Sailing to the World Piano Score
Sailing to the World Piano Score
April 1, 2006
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After reviewing the original soundtrack for Sailing to the World, I figured it would be only fitting to also give my thoughts about the album’s counterpart. Sailing to the World Piano Score is a piano sheet music book arranged by Masashi Hamauzu accompanied by a CD featuring piano performance by Naoko Endo, which I’ll focus on here. I’ve waited a few weeks between these two albums in order to start fresh with the music. Since both albums have the same track listings, I wanted to avoid having direct comparisons of the tracks. For me, piano collections are always a joy to listen to, and can almost always give a different perspective on the original material, and so comparisons between the original and piano versions of a track, at least in the sense of ‘which of these two sounds better,’ seem uncalled for. With that, lets get into it!
“The Door” is quite literally the threshold into this album. As with any photo spread, you always want your strongest pieces at the start and at the end. Musical albums tend to do the same, and this piece is definitly quite strong. We’re given the light theme heard in the original track, in very soft upper octave tones, allowing for expressive movement further on in the piece. This melody is quite memorable in its simplicity, and the piano arrangement gives a hint of sadness, as well as ideas of acceptance in an unhappy situation, something that I find to be particularly moving in an piano piece; without the extra instrumentation, it’s all about emotion. A louder, almost distraught version of the melody is given later in the track, and compliments the first part of the piece quite nicely, before dropping off back into the misty and mysterious tone of the opening of the piece, to come to a strong, yet subtle finish.
Next, we come to the first vocal piece from the original album. While the original vocal was quite beautiful, the construction of “Sailing to the World” in the piano arrangement is quite exquisite. The transition from a vocal piece is extremely well done, and the melody is carefully brought out among the accompanying lower octaves. Most vocal-to-piano arrangements rely too heavily on lower octave chords and rolls to support the upper octave melody, but in this track we hear a balance which clearly defines the track as a possible original piano piece, rather than an obvious vocal adapted for piano. The second vocal piece we have is “Reincarnation.” The somewhat screechy vocals from the original track are, again, carefully adapted to the piano arrangement in a balanced yet strong fashion. Instead of an obvious adaptation, we get a piece which has no hint of it ever being a vocal piece. Most of the piece is quite light, with a few stronger volumes here and there, but overall it is quite pleasant to listen to. The ending of the piece is perhaps stronger than I would have liked it to be, but the slow and deliberate chords at the end are a great way to finish off the track.
I believe I paired these songs together in my first review, so I see no reason to avoid doing it again! “Melody of Aqua” and “Rhythm of Red” have both been completely transformed for this album. Both tracks feature expressive and moving melodic lines with tight, carefully chosen lower octave accompaniments. The most noticeable adaptation is the removal of the strong rhythm in “Rhythm of Red,” with a higher emphasis on the middle section of the theme. The rolling chords and quick note movements really help to bring out the chord changes of this piece and particularly create a beautiful melodic build. While originally, these two tracks were distinct opposites of each other, they now have a lot in common and they sound great together. Not as… individual as they sounded on the first album, but they still compliment each other perfectly.
You may have noticed that I did not mention “Path to Enlightenment,” “Confrontation,” or “Melody-Go-Round” in my last review. This was because I didn’t feel the tracks were strong enough to warrant being included among the other more substantial tracks on the album. This time around, I’m happy to say that they have found their place. Each of these tracks is very different in their own unique way. “Path to Enlightenment” still doesn’t sound very inspirational, as one might think from the track’s title, but the piano arrangement has a certain… atmosphere to it that I can’t quite place. I want to say it has the feeling of a mysterious, dimly lit child’s bedroom covered with white sheets and years of dust, but it’s hard for me to determine if that is the best way to describe it. The nice part about “Confrontation” is that a lot of the hard and strong chords have been removed in favor of light, somewhat deceitful note changes in a soft tone. Probably the best change is that “Melody-Go-Round” has lost that cuteness it originally had. While the track is still very happy, it has the sound of a sophisticated happy, rather than a carnival kind of happy. A large reason for this change I think is because of the instrumentation. This theme fits a solo piano rather than an ensemble of instruments.
“Point of No Return” was a very special track the first time around. It had a lot of stuff going on, but oddly enough came together into a cohesive mesh of sounds; something that I think would be difficult to expresses as a piano piece. Indeed, much of what made the original track so unique is gone. The length of the piece also reflects this, almost as if instead of trying to adapt the craziness of the original track, they removed the parts which would cause problems. In a way though, this entire album has been about clean cut adaptations of the original score; nothing jarring or out of place, so this may have been a wise decision. “Hope” is another disappointment. Since “Reincarnation” was the vocal version of this theme the first time around, when you hear two piano versions, they both sound the same. There is nothing in this track to distinguish it from “Reincarnation,” which is a shame.
This is a very solid piano score, and probably one of the better ones that I’ve heard. Many of the tracks remain fresh, and have enough variation to distinguish the tracks from the original versions. There were a few disappointments, but overall the album was fun to listen to, and the beauty of the original album was certainly captured. If you enjoy piano arrangements, you should definitely give this album a listen.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Andre Marentette. Last modified on January 17, 2016.