|Final Fantasy VI Piano Collections|
|Catalog Number: PSCN-5005 (reprint NTCP-1003)|
|Released On: June 25, 1994 (reprint July 5, 2001)|
|Composed By: Nobuo Uematsu|
|Arranged By: Shirou Sagisu|
|Published By: NTT Publishing|
|Recorded At: Unknown|
|Format: 1 CD|
01 - Tina
02 - Gau
03 - Cefca
04 - Spinach Rag
05 - Stragus
06 - The Mystic Forest
07 - Kids Run Through the City Corner
08 - Johnny C. Bad
09 - Mystery Train
10 - The Decisive Batle
11 - Coin Song
12 - Celes
13 - Waltz de Chocobo
It can be tough to admit to liking a type or genre of music that you are not normally fond of. I am a huge fan of classical music with great affection for video game and movie scores. As such, I prefer instruments over the human voice, large and powerful orchestras over smaller instrumentations and complicated melodies and harmonies beautifully woven together over simple chordal melody. This being said, I have never been a fan of piano music. I love the piano and have studied it for twelve years- but I have always preferred it to be a voice in the music rather than the soloist. There are very few pieces I can actually admit to liking that feature just a solo piano- that was until I got this amazing CD.
I haven't been fond of the other Final Fantasy piano remakes. Perhaps it is the subtle presence of Reiko Nomura as the performer that makes this particular collection so wonderfully vivid and remarkably likeable. "Tina" is the first piece on this CD- the melody of the heroine from this epic game. It is immediately captivating with haunting grace and musical beauty, perfect for the tragedy and triumph that this particular character experiences through the game. The melody starts as a single piano line against a left hand block chord ostinato then transitions into a flowing movement of arpeggios and a bolder re-statement of the melody. With exquisite detail, the piece reaches its bridge, its improvisation and its final re-statement with fluidity and consistency. There is very little I can say I disliked from this piece, the only thing that was a tad disorientating were the improvised decorations, but that is not uncommon in piano music and was done with style and class.
I can't say I really loved "Kefka" (or rather, "Cefca"). I may be biased, but the demonic and almost playful insanity of this character just wasn't captured by the ivory and ebony alone. "Gau" was always one of my favorite melodies of Final Fantasy lore, and though nothing will ever top the cello and flute of the original MIDI, the piano version surprised me with its vivid interpretation of the lost soul. "Spinach Rag" and "Johnny C. Bad" were typical fare for jazz pianists…I didn't care for them that much in the MIDI original, so I naturally prefer to skip the tracks after the few initial listen-throughs. Still, I give a lot of credit to the advanced arrangement and virtuoso performance.
The other pieces all follow suit with the same relative formula: A new introduction, a variation on the melody played with some subtle differences, generally a newly improvised melody before the bridge and ending with bold restatement. The left hand chords switch between consistent blocks or graceful arpeggiation. Despite the potential to be bored with the repetition, FF 6's theme are just too well done to let the formula get in the way. I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised to hear the absurdly named "The Coin Song"- when I came across the title, I couldn't for the life of me figure out to what track would it belong. I guessed it would be a tie between the Figaro theme and the theme of Setzer since it was that damnable coin that got him to join you in the first place- so imagine my surprise to here the melancholy tune of reminiscence.
Naturally, no Final Fantasy collection could be without the presence of "Celes" or "The Opera" or any of the other multitude of names this piece receives. It is a classic among gamers everywhere and this version delivers perfection- which once again surprised me as I had only been fond of hearing it arranged with an entire orchestra.
The only spoiling factor of this otherwise perfect collection is that it ends with that ridiculous chocobo theme. Sure I'm biased- I don't particularly care for the theme out of the scope of the game and hearing it on a solo piano again was just redundant.
With that one minute exception, there is very little to not love about this collection- it was once very difficult to obtain but is now pretty easy to get just about anywhere you buy game soundtracks.
Reviewed by: Daniel Space
This CD has the some of the most complex piano music in the FF Piano series, it even beats FFVIII Piano in "The Castle." Like FFIV-V Piano, this CD is rare as poo-doo in Antarctica (that's RARE). The ONLY place you can get this is on eBay...And it'll probably cost ya $350 depending on how crazy you bidders are in the last 10 seconds. Game Music Online had a stock of it once a LONG time ago for $55 and it sold out quick, so now most people are profitting on making that purchase.
If you're a big jazz fan or really great at playing jazz, check out "Spinach Rag" or "Johnny C. Bad"...Not being a jazz pianist myself, I have a real hard time with these. If you're more new age, tracks like "Tina" will fit right in with your repertoire (the arrangement almost sounds like the theme to "Young and the Restless"). Performer Reiko Nomura worked with this FF Piano and ONLY this FF Piano...amazing stuff, of course.
EDIT: The arranger of this album had been unknown, officially, for years. In 2015, Nobuo Uematsu revealed at a concert event that Shiro Sagisu, who also arranged the "Grand Finale" album, is the FFVI Piano Collections arranger.
This FF Piano does NOT have the end-game/credits music as an arrangement, ending with Celes and then a Chocobo track. However, most fans are pleased with the track selection overall. Enjoy it, if you can get your hands on it!
Note that there have now been a series of reprints run on the FF IV-VI Piano Collections. The information for them is above, and they come at a much cheaper price than the originals. The one problem is, of course, they don't come with the hardcover book filled with the sheet music. It's just a CD now. Ah well!
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann