Mario's New World: Symphonies
August 3, 2006 2:17 PM   Subscribe

The National Symphony Orchestra, celebrating its 75th anniversary, "will perform this Friday about two hours' worth of soundtracks from hit games -- your Marios, your Halos, your Sonic the Hedgehogs -- as game highlight clips play on Wolf Trap's large video screens" in Vienna, VA. "Play: A Video Game Symphony" is the latest offering in the "new mini-industry of video game music performance," competing with "Video Games Live" (previously discussed). "The two companies putting on these productions -- Jason Michael Paul Productions and Mystical Stone Entertainment -- pretty much hate each other and are engaging in a fair amount of trash talk as they fight for the same gigs....Each accuses the other of stealing a good idea and of confusing the market."
posted by ericb (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I saw Play! in Philadelphia. Half of the set is fantastic, and half is filler (Morrowind? Prey? What the hell?). I would say it's worth going to just for the Chrono Trigger/Cross medley though.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:26 PM on August 3, 2006

I'm sure its entertaining for its audience, but I would expect that won't be a single performance this year the musicians dislike more, with the possible exception of those that do Nutcracker gigs.
posted by gsteff at 2:45 PM on August 3, 2006

Although I freely admit that I loved the music to Final Fantasy III.
posted by gsteff at 2:51 PM on August 3, 2006

gsteff: you said it! In my day we thought playing John Williams movie themes was a grind. This would make E.T. seem like a Mahlerfest.
posted by QuietDesperation at 3:01 PM on August 3, 2006

Wasn't Play! in Philadelphia cancelled? Or was it Video Games Live? My wife got me tickets for my birthday, and we didn't find out it was canceled until we walked in the theater.

A bit disappointing....
posted by illovich at 3:13 PM on August 3, 2006

man, yeah. i can only imagine how embarrassing this must be for the musicians involved.
posted by jimmy at 4:07 PM on August 3, 2006

I'll try to lend some insight into the crazy amount of drama surrounding game music at both fan and professional levels. This is something that not many people are exposed to, because this is still a young industry.

The fan community tends to attract people with a combination of frothing insane videogame fandom and "your-favorite-artist-sucks" music fandom. These people tend to be .. vociferous, to put it nicely.

Competition between professional game composers is getting vicious, as more and more film-composer-ish guys try to break into games, since there are only so many big-name games to go around. There are cliques of A-list game composers who hate the other A-list cliques. I guess any industry with a bunch of specialists will have drama like this, but it's annoying to see it affect something you love.

A lot of composers see this sort of concert event as sort of self-congratulatory and self-promotional, involving mostly members of one of said cliques, and presenting their music as the state of the art, to the exclusion of everyone else. Personally, I couldn't care less because I'm glad game music is finally getting exposure in the US.

I've participated in plenty of fan drama, but now that I'm doing this for a living, I'm hoping to God that I can stay out of these dick-size wars, because I could learn a lot from most of the veterans out there.
posted by jake at 4:58 PM on August 3, 2006

Don't forget about the MVAs:

"Final Night Round 3" (Electronic Arts)
"Burnout Revenge" (Electronic Arts)
"NBA 2K6" (2K Games)
"Driver: Parallel Lines" (Atari)
"Mark Ecko's Getting Up" (Atari)

"Hitman: Blood Money" (Jesper Kyd)
"Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter" (Tom Salta)
"Dreamfall: The Longest Journey" (Even "Magnet" Johansen)
"Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" (Jeremy Soule)
"Electroplankton" (User Generated Soundtrack)

DoctorFedora: Your favorite videogame score sucks.
posted by NationalKato at 5:28 PM on August 3, 2006

Tell me about it. I was hoping for some PRE-FF7 Final Fantasy stuff, but the closest they got was a Swing remix of the Chocobo theme. Still nice, but really, I guess I could always just count Aeris' theme as being basically a "best of Final Fantasy" suite, as I kept expecting it to turn into various older pieces of music from the series. : P
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:31 PM on August 3, 2006

Yeah... I downloaded a boot of one of the concerts and was none too impressed with it. The performances of the good bits were only so-so, and as has been said, a large chunk of the programme was completely ill-chosen.

But then again, I'm one of those snobs who thinks a "best of video game music" concert should be entirely comprised of Square-Enix material. And maybe the Zelda fanfare.
posted by InnocentBystander at 4:02 PM on August 4, 2006

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