Spring 2018

Small Ensemble

Final Fantasy 1 Medley
Final Fantasy 1 (1987)
Composed by N. Uematsu
Arranged by Chris Erickson

The Final Fantasy series has been one of the most beloved names in video games for over twenty-five years. This arrangement is a charming trip through where it all began. Our Four (Woodwind) Warriors of Light begin their travels in the Overworld outside Cornelia, and make their way into the Chaos Shrine where the evil Garland has taken the princess captive. Suddenly an enemy appears and the battle is on! Will they defeat this perilous foe to save the day—and their game progress?

Journey (2012)
Composed by Austin Wintory
Arranged by Angela C. Zurlo

It's been suggested that Journey is a metaphor for life itself—you begin the game alone in a vast and seemingly empty desert, with one apparent goal: to reach that looming mountain beyond. And, perhaps, overcome it.

This arrangement may seem melancholic at first, beginning with one long, deep note in the violin. But other voices slowly join as the journey begins. The English horn offers a hint of melody to come, much like your mysterious cloaked protagonist spying the ruins of civilization in the distance. Voices emerge and fade, the confusion of solitude in this desert, until the most unassuming of them all bring them together: the harp.

Envision gliding over glittering dunes, your cloak fluttering behind you. A simple melodic line is passed between instruments, and there are moments of dissonance and contented harmony as the music ventures forth. Much like, as they say, life itself.

The Binding of Isaac & Sacrificial
The Binding of Isaac (2011)
Composed by Danny Baranowsky
Arranged by Christopher Wallace

"Isaac and his mother lived alone in a small house on a hill." A narrator innocuously reads as an animation of a child's drawings appears on screen. Isaac's mother believes she hears the voice of God, commanding she purify her son by taking away all his belongings and locking him in his room. Unsatisfied, God then demands she sacrifice her son! Mom grabs a knife and heads to Isaac's room! Isaac, watching from a crack in his door, scrambles around in terror, seeking an escape! He finds a trap door, throws it open, and leaps into the darkness of the basement, just narrowly escaping the grip of Mom!

The Binding of Isaac is a roguelike game, dripping with horror and Biblical themes, in which Isaac is guided through the abominations in Mom's basement. He fights enemies by crying on them, collects power-ups, and fights an internal moral struggle. Isaac is repeatedly given the choice to trade his life away for great power in a deal with the devil, or stay the straight-and-narrow and bolster his defense with angelic help to fight the ultimate boss: Mom!

This soundtrack captures the dark, sinister themes of the story, but also highlights a sad, scared, and lonely little boy in a dire situation. This arrangement utilizes instruments with dark timbres in the clarinet, bass clarinet, and lower registers of the marimba; the sad and sweet sounds of the violin and flute; and child-like plinks in the upper registers of the marimba.

Song of the Ancients
NieR (2010)
Composed by Keiichi Okabe
Lyrics by Emi Evans
Arranged by Becky Reid

"Song of the Ancients" is a recurring musical and narrative theme in this action RPG. Several characters are heard singing the prophetic song, and each iteration features different instrumentation on the soundtrack.

This arrangement incorporates two different versions of the song: "Devola," named after the character, and "Fate," which is a duet between Devola and her twin sister, Popola.

The Gerudo & The Rito
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998); The Wind Waker (2002)
Composed by Koji Kondo, Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, Toru Minegishi
Arranged by Jorge D. Fuentes

In their respective games, these tunes have borrowed many elements from Spanish and Latin culture. The Gerudo Valley music is originally done in Spanish guitar, and the Dragon Roost Island tune has many elements of Incan culture, what with its usage of high guitars and panflutes. This rendition combines them into a very groovy Latin beat sax ensemble.

My Road, My Journey
Dragon Quest II (1987)
Composed by Koichi Sugiyama
Arranged by Osamu Takahashi

After the defeat of Malroth, the god of destruction, the descendants of Erdrick return to their lives before Hargon threatened the world. Instead of a triumphant fanfare to mark their return, Koichi Sugiyama treats the player to a reflective piece of music.

As the credits begin to roll and the music starts, we remember the long journey finally complete. Our minds travel back to each town we've visited and each ally we've saved. As we finish reliving the adventure in our minds, the music builds and the feeling of accomplishment overtakes us.

Sugiyama's masterful composition heightens an early era RPG into more than a video game. It becomes an unforgettable adventure. Osamu Takahashi, who plays trumpet on the Symphonic Suite albums, arranges a beautiful brass quintet worthy of the Dragon Quest name.

The Color of the Summer Sky
Secret of Mana (1993)
Composed by Hiroki Kikuta
Arranged by Jorge D. Fuentes

This tune plays in the happy villages of the game. The game is very vibrant, with rolling hills of grassy green and pretty villages with hung laundry, waterwheels, and flower gardens. This tune reflects the happiness portrayed in the game.


Full Orchestra

Gourmet Race
Kirby Super Star (1996)
Composed by Jun Ishikawa
Arranged by A.C. Menes

Kirby games have always had some of the catchiest, and happiest music of any Nintendo franchise. With "Gourmet Race," Kirby isn't playing around anymore. The tempo rises to a blistering 170mph (or maybe it's bpm?), and never ceases to slow down. This is a race after all, and Kirby isn't alone. While the woodwinds provide a light, bubbly nature to the main medley, the far more aggressive brass takes over when Kirby's rival, King Dedede, catches up. As the two reach the finish line, the final moments bring all instruments together to cheer on everyone's favorite pink, puffball hero.

Some may also recognize this piece from the Super Smash Brothers series, as it was featured in the "Dreamland" stage from the original Nintendo 64 game, and re-arranged for Melee's "Fountain of Dreams."

The "Legend of Zelda" Suite
The Legend of Zelda (1986); Ocarina of Time (1998); Twilight Princess (2006)
Composed by Koji Kondo
Arranged by Jack Furlong

Link accepts a sword from a strange old hermit in a cave, and thus begins a 30-year adventure. This arrangement starts at the very beginning, with the title theme introduced on the trusty old NES. The trumpet and low brass declare the start of our adventure, and are soon joined by their companions—the rest of the orchestra—to venture into lands unknown.

But not all is at peace in Hyrule: The very earth rumbles as Link finds himself in a dungeon, darkness descending as he battles his way through. But our escape is not only a release from the erratic attacks of 8-bit monsters. When we emerge victorious into the world once more, we transcend time itself as the music leaps into Hyrule Field of both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.

Lament of the Highborne
World of Warcraft (2004)
Composed by Russell Brower
Arranged by A.C. Menes

World of Warcraft is probably the most familiar, if not the longest-running, MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games with many thousands logged in at the same time, and with more than a decade of constant use. "The Lament of the Sin'dorei" is sung in the Warcraft universe language of Darnassian. It describes the splintering of the game's High Elves into not only two warring factions, but an entire species of the undead.

The song itself is featured as part of several quests, mostly to establish the painful fall from grace of the elves in the game world. It makes an interesting departure from the usual World of Warcraft repertoire of killing boars while waiting in your PvP queue.

Terranigma (1995)
Composed by Masanori Hikichi and Takeshi Hama
Arranged by Jorge D. Fuentes

Terranigma is the third game in a series of titles created by ENIX and developed by QUINTET for the Super Nintendo, following SoulBlazer and Illusion of Gaia. Like its predecessors, Terranigma explores the duality of mankind and how there's always the balance of light and darkness, like the balance of good and evil.

Our arrangement takes us from the title screen of "Light and Darkness" to the Darkside Underworld Field, where our Dark side protagonist is from, as he sets off on a journey that will take him out of the Underworld and up to the world above. He sets off outside his town of Crysta and into the unknown, into "The Departure." This piece is a somber tune that showcases that darkness isn't necessarily evil. As the hero, "Ark," trudges on and solves a number or riddles and overcomes some challenges, he is able to awaken the planet and can eventually travel into the overworld. This allows him to go "Further into the Wide World," which is the title of the second piece in the medley. This is a more triumphant tune that shows the life of the planet Ark has to traverse, so it has more positive overtones.

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!

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!

One-Winged Angel
Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged by A.C. Menes

An unspoken role of every JRPG is that it must have an absurdly powerful, godlike main antagonist. In Final Fantasy 7, Sephiroth takes on this role, but not without warranting a bit of sympathy. Sephiroth learns that he was previously infused with the cells of an alien-like creature, Jenova, during a lab experiment. Upon reading (and likely writing several angry reviews) about his origins, he believes that he must continue Jenova's ancient task of taking control of the planet. And it's going to take more than a comically large sword to accomplish it.

"One-Winged Angel" serves as the final boss theme for Final Fantasy 7, when the player confronts Sephiroth in his most powerful form. In one of the most dramatic boss themes in gaming, this piece provides a constant supply of adrenaline-fueled strings, blaring trumpet blasts, and a sinister choir section sung entirely in Latin. As a foreboding atmosphere approaches, there are some moments of hope in between, thanks to a light flute solo and other, playful woodwind melodies. Don't be fooled though; the final section of this arrangement brings the terror back in full force.