Thank you Shore Fire Media for sending us a digital copy of this symphony!
Nobuo Uematsu is a world renowned composer who is best known for his compositions for Final Fantasy I-IX. He has worked alongside others in arranging music for Final Fantasy X, XI, XII, and Chrono Trigger. In his band Earthbound Papas (and The Black Mages before that), he puts a heavy metal spin on his songs. For a more classical touch, the Distant Worlds CDs give an orchestral rendition of his Final Fantasy works. A majority of the songs don't stray from the game soundtracks, but there are a few medleys and a playful swing rendition of the chocobo theme.
Final Symphony combines endearing medleys from Final Fantasy VI, VII, and X and weaves them into an original symphony that spans an hour and thirty five minutes in length. There are eleven tracks ranging from three to eighteen minutes long. The digital album is available on iTunes for $9.99 , and only the seven tracks that are less than ten minutes in length can be purchased individually. Because it exceeds the physical CD length limit, the digital format is convenient. Tragically, a lossless FLAC option is not available at this point in time. I sincerely hope they offer it in a lossless format in the future, as the quality of the recording is quite high, and would really benefit from this.
Even in the inferior mp4 format, this symphony sounds very good. The London Symphony Orchestra provided the musical talent and the recording was done in the famous Abbey Road recording studio. The music was inspired by compositions from Nobuo Uematsu and Masashi Hamauzu and re-arranged by Jonne Valtonen and Roger Wanamo. The recording is done in a way that clearly works to the strengths of the classical format, and is fitting to an audiophile audience. The dynamic range is very good, even dramatically so at times. This is best listened to in a quiet setting, as the dynamics can sneak up on you if you are playing it too loudly to overcome background noises.
While the lossy, compressed transfer was very well done, I can't help but think how much better this could sound on high end audio equipment with a lossless transfer. This kind of music is also quite well suited to it. I recently purchased another great Final Fantasy inspired music set, called 'A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY', in 24-bit/96KHz FLAC, and it sounds absolutely incredible. I wish that this recording offered similar audio quality; this music deserves it.
Final Symphony starts off with a four minute long overture that then leads into Final Fantasy VI's beloved opera scene and features tidbits from "Terra's Theme" and the "Decisive Battle". Next comes the three part tribute plus an encore inspired by Final Fantasy X. Fans of that game will recognize melodies from the songs "Zanarkland" and "Suteki Da Ne". The last few tracks are dedicated to Final Fantasy VII and features fragments from "Cosmo Canyon", "Aerith's Theme", "Battle Music" and "One Winged Angel" in all of its glory.
Unlike other Final Fantasy inspired music, this is not one 'song' at a time, but rather movements that tell a story, and flows from one recognizable theme to the next. It's a very well done piece, and one that deserves attentive listening. This arrangement is excellent; they should be proud.
Fans of Final Fantasy VI, VII, and/or X should check out this compilation. Even classical music lovers who are not familiar with the video game source material can appreciate the talent of the composers and the London Symphony Orchestra. The price is reasonable and hopefully it will be available in physical or lossless formats soon.
<iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=chricentgame-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B00TYMD07K&asins=B00TYMD07K&linkId=5BHMVRYU7OA7LRKG&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true">