Clannad & Tomoyo After Piano Arrange Album -Piano Forest-

Clannad & Tomoyo After Piano Arrange Album -Piano Forest- Album Title:
Clannad & Tomoyo After Piano Arrange Album -Piano Forest-
Record Label:
Key Sounds Label
Catalog No.:
KSLA-0021
Release Date:
December 29, 2005
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

Following solid sales of their piano album dedicated to Kanon and Air, Key organised a follow-up in 2005 dedicated to their two related latest titles. Like their predecessor, the Clannad & Tomoyo After Piano Arrange Album -Piano Forest- emphasises the memorable and emotional melodies of Key’s soundtracks with simple solo piano arrangements. This approach is exactly what Key nostalgics are looking for, but may sometimes tire casual listeners.

Body

While the highlights of the previous piano album were the deviations into other styles, notably jazz, this release adheres to a soft balladic sound throughout. Technically speaking, nothing really differentiates the opener “To the Same Heights” with the closer “Love Song”, both highlighting a longing melody above simple chords and arpeggios. The former eventually builds into a passionate improvisation, whereas the latter drifts away through repeating the ideas. But essentially, both tracks are very typical examples of game music arranged for piano and won’t appeal to those looking for musical creativity. However, they will be ideal for those looking to recount memories of Clannad and Tomoyo After.

That said, the album does offer some variety by incorporating a range of moods into the release. Unobtrusively guided by soft piano wanderings, Tomoyo After‘s “Dear Old Home” captures the bittersweet feelings of returning to one’s birthplace. Part of its strength is its subtle but affecting performance. The rendition of Clannad‘s opening theme song “Mag Mell” captures all the emotions of the original melodies with its warm verse and bold chorus; it’s climax is a welcome shift from the more introspective pieces and captures the vibrant lyricism of some of Key’s pieces. “Two Shadows” is also a motivating addition, with its deep bass notes and resolute chord progressions. Mizutsuki retains all the feeling of the original piece while transitioning to a solo instrument — no mean feat, despite his simple approach.

Many of the additions to the Tomoyo After section have a more melancholy sound than the Clannad additions. “Harmony with Sorrow”, for example, expresses sadness in a natural manner: opening with some wailing arpeggios, before transitioning into some slow melancholy murmurings. But at eight minutes, Mizutsuki more than makes his point and ends up labouring the component motifs. “Worth Living” is similarly depressing, thanks to the innately poignant shape of the melody and the simple exposed harmonisation. But while tracks like these and “Rivulet” provide an emotional core to the release, many will be frustrated that they continue to labour the most simple approaches to piano writing. An excursion into writing like the great romantics, or some jazz improvisations, would have made these tracks much more substantial highlights.

Summary

The simple approach to this piano album is both a strength and a weakness. On one hand, Key gave sentimentalists exactly what they were after with their melodic and emotional arrangements of their favourite themes. On the other hand, their approach is likely to leave other listeners wanting more musical creativity and substance. A little more diversity would have gone a long way on this release. Still, those looking for conservative arrangements should find a highlight here.

Clannad & Tomoyo After Piano Arrange Album -Piano Forest- Chris Greening

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

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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.


About the Author

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!



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