Final Fantasy is a series that has always had a special place in my heart. Part of this is due to the memorable moments of gameplay that I’ve experienced throughout the years, but a big part of what has kept me coming back to the games is the excellent music. Nobuo Uematsu’s music in particular is some of the most memorable music in the franchise. When I first started getting into game music, his tunes were some of the first pieces that I attempted to learn at the piano. The creation of the Piano Collections albums and the later Piano Opera albums were something that I could enjoy both as a gamer and a pianist. After an almost two year hiatus, a brand new Piano Opera album has finally emerged.
Piano Opera: Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX is the third album in the Piano Opera series. Despite the name, there is no opera involved in these arrangements. The Piano Opera series focuses on arranging the music of the Final Fantasy games for solo piano. The previous two entries focused on the music from Final Fantasy I through VI. The first album featured music from Final Fantasy I, II, and III, while the second covered the music of Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI. For this third installment, Hiroyuki Nakayama returns as piano arranger and performer for the music of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX. The pieces for this collection where selected by Uematsu himself, choosing only four entries from each game. What pieces made the final cut and how did Nakayama approach arranging these pieces for piano? Read on to find out. (more…)