Spring 2017

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.

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.

Sam and Max: Hit the Road Medley
Sam & Max Hit The Road (1993)
Composed By C. Bajakian, M. Land, P. McConnell
Arranged by A.C. Menes

After a busy morning spent at a mildly volatile hostage situation, Sam and Max (Freelance Police) find themselves with yet another baffling assignment. It turns out a bigfoot and a giraffe-necked lady have gone missing from a carnival sideshow. It's up to our heroes to go traipsing all over the country in search of Bruno the Bigfoot and Trixie the Giraffe-Necked Woman from Scranton. But along the way, they keep running into Conroy Bumpus, a crazed country singer who hunts all sorts of creatures for sport. They also meet Doug the Moleman and find themselves at a bigfoot party. All in a day's work for the Freelance Police!

Lively People
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney 5: Duel Destinies (2013)
Composed by Noriyuki Iwadere
Arranged by A.C. Menes

Objection! The title character of the Ace Attorney series, Phoenix Wright, is truly a man of justice and will stop at nothing to ensure he can win any case. Though one may expect a courtroom drama to be tense and dramatic, this musical piece is about as lighthearted and silly as can be. The main melody repeats throughout the song, with emphasis on woodwinds and violin. The bubbly nature may even remind some listeners of a modern day pop song. The Ace Attorney series is known for its colorful characters and wacky anime humor, which contradicts the serious nature that some of the cases may have.

Castlevania Orchestra Medley
Castlevania Series (1986-2014)
Composed by Kinuyo Yamashita ("Introduction," "Vampire Killer," "Poison Mind"), Michiru Yamane ("Dracula's Castle"), Konami Kukeiha Club ("Aquarius"), Kenichi Matsubara ("Bloody Tears"), Tomoko Sano ("Dance of Illusions")
Arranged by Jorge D. Fuentes

Step into the shadows of the Hell House, for tonight is a horrible night to have a curse. You and your Bloodline are destined to battle the forces of Darkness, conjured and led by Count Dracula, throughout history. Welcome to "Castlevania."

Journey to the Castle Gate as the "Introduction" plays. The rusty gate opens to the Entrance Hall during the pulsing "Vampire Killer," the iconic tune of the Belmont bloodline. Persevere through corridors and eventually the anti-hero, Dracula's own disowned son—Alucard—will join you as an ally through "Dracula's Castle." Together throughout history, you and your descendants will trek through the castle, reaching sunken temples and underground galleries as fast-paced "Aquarius" plays, encouraging you to continue onward. Rising past the underground depths, you will reach the demonic chapel and the clock tower as "Bloody Tears" drip from statues of apostates and false idols. Climb past to reach a major enemy as their slow death dirge, "Poison Mind," makes your blood run cold. Upon their defeat, the door to the Castle Keep opens for the final confrontation, and you battle Dracula in a macabre "Dance of Illusions." The eternal battle between Good and Evil has come full circle once more . . .

. . . and no man can say who will emerge victorious.

Animal Crossing Sea Shanty
Animal Crossing: New Leaf (2013)
Composed by M. Kataoka, A. Asahi
Arranged and Lyrics by A.C. Menes
Featuring William Joseph Rouse (Baritone soloist)

Close your eyes, breathe in the ocean air, and set sail for adventure! In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you play as Mayor of your very own dream town. Being Mayor is actually a lot easier than you think. In fact, you can go on vacation every day if you wanted to.

When you go on vacation, you sail to an island while the boat's captain, a turtle-duck-kappa thing named "Kapp'n," sings you a little sea shanty. You could skip the scene, but why would you want to?

The version heard in the game features Kapp'n simply singing silly lyrics while being accompanied by a single ukulele. This version has been adapted for a baritone soloist, SATB choir, and, of course, a full orchestra!

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.

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.

Ballad of the Goddess
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011)
Composed by Koji Kondo, Hajime Wakai, Shiho Fujii, Mahito Yokota, & Takeshi Hama
Arranged By Jason Troiano

“This is a tale that you humans have passed down through uncounted generations . . . it tells the war of unmatched ferocity, the likes of which would never be seen again.”

So begins the backstory of Skyward Sword, the earliest game in the Zelda timeline thus far. Evil forces in the distant past forced the goddess Hylia to move all humans to live in the sky. This rendition of "Ballad of the Goddess" is part of a larger Skyward Sword symphony, a spirited full-orchestra finale. If you listen closely, you'll notice the tune as "Zelda's Lullaby" in reverse.