emotive, well-paced, and acoustically balanced performance, showing not everything is bleak. Despite being shorter and less stylistically distinct than the Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale, Hamaguchi's interpretation of this theme is refined and concise, emphasising the quality of the main melody and featuring some really especially strong sections like 1:20 where violins play an inspirational accompaniment to a dazzling motif. It's with the subsequent arrangement, Final Fantasy V's "Dear Friends," that a startling trend becomes apparent: Hamaguchi's orchestrations of the themes he didn't arrange for past original scores, the Reunion Tracks, and Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec almost always have much superior performances and seem generally more suited for live performance. Scrapping Nobuo Uematsu's lengthy guitar introduction from Final Fantasy V Dear Friends' arrangement of the theme, Hamaguchi gets straight to the point by opening with the main melody on a solo oboe before moving into a touching wind passage with pizzicato strings accompaniment. The second half of the track sees the introduction of Kiyotsugu Amano as the acoustic guitarist, and the arrangement becomes even more special. It was no wonder that the subsequent US Final Fantasy concert tour was entitled after this piece.

The first batch of arrangements prior to the interval concludes with an orchestration of Final Fantasy IX's "Vamo' Alla Flamenco" in a suitably Spanish-influenced style. Perhaps Hamaguchi's greatest arrangement to date, its biggest asset is the superb exposition of the melodic line with the acoustic guitar from Amano, introduced in the previous track. Beyond this, it's filled with so many textural and harmonic contrasts that it nevers seems to lose its sense of direction and, despite continually retaining melodic emphasis, is always rich, dramatic, and captivating. And, don't forget, Final Fantasy IX never had an orchestral album. The trend continues here and the performance of the soloists, along with the orchestra as a whole, is just about faultless technically and really emphasises the arrangement's richness. Hope remains...

Following the interval, a contrast is provided by a series of piano tracks, performed by Final Fantasy X Piano Collections' highly proficient pianist Aki Kuroda. Masashi Hamauzu's "At Zanarkand" arrangement opens the second half, and, though the arrangement is identical to the Final Fantasy X Piano Collections version, as simplistic as ever, this does not undermine its beauty. While the theme's orchestration in later concerts was welcome, fans remember "At Zanarkand" as a piano theme and always will; this was largely about pleasing the fans, so change and variety could come later. The following theme, the luscious piano arrangement of "Yuna's Decision," is less well-known to the casual fan, but equally satisfying, the watery textures of Hamauzu's piano music being aptly reflected once more. The climax to these tracks, however, a mini-piano concerto interpretation of "Love Grows," is somewhat underwhelming, though not because of Kuroda's performance, rather the inability for the orchestra to interpret the music they were given with confidence. It feels meagre, lacking passion or power, and, though the emphasis on Kuroda is welcome, at times it feels like she is pulling the whole orchestra along. It's another example of the trend, given this came from Final Fantasy VIII Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec.

The theory is contradicted with "Suteki da ne (Isn't It Beautiful?), however, amusingly enough. After listening to the versions of the theme on Final Fantasy X: Suteki da ne - Rikki over and again, something about the concert performance was much more special. Rikki's voice was more subdued here and much warmer, allowing human expression to really pour out, while the orchestra provided a fine support. Another Final Fantasy diva, Emiko Shiratori, appears in the other pop ballad on the concert, "The Place I'll Return to Someday ~ Melodies of Life." Shiratori shows considerable competence as a live performer and the orchestra provide elegant accompaniment, though the introduction of the theme with "The Place I'll Return to Someday" doesn't really fit, and, despite Hamaguchi's orchestration improving its accessibility, the transition from the two themes is quite harsh. Saving "melodies of Life" till the end and including it directly alongside "Final Fantasy," just like in the Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack, would have been more welcome.

The conclusion to the album features the most disappointing arrangements of all, unfortunately. "One Winged Angel" sounds awkward and chaotic, partly because the arrangement used, from the Reunion Tracks, suffered from a lot of abruptness and poor transitions in the first place and considerably paled in comparison to Nobuo Uematsu's original theme; however, the problems with the choir's intonation and pathetic size only worsen the experience and the force as a whole are even more counterproductive to the quality of the piece than in "Liberi Fatali". Just how long did they have to rehearse for this concert? Excusing the two choral themes, "The Man with the Machine Gun" wins hands-down in the competition for worst performance. The main problem is in the first minute, where there are big problems with setting the pace. Although the orchestra starts off at the right tempo, the drum kit that is used in the background totally spoils any rhythmic impetus that the performers once created, requiring the orchestra to engage in an ever so painful accelerando followed by a gradual ritardando to catch up. Beyond this, it's a decent rendition of another Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec arrangement, though Hamaguchi would almost certainly like to turn time back here and have a second take. The finale, a performance of the grand ending theme "Final Fantasy," is not much of an arrangement, and more of a traditional encore — a 'thank you' and 'goodbye' to the audience and also a 'kudos' to Nobuo Uematsu, Shiro Hamaguchi, and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. It's touching and likely very powerful in the concert experience, though not something most would want to revisit.

Summary

A concert made exclusively for the fans, 20020220 - Music from Final Fantasy satisfied the audience and proved to be an enjoyable and enlightening experience as an album release. Being the first Final Fantasy concert beyond the extremely well done Final Fantasy Symphonic Suite, there were major technical problems here with sound quality and it is self-evident from listening to the recording that in many of the arrangements the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus were under-rehearsed; indeed, all the Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, and Final Fantasy X themes used, saved for the two pop themes and two solo piano themes, paled in comparison to pre-recorded takes, with performances sometimes being badly paced, unenergetic, or lacking cohesion and direction. It was evident that Hamaguchi was limited for time here and that the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra lacked his guidance while he was focusing on writing Final Fantasy IX and pre-Final Fantasy VII arrangements. That said, his focus on other themes did pay off to a certain extent; "Dear Friends," "Vamo' Alla Flamenco," Tina," "Theme of Love," and the "FFI-III Medley" are enough alone to make this album a satisfactory purpose and worth repeated listens. The more recent Distant Worlds CDs are a better quality experience overall and would be the recommended FF concert albums for casual fans. As a strong predecessor to superior concert tours like Tour de Japon, Dear Friends, and Distant Worlds, the major place of 20020220 in the history of live game music is undeniable.



Album
7/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Dave Valentine

Overview

Unfortunately for those of us in North America, video game concerts are scarce. That isn't the case in Japan however. On February 20, 2002 in Tokyo, a live concert was performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra at the Tokyo International Forum featuring the works of Nobuo Uematsu arranged by Shiro Hamaguchi. The CD that was released, 20020220 - Music from Final Fantasy, gave the rest of us a rare glimpse of what it must have been like to have been sitting there live. The tracks on the CD include the MCs which were the Japanese voice actors of Tidus (Masakazu Morita) and Yuna (Mayuko Aoki). Considering I can't speak Japanese, you're on your own for translations!

Body

I remember the first time I heard "Liberi Fatali and I was just stunned. The same could be said when I heard this full-blown orchestrated version of it. Although the experience of hearing it live is completely different, it nonetheless still sends chills down my spine when I hear it. Next on the list is "Theme of Love" which is one of the most prominent themes of Final Fantasy IV. The flute carries the melody beautifully in this version, creating that sense of longing, sadness, and love. A very soothing melody in any form, soft cello strings gives the piece a quality that was never felt before back in the SNES days.

After that, we have "Final Fantasy I-III Medley" which begins with the famous "Prelude" that started this whole adventure. Following that, you have your very first overworld theme which is one of the most catchy themes in the series. The arrangement was well done, giving that sense of adventure, hope, and anticipation of greater things to come. "Matoya's Cave" is another fun little tune, although this version is much slower and transitions into other dreamy themes. Of course Final Fantasy couldn't be complete without a robust version of the "Chocobo" theme. Even if you are not a fan of the theme, this bouncy, cheerful, and overall delightful rendition is hard not to enjoy especially with that triumphant finale. Moving on, "Aerith's Theme" is beautiful as always, as it has a classic touch. I don't think anyone ever gets tired of listening to it. There was nothing too special about the arrangement, but listening to an orchestrated version gives the theme a lot more depth and emotion. There's nothing like listening to the romantic sound of violin strings.

"Don't be Afraid" was done extremely well and it captured the original feel of urgency. If only the PlayStation at the time could have support music such as this. This may seem odd, but I am always curious to see when a triangle is actually used and the fast-paced intro answered my question. "Tina," also the overworld theme for Final Fantasy VI, carries with it a sense of hope and Hamaguchi's arrangement portrayed the sincerity of it well. The last part of the piece gradually climbs to a powerful and radiant finish. "Dear Friends" begins a little on the bland side, although it still very pleasant to listen to. It does have its charm which comes in later. The gentle plucking sound of the guitar adds a unique quality to the piece. Talking of guitar mastery, the subtle beginning of "Vamo' Alla Flamenco" leads you carefully into a more boisterous, vivacious flamenco full of Spanish flair. There are the ups and downs and Hamaguchi explores different emotions, speeds and style throughout this orchestration.

The second CD begins with "To Zanarkand," which is performed on the piano only and really lets you focus in on the simple melody. There is nothing to distract you from listening to every single note, each played carefully with skill and perfection. Although it is not a new arrangement or in any way fluffed up, its simplicity is more than enough. Another piano solo follows with "Yuna's Decision," which has a very different feel. The piece is very casual and relaxing, and would make great elevator music. The instrumental love themes from Final Fantasy VIII, "Love Grows," begins with the soft sound of the French horn. Once the pianist joins in, the piece takes on an uplifting transition. When paired with the horn, together they blend together wonderfully, creating a spring like love duet between two birds.

Rikki's folk singing voice is most likely not what you're used to. Her own style makes "Suteki da ne" that much more enjoyable. With an orchestra accompanying her, it adds a different feel to the song. Even though Rikki's voice is soft and quiet, the orchestra compliments her nicely while she is singing. The next piece beings with "The Place I Will Return to Someday" before leading into "Melodies of Life". Emiko Shiratori has a beautiful yet powerful voice which makes "Melodies of Life" a joy to listen to because you feel the inspiration behind it. Again the orchestration compliments her singing perfectly. Since she has a stronger voice, you can hear her clearly even though the musicians are playing their own part without having to tone it down.

Another piece to send chills down the spine, "One Winged Angel," has a strong opening and it almost feels like it's spiraling out of control but you know that it's all planned. Chaotic and wild, it definitely gives you the feeling that the series most celebrated villain Sephiroth is there. The vocals add an eerie touch. "The Man with the Machine Gun" translated better than I had expected considering that it definitely didn't seem like a track that would be played by an orchestra, but by computers and synthesizers. It did seem a bit sloppy, however it was definitely interesting to hear. It is probably not one of the strongest performances, but it is still a treat to hear.

You know that all good things must come to an end when the ending theme of "Final Fantasy" is played. That overwhelming sense of joy when you complete a game suddenly turns to a brief feeling of emptiness when you realize that the game is over. Commonly described as the 'ending credits' music, this is a lively finale that represents all the hard work that was put into the series, and, with it, the concert is brought to a close.

Summary

This was a fantastic album and definitely worth every penny. If you're a fan of Final Fantasy music, this is a must have. Even though recently Square Enix and Nobuo Uematsu have held several concerts in the US, these occurrences are rare, and the live recording has yet to be released. I think I would still rather have this version, as the audience does not overwhelm or interrupt the piece. Having attended three of the Dear Friends - Music from Final Fantasy concert tours, the amount of hootin' and hollerin' from the excitement must have made it difficult to get a good recording. 20020220 - Music from Final Fantasy comes very highly recommended.



Album
8/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Sophia Tong

Disc 1

01. Tuning

02. Liberi Fatali [FINAL FANTASY VIII]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi / Chorus: G.Y.A.

03. Theme of Love [FINAL FANTASY IV]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi

04. MC-1

05. FINAL FANTASY I ~ III Medley
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi

06. MC-2

07. Aerith's Theme [FINAL FANTASY VII]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi

08. Don't be Afraid [FINAL FANTASY VIII]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi

09. Tina's Theme [FINAL FANTASY VI]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi

10. MC-3

11. Dear Friends [FINAL FANTASY V]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi

12. Vamo' alla Flamenco [FINAL FANTASY IX]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi

Disc 2

01. MC-1

02. To Zanarkand [FINAL FANTASY X]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Masashi Hamauzu

03. Yuna's Determination [FINAL FANTASY X]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Masashi Hamauzu

04. MC-2

05. Love Grows [FINAL FANTASY VIII]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi

06. Suteki da ne [FINAL FANTASY X]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi / Vocal: RIKKI

07. MC-3

08. The Place I'll Return to Someday ~ Melodies of Life [FINAL FANTASY IX]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi / Vocal: Emiko Shiratori

09. MC-4

10. One Winged Angel [FINAL FANTASY VII]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi / Chorus: G.Y.A.

Encore

11. MC-5

12. The Man with the Machine Gun [FINAL FANTASY VIII]
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi

13. FINAL FANTASY
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu / Arrangement: Shirou Hamaguchi


A Final Fantasy concert was held on February 20th 2002 at the Tokyo International Forum. This album is a controlled recording of the concert, performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The MCs are Masakazu Morita (Tidus) and Mayuko Aoki (Yuna). Nobuo Uematsu and Shiro Hamaguchi join in on MC-5.

Additionally, the second disc has a CDFS track which features a bonus macromedia presentation. The presentation consists of a 4 minute video with comments on the concert by Nobuo Uematsu, RIKKI, Emiko Shiratori, Masakazu Morita and Mayuko Aoki, as well as snippets of the concert itself.
Album was composed by Nobuo Uematsu and was released on July 22, 2004. Soundtrack consists of tracks with duration over more than hour. Album was released by Square Enix.

CD 1

1
Tuning
01:08
2
Liberi Fatali
03:33
3
Theme of Love
05:03
4
MC-1
03:31
5
FINAL FANTASY I ~ III Medley
08:24
6
MC-2
03:42
7
Aerith's Theme
05:21
8
Don't be Afraid
03:41
9
Tina's Theme
04:47
10
MC-3
04:25
11
Dear Friends
04:38
12
Vamo' alla Flamenco
05:04

CD 2

1
MC-1
00:09
2
To Zanarkand
03:05
3
Yuna's Determination
03:09
4
MC-2
02:35
5
Love Grows
04:45
6
Suteki da ne
06:37
7
MC-3
03:50
8
The Place I'll Return to Someday ~ Melodies of Life
06:40
9
MC-4
06:28
10
One-Winged Angel
04:51
11
MC-5
04:20
12
The Man with the Machine Gun
03:54
13
FINAL FANTASY
03:36
30.04.12
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