Game Music

The Best of Blizzard: Echoes of War Arrange Album Tracklist and Interview

October 27, 2008 | | 12 Comments Share thison Facebook The Best of Blizzard: Echoes of War Arrange Album Tracklist and Interviewon Twitter

It’s a big day in the world of game music. The Eminence Symphony Orchestra has just announced that it has recorded an entire album of arranged music from the classic Blizzard catalogue. The album, titled Echoes of War: The Music of Blizzard Entertainment, will feature music from Warcraft III, World of Warcraft (including music from the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King), StarCraft, StarCraft II, Diablo II, Diablo III, and even StarCraft: Ghost.

We’ve been fortunate to get an interview with Eminence director Hiroaki Yura, who we spoke with a few months back, regarding the project. We learn about the exclusive arrangements that will be featured on the album, including an appearance by Kow Otani, as well as Eminence’s close collaboration with the original composers of the music and the possibility of a second Echoes of War album in the future. Pre-orders are available now, so I recommend heading over to the official Echoes of War website to get your hands on this… after you read our interview, that is.

Hit the jump for the complete track list and for the down low on what’s looking to be one of the biggest game music albums of the year.

OSV: So it was just announced that the Eminence Symphony Orchestra has recording an album titled Echoes of War, a fully orchestrated “best of” collection of Blizzard classics. How did such a high-profile project come to be?

Yura: I spoke to Russell Brower, the Director of Audio and Video at Blizzard Entertainment and asked if we could do this. He smiled at me and said “Yes”. That’s the short version of the story. The long version is that I went to California and met with Russell and asked. I mean, what else can I say? Eminence wanted to do this project. We want to make a huge impact on Blizzard’s gaming community to showcase the musical talents of Blizzard. We wanted this to happen, and fortunately for us, so did Russell. It was really simple!

OSV: What can we expect to hear on the album? I imagine we’ll hear music from World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and maybe even the upcoming StarCraft II, but are there any other surprises in store for fans?

Yura: Yes, there are a lot of surprises. We will be doing StarCraft II, and World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich King, even the theme from StarCraft: Ghost. There are other surprises, so I recommend checking the website for more information.

OSV: How closely are you working with the team at Blizzard on this project? Are you working with the individual composers for the titles, or mainly with Russell Brower over at Blizzard?

Yura: We have worked with Derek Duke and Glen Stafford from the music department. Our arrangers have been to Blizzard HQ to discuss and receive a tour of the games. Not only that, but I have had a meeting with Evelyn Fredericksen in regards to naming of the tracks. A lot of attention to detail has been given since we wanted to release what was definitely a Blizzard-quality product.

OSV: You’ve announced that Kow Otani has created an original composition loosely based on the Diablo universe. How did you come to work with Kow Otani, and what can you tell us about his contributions to Echoes of War?

Yura: I have known Mr Otani for quite some time now, beginning with when I enquired to meet the man who created the music for Shadow of the Collossus in Tokyo two years ago. He plays a major part in this project as his piece is the only orchestral music which is a free composition based on the main theme from Diablo. We have also included a bonus track from his ensemble unit “Ladybird Moai” which features the vocalist, “Aika”, which dedicates the song to the world of Diablo.

OSV: How many tracks are planned for the album? Are these going to be all-new arrangements, or will they be similar to the pieces that have been performed at other Blizzard events in the past?

Yura: These are all new arrangement, they have been all been redone to fit the context of this album. There will be 15 tracks.

OSV: I know fans have their own thoughts as to what should be included. Did you have any tracks in mind when this project was being proposed? How did you go about selecting tracks to be featured on the album?

Yura: I’m a Blizzard fan as well. I wanted a lot to be included, but unfortunately, we couldn’t include ALL of it. In regards to what we ended up using… please have a listen to find out for yourself! It’s everywhere and I hope it’ll be a pleasure to find out which tracks we used. For the tracks we missed, I’m sure there will be a second installment of Echoes of War if all goes well.

OSV: How many players are going to be featured on the album? Will the entire Eminence Symphony Orchestra be recorded?

Yura: The entire orchestra is featured, plus several solo musicians from Eminence Artists. Oh, and also a full choir. So around 80 musicians in all?

OSV: I admit I don’t know much regarding this stuff, so what do you consider to be a “full orchestra?”
Yura: At least a 12-spec strings, double woodwinds, triple brass and 3-5 percussionists. Harp and piano is optional. Oh yes, a conductor.

OSV: Who’s going to be handling the insane guitar work that’s found on the Tristram track from Diablo? I thought that thing was unplayable, but it seems like Blizzard figured it out at past shows. I know the guitar player at Eminence is good, but is he up to the challenge?

Yura: It’s not that insane. Well, at least not for Zane Banks (Eminence Artists) anyway. However, since this is primarily an orchestral arrangement album, please don’t expect him to play for the majority of the Diablo track.

OSV: The music from Warcraft II was actually some really great stuff, composed mostly by Glenn Stafford if I recall. Will any music from WC2 be making its way onto the album?

Yura: We worked specifically on tracks from Warcraft III, but I think Glens’s track from Warcraft III was from Warcraft II as well. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure, but I can tell you the Warcraft III track is one of my favourites on the whole album.

OSV: I am a huge fan of woodwind player Pedro Eustache’s work with Blizzard in the past. Any chance he’ll be making a visit to Sydney to be recorded for the album?

Yura: Unfortunately not. But I hope you can also become a fan of our fantastic wind players.

OSV: Can this album possibly mean that Eminence will be collaborating with Blizzard more in the future? You guys recently recorded portions of the score for Soul Calibur IV and you did amazing work on Opoona. Can we hope to see Eminence in more games moving forward?

Yura: Perhaps. We will see in the near future and wish us luck!

OSV: Is this a studio recording or a live recording of a performance in front of an audience? Will the performance be videotaped, and are there any plans to release a DVD alongside the CD?

Yura: This is a professional motion picture-style studio recording. I don’t think it does any justice to the music if we do a live performance recording, unless it’s a DVD concert recording. There will be a DVD with the package with all the behind the scenes footage.

OSV: Which Blizzard franchise is your favorite? Can I ask you the burning question: Horde or Alliance?

Yura: I’m a huge fan and have played every single game they have released since Diablo. Actually, I also played Rock ‘n’ Roll Racing. I love all the games, so I can’t really choose a favourite. They are all so cool to play, and I enjoy them all.

In World of Warcraft, I’m Alliance because I think the Horde are pansies. I think Alliance is slightly disadvantaged as we don’t have much PvP racials, but I like the challenge more than anything else. What’s more, I play a ret paladin. We’ll see who’s the king in the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King!

OSV: Having recently recorded the “Diablo III Overture” that is now available on iTunes, what can you tell us about the track here from Diablo III titled “Legacy of Terror?” Is this in fact the overture, or is it a new composition from Diablo III that we haven’t heard yet?

Yura: “Legacy of Terror” is a fully orchestrated and arranged version of the “Diablo III Overture.” There are several minor differences to the original music with a few twists in key modulation and melodic lines.

OSV: I’m sure you’ve been following recent Blizzard events given the development of this project, so to stir up even more controversy aside from the Alliance/Horde issue, what are your thoughts on the art style of Diablo III?

Yura: I think the art style is great. I don’t know what people are whining about. The developers who worked on Diablo and Diablo II are working on it, so why should we be unhappy about the direction they are taking? Blizzard has never let me down, so I don’t see any reason why they will in the future. I’ve seen first-hand how they work and I think it’s one of the best work environments I’ve ever seen.

OSV: I realize this project is your baby, but would you be able to pick out a track as your favorite? Did you pick out any tracks in particular that perhaps weren’t the most popular, but you felt deserved some recognition?

Yura: I can’t really say which track is my most favourite as it has been cratfed in such a way to make sure that they are all my favourite! However, to note, people may enjoy signature themes used in the tracks like Journey to Kalimdor (Warcraft III), Anar’alah Belore (World of Warcraft, based on “Lament of the Highborne”), The Betrayer and the Sun King (WoW: The Burning Crusade), The Eternal Conflict (Diablo) and all of the StarCraft pieces. How about you tell me which you enjoyed the most?

OSV: This is a huge project for Eminence. As the director of Eminence, what does this project mean to you? Do you think it will open a lot of doors to Eminence in the future?

Yura: As the Director of Eminence, I think this is the biggest step we’ve ever taken. I mean, I thought starting with Nobuo Uematsu at our very first concert was big. However, Blizzard’s album does not compare in magnitude. I’m sure it will open a lot of doors in the future. The recordings we have done are very good and will hopefully get a lot of people interested.


The Third War Symphony [music from Warcraft III]
1. Journey to Kalimdor
2. Eternity’s End
The Shadow of the Legion Symphony [music from World of Warcraft and The Burning Crusade]
3. A Tenuous Pact
4. Anar’alah Belore
5. The Betrayer and the Sun King
The Visions of the Lich King Overture [music from Wrath of the Lich King]
6. The Visions of the Lich King Overture
The Koprulu Symphony [music from StarCraft]
7. No Matter the Cost [Terran]
8. En Taro Adun [Protoss]
9. Eradicate and Evolve [Zerg]
10. Victorious But Not Unscarred [Starcraft: Ghost]
The Hyperion Overture [music from StarCraft II]
11. The Hyperion Overture
The Symphony of Sanctuary [music from Diablo II, Lord of Destruction, and Diablo III]
12. The Eternal Conflict [Diablo II]
13. Legacy of Terror [Diablo III]
14. Children of the Worldstone [Original Composition by Kow Otani]
15. BONUS: Last Angel [Original Composition by Ladybird Moai]

Arrangers: Natsumi Kameoka, Go Shiina, and William Motzing


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


« Next Post

Previous Post »

More like this Post