I never imagined twenty years ago that I would be able to work with the London Symphony Orchestra. It's just wonderful that there are so many people who like Final Fantasy music; and to have it arranged by such incredibly talented people, Final Symphony is like a dream come true!Nobuo Uematsu
Final Symphony is an officially licensed series of concerts featuring symphonic music from Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy X. The exclusive arrangements are penned by Masashi Hamauzu, Jonne Valtonen and Roger Wanamo.
In May 2013, Final Symphony was premiered by the Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra at the Historische Stadthalle in Wuppertal, Germany under the leadership of Eckehard Stier. In the same month, the UK premiere of Final Symphony took place with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in London, marking the orchestra’s first ever performance of music from video games.
Having been performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, additional Final Symphony concerts took place in 2014 with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra.
"FINAL FANTASY VI Symphonic Poem: Born with the Gift of Magic"
This symphonic poem was arranged and orchestrated by Roger Wanamo. Final Fantasy VI was the first Final Fantasy game he played and was swept away by the story, the characters and the music. He wished to retell his experience with this arrangement that focuses on the journey of Terra Branford, the heroine born with the gift of magic.
Over the course of the piece, I examine the different stages of Terra's life that have made her into the person she is. I also take a more in-depth look at Kefka and his psychopathic personality. Once the final battle is over, and the smoke over the battlefield has cleared, Terra has finally come to grips with her past and may live freely.Roger Wanamo
"FINAL FANTASY X Piano Concerto"
Masashi Hamauzu arranged this piano concerto. He is one of the original composers of the music for Final Fantasy X alongside Nobuo Uematsu and Junya Nakano. Hamauzu has explained he could give more priority to his feelings and sensitivity when composing for Final Fantasy X and that while he had the game's storyline in mind, he also got ideas from the real world.
Having worked for so long with the series, Hamauzu sees it more as a continuum than as a series of separate scenes and stories. His inspiration for the material in the Final Symphony concert was more a reflection of that bigger vision, and not so much connected to a certain story-arc or a set of characters. He saw this concert as an opportunity to fulfill his vision of the music as there were a few things he couldn't express well enough with the original music of Final Fantasy X.
"FINAL FANTASY VII Symphony in Three Movements"
- I. Nibelheim Incident
The first movement of the symphony is based on the villain of the game, Sephiroth. Jonne Valtonen, the arranger and orchestrator of this symphony, uses the 3-note motif of Sephiroth throughout the first movement as an element of structural integrity. In the final phase of the movement "The One-Winged Angel" emerges in all its glory, before gradually distorting as all of the earlier themes of the movement are gradually built on top of each other. This distortion is a reflection of the internal chaos Sephiroth is feeling, as he becomes aware of his past. In the end of the movement things slow down. As Sephiroth is reborn, the familiar pulse is heard “in almost spiritual context”, an apt description by Jonne Valtonen.
- II. Words Drowned by Fireworks
The second movement deals with the themes of love, loss and uncertainty. The hero Cloud is undecided in his feelings towards Aerith and Tifa. The movement begins with "Words Drowned by Fireworks", a scene in which Cloud goes on a date that ends abruptly. The music moves forward representing the themes of Tifa, Cloud and Aerith—the three themes that are always present, each one featured up front as a main theme at certain phase of the movement. The melodies and motifs from the other themes surface to the foreground whenever there is room available from the current main theme.
- III. The Planet's Crisis
'Countdown' is the beginning point of the third movement and it contains material that recurs throughout this movement as a unifying element. The great theme of this movement is that of good versus evil, Cloud versus Sephiroth. This final confrontation is reflected by the sounds of the metallic hits that echo the themes themselves. The themes of different characters are put into the mix as they engage in the battle. Silence emerges after the intense battle and from that silence the Lifestream begins to flow, and to grow. And grow it does indeed, as Jonne Valtonen explains: 'Actually, spectrally and orchestrally the chords in the end are as loud as physically possible. The sound is huge and overwhelming, much like the Lifestream itself.'
The music from the concert was released digitally as Final Symphony - Music From Final Fantasy VI, VII and X on 23rd February 2015, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Eckehard Stier, with Katharina Treutler on piano, and was recorded at Abbey Road Studios. A Blue-ray of the same was released on 16 September 2015.
A promotional vinyl was released on 23 April 2015. A three vinyl set was released on 20 December 2016.
Gallery of Personnel
- Final Symphony
- VGMdb - Final Symphony - music from Final Fantasy VI, VII and X
- VGMdb - Final Symphony - music from FINAL FANTASY VI, VII and X Japanese printing
- Final Symphony - Music From Final Fantasy VI, VII and X at iTunes
- Final Symphony - Music From Final Fantasy VI, VII and X at Spotify
- Album Video Trailer