As a matter of confession, I'm not tremendously hot on classical music. Don't get me wrong, many a night of my youth were spent playing Command and Conquer, with Wagner blaring out of my computer speakers while I cried "I shall lay waste to your petty 'armies;' your men shall be slaughtered like so many ants, and all shall burn in the fire of my wrath" like some teenage Nero. While I appreciate the elements - some of my favorite artists, such as JG Thirwell's "Foetus" project have borrowed heavily from classical - and composers have a talent seldom matched in other genres, it simply isn't my cup of tea. However, I do enjoy video game music with unmatched fervor, and when orchestrated, these sumptuous, sonic morsels become a veritable feast for the ears. Eminence Symphony Orchestra has done this quite well, and CDs such as Distant Worlds (which I have locked in a safe, so as to protect it from thieves/wolves) have helped listeners to appreciate video game music not as simply background jingles, but proper, and often times elaborate compositions.
In the spirit of this, a recently released album,"The Greatest Video Game Music" as performed by the London Philharmonic, was recently brought to my attention. It contains some of the classics we've all heard orchestrated ad infinitum: Zelda and Final Fantasy (both the main theme and Liberti Fatali, which as a side note is always epic) and Tetris all make appearances, but it wouldn't be worth mentioning if the album amounted to "The London Philharmonic Plays All the Songs You'd Rather Not Hear for the Umteenth Time." The real treat, and why fans of video game music should consider looking into this twenty-two track beauty, is the variety of less-abused tracks. BioShock, Fallout 3, Uncharted, Grand Theft Auto IV, Dead Space and others make their way onto the album, all of which have production value befitting what I'm sure no one in the UK calls "The Queen's Orchestra."
More lovely is the price tag, which stands at a very reasonable $5.99 for an mp3 version the whole album on Amazon - those who wish to purchase individual tracks will pay 89 cents per. So for those who don't quite have the money, gentlefolkly attire, or social skills needed to head down to hear the local orchestra, check out "The Greatest Video Game Music." Should any of your self-proclaimed "cultured" friends give you guff about it, just roll your eyes, take a puff of your cigarette, and say in a rather dismissive tone, "Tchaikovsky's so mainstream. Everything after his demo EP is just a bunch of over-hyped, corporate-produced trash. Sellout."
Image via Amazon