Fall 2017

Small Ensemble

Grasslands Swing (In Memory of Mr. Iwata)
Kirby’s Adventure (1993)
Composed by Hirokazu Ando
Arranged by A.C. Menes

First you draw a circle. Then you dot the eyes. Add a great big smile. And presto, it’s Kirby! The intro to Kirby’s Adventure immediately sets the tone for the rest of the game, showing the titular character’s simple, yet adorable, design. The very first world the player encounters, Vegetable Valley, begins with this bubbly tune. This arrangement is super catchy and, unlike the original version’s quicker tempo, moves at a moderate, comfortable pace. The Kirby series is known for its pop-like melodies, and this tune will keep the audience bouncing up and down in their seats.

Asgore’s Theme
Undertale (2015)
Composed by Toby Fox
Arranged by Charlie Shiobara

Asgore is the king of the monsters in the underground. He fights you in the pacifist route (where the player doesn’t fight any of the monsters) not because he wants to, but because he feels he must. He’s lonely, and his wife doesn’t live with him. Also, in the genocide route (when the player fights and defeats all monsters), he doesn’t recognize the player’s character as a human. Instead, he asks what monster you are, as he doesn’t recognize you.

His theme reflects the desperation of the battle, starting off slow before taking off full speed when the fight kicks up. This arrangement uses a combination of woodwinds and violin, which are instruments commonly found within the soundtrack of the game.

Leliana’s Song
Dragon Age (2009)
Composed by Inon Zur
Arranged by Sophie Sauveterre

When “Leliana’s Song” is heard in Dragon Age, it is used to express feelings about the presence of death all around. A tragedy has just occurred, and the bard Leliana sings a song she heard at her mother’s funeral. It is sung in a fictional language, but the lyrics deal with acknowledgement of loss, remembrance, and hope.

Luigi’s Mansion
Luigi’s Mansion (2001)
Composed by Shinobu Tanaka and Kazumi Totaka
Arranged by Christopher Wallace

Nintendo took a risk releasing its newest console without their mustachioed mascot, Mario, in 2001. Instead, the world reservedly tiptoed into the story of Luigi’s Mansion. This game develops the often forgotten character of Luigi, and gives him a personality instead of just being a “green Mario.” The game begins with Luigi winning a mansion in contest. When he arrives, he finds out it was haunted, and Mario was captured by the ghosts! It’s up to Luigi to save his brother! Rather than leaping into the dangerous situation with reckless abandon as his brother would, Luigi is more cautious and witty. Luigi cautiously shuffles around the mansion, assessing each room, learning each ghost’s weaknesses and solving puzzles along the way. This spooky theme plays throughout many parts of the game.

The Boy’s Got Wings
Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (1991)
Composed by Mieko Ishikawa
Arranged by Jorge D. Fuentes

“Ys” (pronounced “Ease”) is a series of action RPG titles created by the company Nihon Falcom. They started mostly in Japanese computer systems in 1987, with the first title being “Ys 1: Ancient Ys Vanished,” and many games and remakes have come out since. The series is as long-standing as Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy, though its market has been quite niche. Like Fire Emblem, the artwork is heavily anime-based, and many titles did not have an English localization until later when the games became popular. The latest release is “Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana” for a number of modern consoles, as well as PC, as late as 2016.

Our piece is “The Boy’s Got Wings,” though it’s been translated as “The Boy With Wings,” “Winged Boy,” and “The Boy Who Had Wings,” among others. It is the main character’s theme, a red-haired, courageous, adventuring swordsman named Adol Christin. This particular piece is from the third game in the series, which was also remade more recently as “Ys: The Oath in Felghana.” The upbeat tempo and bright melody invoke a sense of adventure and going forth into the unknown with great courage, as Adol is known to do.

Beneath the Mask
Persona 5 (2017)
Composed by Shoji Meguro
Lyrics by Benjamin Franklin and Rike Schmalz
Arranged by Sean Kelley

Put on probation, disowned by his parents, and exiled to Tokyo for a crime he didn’t commit, we find our hero relaxing at a coffee shop after a long day of flirting with his teacher, and buying guns and over-the-table prescription painkillers… uh, I mean, nothing to see here! He’s definitely not one of those “Phantom Thieves” you’ve been hearing about on the news! Anyway, this downtempo, groovy jazz number from the soundtrack to the mega-hit, Persona 5, is the perfect way to unwind after being forced to wear a “mask” by society. Here at Café Leblanc, you can check your public “persona” at the door and be your true self. Now come in, pull up a seat, and have a cuppa joe.

Lower Norfair (a.k.a. Magmoor Caverns)
Original Version from Super Metroid (1994)
Also Appeared in: Metroid Prime (2002), Metroid: Samus Returns (2017), and NintendoLand (Metroid Blast, 2012)
Original version composed by Kenji Yamamoto
Arranged by Jorge D. Fuentes

This ominous droning chant originally appeared in the third Metroid game, “Super Metroid,” for the SNES, gracing our ears at the deepest regions of Planet Zebes. The hottest, deepest, darkest, most dangerous zone in the game is home to this theme. The Lower Norfair section of the planet also serves as Ridley’s Lair. Ridley is one of the major antagonists and most recurring foe to appear in Metroid games, aside from the Metroids themselves. Ridley serves as Samus’s constant threat throughout a number of the games, even though Ridley himself usually isn’t the chief antagonist.

Going back to the games, this theme is later used to represent any hot/volcanic zone, not just in planet Zebes, but also in Planet Tallon IV in “Metroid Prime,” and Planet SR-388 in “Metroid: Samus Returns,” as well as receiving an homage rendition in “Metroid Blast,” a mini-game in “NintendoLand” for the Wii U. If it’s a hot and dangerous zone, this theme will play.

Mother (1989)
Composed by Keiichi Suzuki and Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka
Arranged by Leann Erickson, Jorge D. Fuentes, and Matt Weber

“Pollyanna” is the first overworld theme of the quirky Nintendo RPG Mother. This iconic and catchy tune has since become the unofficial theme song for the Mother/Earthbound series, and can be heard in each installment of the trilogy. (You may also recognize the tune from various Super Smash Brothers installments.) The title of the song comes from Eleanor H. Porter’s 1913 novel of the same name. Pollyanna is a young orphan who is sent to live with her stern and curmudgeonly aunt; despite the tragedies she has already seen, she always looks on the bright side and gradually teaches her whole town to view life the same way.

The vocal version of “Pollyanna” was recorded for the official Mother soundtrack, released in 1989, and performed by Catherine Warwick. MGSO’s take features our choir in a four-part SATB arrangement that is sure to make your mood a bit brighter!


Full Orchestra

Red Wings
Final Fantasy IV (1991)
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by A.C. Menes

Cecil Harvey, the protagonist of Final Fantasy IV, commands an elite group of soldiers called the Red Wings. Along with their signature airship fleet, the Red Wings are tasked with stealing several magic crystals from rival regions. This powerful musical piece is full of sinister crescendos and a heavy emphasis on brass and strings in particular. The music closely follows the imperialistic nature of Cecil’s airship armada, painting a dark picture of war and betrayal.

Theme From Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001)
Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams
Arranged by Mike Godett

On a dark and rainy night, a man in a cloak walks across the pedestrian path of the George Washington Bridge. Thunder strikes as he lights up a cigarette, and as a ship passes under the bridge he disappears in a shroud, racing wraithlike as the cloak wafts in the wind. Special Forces Unit FOXHOUND operative Solid Snake dives off the bridge, secured only by a hasty rappelling cord, as Metal Gear Solid 2 unfolds.

NieR and Far: A Medley, mvmt 1: Emil/Karma
NieR (2010)
Composed by Keiichi Okabe
Arranged by Matt Weber

NieR is a strange, sad, and funny game. It’s clear that Emil holds something of a special in the heart of Taro. It is interesting, then, to note that Emil suffers greatly over the course of NieR. The leitmotif that accompanies the character, titled simply “Emil,” reflects this with its instrumentals and lyrics, which convey a sense of sadness and weariness, the toll of Emil’s long life being aurally conveyed. Like many songs on the NieR soundtrack, “Emil” has multiple versions, with modifications of the leitmotif that play at various point in the game’s story.

“Emil/Karma” plays when Emil performs an act of valiant sacrifice, the pain and hardship for centuries coming to a head in a desperate act to save his friends. The lyrics, sung in a “chaos language,” were created by the original singer from the NieR soundtrack, Emi Evans, and convey something of a sad optimism. Yes, Emil has endured pain, and the singing reflects that pain, but much like the character, the song moves forward and continues to face those hardships with a smile (somewhat permanently) on its face. Even in the face of an unsure and bleak future, no matter how hard or painful… he never gives up. He keeps fighting, because he believes he can overcome some day.

Kongcerto 64
Donkey Kong 64 (1999)
Composed by Grant Kirkhope
Arranged by Robert Garner

With this collection of classic Donkey Kong 64 tunes there are many varying styles, and a whole lot of monkey business. The piece begins softly, with a flute and string medley from DK Isle, before cranking up the spookiness for King K. Rool’s Isle. He is the main antagonist, after all, and the shift to a darker tone helps emphasize his evil deeds. Though the haunting nature continues into Creepy Castle, it soon takes a backseat when the jazzy sounds of Jungle Japes crank up the swing. With a strong emphasis on brass, saxophones, and percussion, this section is full of energy and even a few solos.

The last section of the piece starts with the calming, though somewhat ominous tune, Crystal Caves. Much like the level itself, there’s a sense of mystery looming here, and it’s leading to something grand. Just when you thought it was okay to sit back and relax, a sudden boss theme emerges! The tempo kicks it into overdrive, with the return of a prominent trumpet lead for the main melody. It all comes to a triumphant finale, bringing all instruments together for the game’s ending theme.

Kid Icarus Medley
Kid Icarus (1986)
Composed by Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka
Arranged by A.C. Menes

Skyworld has been plunged into chaos! The evil Goddess Medusa has launched a massive attack, kidnapped the benevolent Goddess Palutena, and turned many brave warriors into stone. It’s up to the angelic warrior Pit to save the day and rescue Palutena, ruler of Skyworld. But this will be no easy task for our young hero. The four themes heard in this medley each come from a stage in Kid Icarus. In order to rescue Palutena, Pit must climb out of the treacherous depths of the “Underworld,” navigate the harsh terrain of the “Overworld,” ascend the dizzying heights of “Skyworld,” and lead the attack on Medusa at the “Palace in the Sky.” To victory!

Shadow of the Colossus Medley
Shadow of the Colossus (2005)
Composed by Kow Otani
Lyrics by Diana Taylor
Arranged by Kira Levitzky

A prime example in the “video games as art” debate, Shadow of the Colossus has a breathtaking soundtrack to offer. Players are given the task of defeating several Colossi, enormous creatures lurking throughout the land. The world of the game is quite expansive, so the player must travel on horseback if they expect to reach the locations of the Colossi. Despite their foreboding appearance, these Colossi seem to have little desire to fight. It truly makes the player wonder if all this violence is really necessary.

This arrangement begins with a short, tranquil piano intro with accompanying vocal harmonies. To further create an immersive experience within the piece, the saxophone section provides key clicks to simulate horse-like galloping. The atmosphere is calm, yet there is a growing sense of uneasiness, almost as if a battle is steadily approaching . . .

Suddenly, a hulking Colossus appears! The strings signal an alarm—the tension is only beginning. A dramatic brass entrance adds even more suspense as the battle rages on. At last, the fight reaches its climax with one final, hopeful medley. A serene piano solo leads directly into the triumphant final song, which sees the return of the choir. Victory is within reach, and with it comes an explosive finale from all sections.

Clash on the Big Bridge
Final Fantasy V (1992)
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by Jorge D. Fuentes

Every role-playing game needs a signature comic relief character, and Final Fantasy V may just have the most memorable of the bunch. “Clash on the Big Bridge” plays during the climactic battle with Gilgamesh, which occurs six different times throughout the game! Perhaps the most iconic fight occurs on a long bridge, a motif that would follow Gilgamesh into several other Final Fantasy titles over the years. He may be a bit of a goofball, but his intimidating armor and spear combo surely makes him a formidable foe.

The musical accompaniment is quick and energetic, beginning with a sweeping guitar and trilled notes from the woodwinds. Brass provides some of the main melodies throughout the middle of the piece, concluding with a triumphant sense of victory on all fronts.

Ashley’s Theme (Super Smash Bros. Brawl Version)
WarioWare Series (song debuted in 2005) / Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008)
Composed by Masanobu Matsunaga, Yasuhisa Baba, and Masaru Tajima
Arranged by Jorge D. Fuentes
Featuring Christine Zoppi (Soprano soloist)

Ashley made her debut in WarioWare Touched! for the Nintendo DS. She’s a witch-in-training who makes critical mistakes when working with her potions. Her theme has a catchy, jazz-like feel, with silly lyrics to portray her personality. The WarioWare games are generally quite humorous and zany, and the upbeat nature of Ashley’s theme reflects this style. Christine Zoppi sings the main voice for Ashley’s character during the song, with the choir assisting with backup vocals.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
Composed by Jeremy Soule
Arranged by C. Apple, K. Noble, A. Ryan, D. Sparks

In the Skyrim lore, there is a hero known as the Dragonborn, a mortal being with the soul of a dragon. This song, the opening theme of the game, introduces a fantasy epic as sweeping as its score. Choral lyrics written entirely in the language of Dovah speak the Dragonborn’s legend, the latest capstone in the long-running Elder Scrolls series of fantasy first-person RPGs.