Game Music

Go, Go Little Jack Orchestra! Final Fantasy VI Concert Impressions

September 13, 2009 | | 8 Comments Share thison Facebook Go, Go Little Jack Orchestra! Final Fantasy VI Concert Impressionson Twitter

[Editor’s note: We told you about this amateur orchestra performance taking place in Japan a few weeks ago.  I would have love to have gone myself, but fortunately Masanori Taniguchi was there, and he’s been kind enough to write some brief impressions of the event and talk about some of the unique things the orchestra did.  Sounds like a great show, and I was shocked to hear Uematsu was in attendence.  Enjoy!]

On August 23, 2009 at noon, people started gathering at the Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall in Japan. It was a very normal scene before a concert except that most of the attendees were carrying their Nintendo DS’s. Since Dragon Quest IX was released in Japan, fans including myself have enjoyed exchanging “treasure maps” with one another, and this is what most of us were doing before the show.

This was the Little Jack Orchestra’s 6th regular concert, featuring the music of Final Fantasy VI, and fans from all over Japan got together to enjoy the legendary music by Nobuo Uematsu. Tickets were completely sold out, as the Little Jack Orchestra only performs one regular concert per year, and it was obvious that all the players and staff had put an enormous amount of energy and time into this concert. It was 2 and a half hours long with two intermissions, and they played numerous tracks from the game.

Find out what was played and read some brief impressions of the show after the jump.

The afternoon’s set list was as follows:

01. Opening Theme
02. Tina
03. Battle Theme
04. Fanfare
05. Kids Run Through The City Corner
06. Cefca
07. Save Them
08. The Decisive Battle
09. The Fierce Battle

~intermission I~

10. The Wedding Waltz ~ Duel
11. Grand Finale?
12. The Mystic Forest
13. Rest in Peace
14. Epitaph
15. Searching for Friends

~intermission II~

16. Dancing Mad
17. Ending Theme
18. The Prelude

~encore~

19. Roaming Sheep (Final Fantasy III)
20. Waterside (Blue Dragon)
21. Golbeza Clad in the Dark, Battle With the Four Fiends (Final Fantasy IV)

The orchestra performed with passion, which is extremely important for this kind of music, but is sometimes forgotten when it comes to professional orchestras, and the performance was nicely done. The players themselves seemed to be big fans of the game, and they played from their heart so much that I could recall the scenes and feelings from Final Fantasy VI throughout their performance. The Concertmaster, who truly resembles Umaro, led the ensemble quite nicely, and I would like to give an extra nod to the principal bass player, who was extremely active– I had never seen such a passionate player.

The orchestra made use of some unique effects and ideas during the concert. For instance, hints of “Tina” could be heard throughout “Searching for Friends,” which was a nice touch given where the piece is played in the game. For those who don’t remember, after you get the Falcon, the airship of Setzer’s deceased friend, this song plays as you search the shattered world for your friends. Perhaps the arranger wanted to express the desire to find Tina in this chaotic world. The very unique laughter of Cefka was imitated with some strange noise from the solo bass and cello, and the sound of Ultros falling on to the stage during the opera scene was made by a trombone. Various ideas like these were utilized in the arrangements, but all of them made sense and worked towards keeping the original atmosphere alive.

At the end of the program, Mr. Uematsu was called onto the stage, which heated up the audience the most, followed by three pieces being performed as encores; two songs from Final Fantasy III and IV, respectively, and one song from Blue Dragon.

While there were some moments when the momentum was a bit lost (some mistakes, the stage manner of the MC and conductor, for example), the help of the composer himself made the concert a great success.

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