Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections
Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections
DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (2nd Edition)
December 3, 2003; May 10, 2004
Buy at CDJapan
Probably the most anticipated of all arranged albums has finally hit our CD players in the form of the Piano Collections to accompany the Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack. By now, we have become accustomed to the Piano Collections, with there being one for every game since Final Fantasy IV. However, one was never released for Final Fantasy VII until now. Six years on though, Square have finally produced the arranged album that we all wanted to see, and this review should cover the ins and outs of the album that is the Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections.
The first thing you hear when you play the CD is a nice arpeggiated chord scheme, which turns out to be the introduction to “Tifa’s Theme.” The piano really brings out the strength of the melody and expresses Tifa’s character much better than the original version of the theme. This is a perfect example of how a piano arrangement should sound, with it taking the original piece and making it better for our listening pleasure. On the whole, this is done very well throughout the CD. The “F.F.VII Main Theme” turns out to be everything you expect it to be. Simple, smooth, and with more mystery than ever surrounding it. When the third track appears though, things start to take a turn for the worse. “Cinco de Chocobo” seems to lose its original rhythm for this arrangement and adopts a more rigid one, which seems to ruin the theme. This is one aspect of the original that shouldn’t have been changed and it was. Apart from that though, the piece is a good arrangement.
Overall, the CD is a very emotional experience, but the slower pieces generally sound better when converted over to the piano. This isn’t to say that the battle music conversions are bad; they just aren’t really that good in some places. This is probably because the piano is a very emotional solo instrument and when you’re trying to arrange a piece that has no flowing melody onto it, the essence of the original version isn’t quite captured as well. This is most evident in “One Winged Angel,” where the piece just seems too simple. There are too many instruments for the piano to cover and this ends up with accompanying parts of the song being missed out. This is largely the same for the other battle music featured on the CD “Fighting” and “J-E-N-O-V-A,” but “Fighting” seems to come out better than the others, since it seems to have a more stable harmonic structure in the piece overall.
Some hidden gems are “Farm Boy,” “Ahead on our Way,” and “Descendant of Shinobi.” The arrangements of these were better than expected and I urge you to listen to them if you get the chance. They are slow tempo pieces, which keep the melody as the main focus. This makes them clear cut winners when converted over to piano and I thoroughly enjoy listening to them. I would also like to mention “Rufus’ Welcoming Ceremony” and “Gold Saucer.” They are both arranged in different styles, with “Rufus’ Welcoming Ceremony” being a straight conversion and “Gold Saucer” being a more deceptive arrangement.
“Aerith’s Theme” is probably one of the most talked about themes from any of the Final Fantasy games. It has a certain innocence to it that just draws people in and this is amplified greatly for this piano arrangement. The simplicity of the piece is where its beauty lies and if you see it for that, then it is nothing short of a masterpiece. The Original Soundtrack made it a hit and the piano only makes it better, which in my view makes it the best theme on the CD. The “F.F.VII Main Theme” does come in a close second though for the same reasons that I have just stated.
In conclusion, the arranged album is very good. Some of it may well be questionable and the exclusion of some of the more “obvious” choices for piano arrangement will be debated for a long time, but I think the CD is well worth the money. This CD should certainly adorn any fans collection. On a closing note, I would like to congratulate Shiro Hamaguchi and Seiji Honda for their excellent work in producing this CD and of course the great Nobuo Uematsu for composing the original work which this CD was produced from.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Jared Smith. Last modified on August 1, 2012.