Celeste Piano Collections

 

Album Title:
Celeste Piano Collections
Record Label: Materia Collective
Catalog No.: MCOL-0137
Release Date: January 25, 2019
Purchase:
Buy on Bandcamp

Overview

January 25th marked the first full year since Celeste’s debut – and a what year that must have been for the team behind the game. Garnering numerous nominations and accolades while fostering a devoted fan community, Celeste told a story of internal turmoil and self-trust that will likely resonate with its audience long after 2018.

Now, Celeste celebrates its one year anniversary with a piano collection honoring Lena Raine’s work on the original soundtrack. That score excelled both as a compliment to the in-game experience and as a standalone album; not just for the sweetness of its compositions, but also for its steadfast dedication to delivering a unified and heartfelt narrative. Stripped of its electro-acoustic hybrid qualities, does Celeste’s music retain that same emotional drive?

Body

Projects as minimal as piano collection tributes demand excellence not only from the piano arrangements themselves, but from the performer tasked with bringing them to life. Thankfully, Trevor Alan Gomes (who previously worked on piano tributes to Pokemon and Chrono Trigger) proves up to the task, substituting Celeste’s synth-instrumental sound with performances and arrangements that exude sensitivity and grace.

From the mesmerizing snowstorm textures of “First Steps” to the tender melancholy of “Quiet and Falling”, the musical moments that made Celeste’s original soundtrack so endearing retain their charm in piano form. Some of these compositions were practically begging to be heard in a piano collection, such as the classically inspired “Scattered and Lost”, the brooding “Little Goth”, and the cuddly closer “My Dearest Friends”. Yet this collection succeeds not just because of the strength of Lena Raine’s playful melodic writing, but also because of the care Gomes takes to emulate the original soundtrack’s atmosphere. Even the subtle echo effect in “Prologue” makes a quiet return, and the starry-eyed wonder of “Madeline and Theo” survives thanks to the clever contrast of legato and staccato articulations.

Some arrangements deviate from their sources in especially lavish ways. “Confronting Myself” can’t fall back on the rousing vocals and energized synth arps of its source, after all, but it nevertheless gets surprising mileage out of punchy octave stabs and low rumbling flourishes. “Reach for the Summit” packs some almost Hamauzu-esque chords that take its climactic tone to new heights. Meanwhile, “Exhale” packs the album’s secret weapon: violin accompaniment. While the strings come across a bit dry and nasal in the mix compared to the piano, graceful articulation, melodic embellishments and bold new chord progressions make the one-time instrumental exception worth breaking the album’s rules.

Summary

Even without its synthesized bells and whistles, Celeste’s score is an emotional treasure. Trevor Alan Gomes’ piano arrangements not only prove this, they even take subtle liberties with the material, expanding it in respectful yet interesting ways. Celeste Piano Collections reflects the attention and adoration that countless fans have poured into the game and soundtrack since their release one year back. Those fans could not have asked for a better tribute with which to celebrate Celeste’s anniversary.

Celeste Piano Collections Reilly Farrell

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

4.5


Posted on February 7, 2019 by Reilly Farrell. Last modified on February 7, 2019.

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About the Author

Reilly Farrell is one part Bay Area electronic composer and one part capybara fanatic. He loves video game music and rodents of unusual size and wants the world to know how great they both are. Personal favorite soundtracks include The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Legacy, The Legend of Dragoon, The Legend of Mana, and Katamari Damacy - which is also legendary. Drop a line anytime!



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