Play! A Video Game Symphony

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As I mentioned last week, we took the boys to see the Seattle Symphony perform a show called "PLAY! A Video Game Symphony". The symphony played songs from various video games.

The concert was enjoyable. There were three large screens suspended over the symphony showing scenes from the games. While the scenes weren't set to the music, it was helpful to see the games with the music and fun to see old school stuff like the original Zelda or Mario games.

They also showed close-ups of the musicians playing; since we were about three rows from the back of the auditorium in the highest balcony, it was especially nice see musicians doing their thing. I wish they did this in all symphony performances.

I admit I was a little surprised by the quality of the scores. While some of the songs like Super Mario Brothers were just fun and nostalgic, the newer scores were often beautiful. Since video games have become as huge financially as movies (bigger now, I think), I guess it makes sense that they can attract a similar caliber of composer for games as movies. They sometimes felt a bit formulaic (for example, almost every fighting game broke into a martial snare drum beat), but I'm this may have been just the samples they chose. As a Microsoft guy, I was pleased how good the medley from HALO was; in particular, the opening bars of the HALO theme are really distinctive.

One interesting note: two of the composers, Jeremy Soule and Martin O'Donnell, were in the audience - not something I've seen before since most classical music composers are, well, dead.

The boys were well-behaved through the concert, although by the end of the three hour performance, Michael (7) was getting sleepy and fidgety (I was too). Andrew (10) really loved it though. All in all, it was a good first symphony experience for them.

In case you're curious, here's the program:

Nobuo Uematsu Play! Opening Fanfare
Nobuo Uematsu/Square Enix FINAL FANTASY VII-Liberi Fatali
Koji Kondo/Nintendo Super Mario Bros
Takenobu Mitsuyoshi/Sega Shenmue
Joel Eriksson/Electronic Arts Battlefield 1942
Nobuo Uematsu/Square Enix FINAL FANTASY VII-Aerith's Theme
Masato Nakamura/Sega Sonic the Hedgehog
Tappy Iwase/Konami Metal Gear Solid
Yoko Shimomura&Kikaru Utada/Disney/Square Enix Kingdom of Hearts
Jeremy Soule/Bethasoft/UbiSoft THE ELDER SCROLLS IV: OBLIVION
Nobuo Uematsu/Square Enix FINAL FANTASY SERIES-Swing de Chocobo
Yasunori Mitsuda/Square Enix Chrono Trigger/Chrono Cross
Jason Hayes/Blizzard World of Warcraft
Akira Yamaoka/Konami Silent Hill 2
Martin O'Donnell/Microsoft HALO
Koji Kondo/Nintendo The Legend of Zelda
Nobuo Uematsu/Square Enix FINAL FANTASY VII-One Winged Angel

They also played a special additional score by Jeremy Soule, although I missed the title.

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1 Comment

Leslie Evans Reply

Sounds like a really cool night ... except for the 3 hours part. I don't like to do much of ANYTHING for 3 hours! Except, maybe, sleep.

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