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Final Fantasy IV OSV
Catalog Number: PSCN-5014 (first print N23D-001; reprint NTCP-5014)
Released On: November 26, 1994 (first print June 14, 1991; reprint October 1, 2004)
Composed By: Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged By: Nobuo Uematsu
Published By: NTT Publishing (first print Square Brand/NTT)
Recorded At: N/A
Format: 1 CD
Buy this CD from Play-Asia
Tracklist:

01 - The Prelude
02 - Red Wings
03 - Kingdom of Baron
04 - Theme of Love
05 - Prologue...
06 - Welcome to Our Town!
07 - Main Theme to Final Fantasy IV
08 - Fight 1
09 - Fanfare
10 - Hello! Big Chocobo!
11 - Chocobo-Chocobo
12 - Into the Darkness
13 - Fight 2
14 - Ring of Bomb
15 - Rydia
16 - Castle Damcyan
17 - Cry in Sorrow
18 - Melody of Lute
19 - Mt. Ordeals
20 - Fabul
21 - Run!
22 - Suspicion
23 - Golbez Clad in the Dark
24 - Hey, Cid!
25 - Mystic Mysidia
26 - Long Way to Go
27 - Palom & Porom
28 - The Dreadful Fight
29 - The Airship
30 - Troian Beauty
31 - Samba de Chocobo!
32 - Tower of Babel
33 - Somewhere in the World...
34 - Land of Dwarves
35 - Giotto, the Great King
36 - Dancing Calcobrena
37 - Tower of Zot
38 - Illusionary World
39 - The Big Whale
40 - Another Moon
41 - The Lunarians
42 - Within the Giant
43 - The Final Battle
44 - Epilogue
Total Time:
58'23"

When Nintendo released its Super Famicom, Squaresoft was very quick to jump on board with the new technology, and produce yet another installment of its popular Final Fantasy series. Right after Uematsu had scored Final Fantasy III, he was forced to compose another score. This time, however, he had to acquaint himself to working with new technology.

A very important thing to consider is that Uematsu's job did not change to the extent which some people may think. The composer's job is to write the music. The most important job in changing to a new synth set is the synthesizer programmer, who has to transcribe the written music into computer data--in this case, the SFC sound chip. However, Uematsu did have to learn how to utilize the new power of actual synthesized instruments, as well as the power of having more channels to work with.

The disc opens yet another time with the prelude. The tones of the FC versions have been transcribed onto a harp: the perfect instrument for the arpeggios that the track consists of, and the one previously used on the "Final Fantasy Symphonic Suite" album. However, in this version, Uematsu saw fit to use his new power to expand the track. The harp moves across the channels in an ever fluid rhythm. After going through the harp part once, it repeats, yet with an accompaniment: flute and strings add true beauty to the simple piece. It is the greatest crime against Uematsu's composition that this track fades partway through, leaving it unfinished.

Interestingly, Final Fantasy IV marks Uematsu's early experimentation with the use of thematic elements in his music. That is, he states a theme, such as "Main theme of F.F. IV," and then re-arranges it into several incarnations, "Cry in Sorrow" for one. He also creates two versions of Golbeza's theme (US version Golbez). This early experimentation, past simply re-using themes in the credits, is evolutionary for Uematsu's music, and yet inevitable.

Uematsu's compositions on the disc fall into the same general categories seen previously, but with his new powers of instruments and a much wider percussion set, their sound takes on much more life. However, the transition does not come without fault. Quite a few of the compositions are actually simpler melodically than his work for Final Fantasy III: the new town theme is ridiculously short, the main battle theme does not utilize the full advantages of the SFC percussion set, the hurry theme is just plain annoying.

On the other hand, there are compositions in all of the same categories that do work. "Rydia," which consists of a woodwind and harp, is beautiful, somewhat sad, and also hopeful: it revels in its simplicity, and benefits from it. "Castle Damcyan," which immediately follows, and "Imaginary World," are also simple compositionally, but nevertheless reflect Uematsu's melodic sensibility. "Melody of Lute" once again shows off Uematsu's capabilities to create musical art within a short and simple piece, as in III's "Lute of Noah." The varying volume levels work very well to create the almost strained sound of the piece.

The other battle themes express the frantic danger of a boss fight much better than the still image of that boss itself. "Fight 2"'s minor key sting/horn duet works very well on top of the standard bass line, and "The Dreadful Fight" utilizes the SFC percussion set much better: listen closely to the varying ways the pseudo kettle drum is used, almost in dialogue with the strings and horns. Annoyingly, this is another case where the track is faded before it ends. "The Final Battle" uses the main theme as its basis, and although it isn't as good as the other boss battles, it lays the basis for many of his superior battle themes yet to be composed.

"Epilogue" lasts eleven minutes. It is very good, but far from the best of Uematsu's ending themes. In fact, III's "The Everlasting World" was a better composition. However, by using recurring themes, the musical picture is completed even without its accompanying images. However, the track shows one of Uematsu's main faults. Often he finds he cannot 'scale back' the dramatic feel of a piece. Despite being great as an all-around composer, Uematsu finds his musical talents struggling very often when trying to create a 'dramatic ending' to a piece of music. This is also seen in Final Fantasy V's ending track.

I said previously that I liked Final Fantasy III's score better than IV's. I hold to that, but that is not to dismiss Uematsu's first Super Famicom effort in any way. One of the great things about Uematsu's music is that is nearly always enjoyable. I often abstain from use of the word 'filler' because of composers like Uematsu, who create out of so little. He was quickly forced to acclimate himself to writing music in a new way. He had to perform to expectations, he had to work quickly, and he had to ignore his critics. He also had to write music the way he wanted to. That is the way he writes music, and he performed all of those tasks admirably.

Reviewed by: Ben Schweitzer

The Final Fantasy IV OST contains all of the music in Final Fantasy IV, 44 Tracks in all. The music on this CD is exactly the same as the music in the video game. Each track contains one entire chorus from the song plus a few seconds of the next chorus. Final Fantasy IV OST features excellent songs including Samda de Chocobo and Inside the Giant, as well as traditional Final Fantasy songs like the Prelude, Prologue, and the Victory Fanfare. Final Fantasy IV OST is still available at Anime Nation and other import music stores.

Reviewed by: Musashi



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