The New World Players perform music arranged from the 30 year history of Final Fantasy. These eleven musicians, and one conductor in Arnie Roth, toured through Australia before their international tour continues overseas. This post is a short review of the Brisbane performance, and a list of some of the Final Fantasy pieces the ensemble performed.
Their sound allowed the audience a chance to hear the music of Final Fantasy in a new way, which I guess is where the title “New Worlds” stems from.
Alternatively, several of these pieces were new, and performed for the first time in Australia, or performed for the first time worldwide.
Some of the leading pieces, those I thought defined the event, that the ensemble performed that night were:
1. Two Final Fantasy traditions – The Victory Fanfare and the Chocobo Medley
An exacting string section, precise percussion, and energetic brass and woodwind performers worked together flawlessly alongside a solo guitarist (and ukulele expert!) to strike up a brilliant version of these well know themes. The victory fanfare marks the end of each battle in the Final Fantasy games. Hearing it live gives an insight into the technical work behind even the simple or smaller musical scores. Chocobo’s, for example, are brought to life with a simple but playful melody, which the Ukulele expert played with chill precision, and a bit of swagger.
2. The Gold Saucer piano arrangement
Benyamin Nuss’ solo piano performance invigorated and expounded the sounds and themes of Final Fantasy. In particular, Nuss premiered a piano arrangement of the Gold Saucer theme from Final Fantasy Seven, and it was a fun surprise. Nuss other performance from Final Fantasy Seven stunned the audience.
3.The Those Who Fight piano arrangement
This and high energy battle theme performed close to the end of the second act turned the piano keys from fiery to incandescent. Nuss’ high-speed performance earned lengthy applause from the audience.
5. Temple of Chaos theme
Audience members can find a closer glimpse into the technical construction of each piece. Delving into history, an arrangement of the Chaos Shrine from the first Final Fantasy game displayed the technical brilliance of the New World Players, and the attention to detail that series composer Nobuo Uematsu, and Tsuyoshi Sekito.
6. Ivalice Landscapes
An arrangement of separate pieces from Final Fantasy Twelve marked the end of the first act. It wove a journey through the vast and complex world of Ivalice, from the Estersands, through the Salika wood, to the booming waves of the Phon Coast, into the gloom of the Feywood, and away through the mists of Nabudis. This was definitely an exotic and moving piece.
7. Safe Haven (Camp Theme)
From the first game, all the way to the most recent game in the series, the performance include a piece from Final Fantasy Fifteen, which is impressive, considering the game was released only recently in November, 2016. A relaxed arrangement of Tetsuya Shibata’s music, which contrasted with the more active and emotional sounds in the performance such as To Zanarkand, and the popular One Winged Angel.
Overall, the sound quality was polished, capturing the atmosphere of adventure, whimsy, and magic embodied in the music of Final Fantasy. For more information on the Final Fantasy New Worlds tour, the ensemble website has more information.