Final Fantasy VIII Piano Collections
- "A worthy addition to a legendary series."
- "Beautiful composition shines through in a creative arrangement."
- Release date: 2000-01-21
- Catalog number: SSCX-10041
- Retail price: 2854 yen
- Publisher: DigiCube
A worthy addition to a legendary series.
Reader review by Robert Steen (2000-02-07)
So, we finally received another Final Fantasy Piano Collection. After the absence of an FF7 Piano Collection I thought that FF6 Piano Collections would be the last installment in the series. Fortunately this is not the case. Nobuo Uematsu has teamed up with Shiro Hamaguchi and Shinko Ogata and delivered a CD's worth of fine piano renditions of some of the music found in Final Fantasy VIII. I have to say that the team has managed to live up to the high expectations. Shinko Ogata seeems to be a very capable player and the arrangements, even though they stay quite close to the originals, breathe new life into the songs.
Even those songs that I didn't like in the OST sound superb. Take the first song "Blue Fields" for example. I didn't like the OST version at all, finding it boring and lacking in all aspects. However, the piano version (and the orchestrated on FF8 Fithos Lusec Vecos Winosec) is a totally different story. Somehow the piano is much more succesful in conveying the emotions and melody of the piece. The same goes for track 9, "Silence and Motion", the music from Esthar. The OST version was in my opinion one of the worst tracks on the whole OST, but the piano version is a totally different story. Maybe it's just because I'm fond of piano, but I really think that every song on this CD is great. I can't say that one track is better than the others since I have a new favorite each day.
The track selection is good, with some of the best tracks from the OST and some tracks that I didn't expect but that have come out very well. If I'm going to complain about anything, I think the selection is a bit too similar to FF8 Fithos Lusec Vecos Winosec. But on the other hand, the tracks they share are some of the best ones and it would have been a shame to miss any of their arrangements.
The previous Piano Collections are (among VGM lovers) considered classics, and in a few years this CD probably also will be considered a classic. Well-played and well-arranged. No sheet music is included (except for "Eyes on Me") but you can't have everything. Hurry up and buy it before you have to pay $200 for a used copy at eBay.
Beautiful composition shines through in a creative arrangement.
Reader review by John Isip (2002-04-04)
After examining the tracks included in this CD release, I was very excited to buy the album and the sheet music as soon as possible, with high expectations. Many favourites from the original sountrack are found in the ablum, including the pop ballad "Eyes On Me" originally sung by Faye Wong, the peaceful "Fisherman's Horizon," the innocent "Ami" and the "Ending Theme." When I did finally listen to the music, I was amazed at the beauty of the compositions. The pieces come alive through the arrangements of Shiro Hamaguchi. Although the compositions are very excellent, the performance of the pieces by Shinko Ogata are less thrilling, but convey the beauty of the pieces with simplicity and elegance.
The first piece you hear when you pop your CD in is the enchanting "Blue Fields," which is a very excellent arrangement. The original was unemotional and bland, but the piano adds the touch of magic that the original version lacked. This album takes other lackluster pieces from the original soundtrack and transforms them into masterpieces, showing the brilliance of Nobuo's compositions. Another example of this is the piece, "Silence and Motion," which on the original soundtrack, was a horrendous pieces with a beautiful melody. The piano version takes the grace of the melody and adds an interweaving of lovely harmonies which layer the piece with a simple beauty.
The pieces included in the album are all very emotional, taking the piano and developing many themes into variations. "Fisherman's Horizon" is an example of this. This was one of my favourite pieces in the original sountrack as it was very emotional and the themes in this piece are personal favourites of mine. I liked everything about this piece, but I especially liked the composition of the background harmonies. The piano arrangement is very dramatic, starting with the main theme and then the piano climaxes many times with the second theme. The piece then ends with the first theme repeated. Other dramatic pieces include the "Eyes On Me," "The Oath," "The Successor" and a personal favourite "Ami."
Apart from the dramatic playing on the album, there are two tracks, which add the "comic relief" for the album. These are "Shuffle or Boogie" and "Slide Show Part 2" both of which stay close to their original compositions in the sountrack. Never being a big fan of "Shuffle or Boogie," I liked the live piano performace which added more value to the composition. "Slide Show Part 2" is very excellent and played well, although I would have chosen another piece to close the album, perhaps "Ami" or "Fisherman's Horizon"
This album is very exceptional, as it contains the most beautiful piano arrangements of Final Fantasy music to date. Every more beautiful than the Final Fantasy IX collections and up to par with the recent Final Fantasy X piano collections. These three ablums are soon to become very hard to find, so I recommend that you try and grab a hold of these musical gems as soon as possible. I also recommend the sheet music, as I am a piano player, and these pieces offer a wide variety of performance pieces. They are also more difficult to play and more complex than the overly simle Final Fantasy IV and V albums. These compositions are some of my favourites and erupt emotions from the game and also from previous Final Fantasy games.
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