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Videogame Music Certainly Is Art

April 27, 2012

It is no secret that I am a huge The Legend of Zelda fan – having owned practically every incarnation of Zelda games possible (except you, Game Boy Color… I just couldn’t justify the cost) and am a sucker for Nintendo-themed memorabilia.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when I heard of a The Legend of Zelda symphony, I jumped at the chance to get tickets.

Unlike the previous exclusive Zelda-themed symphony that took place in 2011 in celebration of Zelda’s 25th anniversary, this symphony, titled “Symphony of the Goddesses” is touring and is making its way across North America.  According to the Zelda symphony website, this is the “first ever video game themed concert to feature a complete 4-movement symphony”.  Trust me folks, this is as amazing as it sounds.

I was fortunate enough to catch this show in Denver, CO at Boettcher Concert Hall on April 7, 2012.  Tickets were not cheap, ranging from $50-100 (including Ticketmaster fees), but I chalked this up as an early birthday present to myself and also figured… how often will something like this happen again?  The crowd was obviously full of videogame nerds, but ranged in age from 20-somethings to 60-somethings, illustrating that the show is not appealing just to those (like myself) who want to wax nostalgic.  Respecting the symphony atmosphere, people were dressed business casual, although there were some people in costume (of course).  I witnessed a couple different Zeldas and many, many Links.

The music covered a wide range of Zelda history, touching on A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword, among others.  Before the prelude and each movement, the conductor (Eímear Noone – who was VERY pregnant at the time of the show), discussed the back story and put each movement in context.  There were several screens suspended behind and around the orchestra (Boettcher Hall is round and allows people to sit behind the performers) – featuring footage from the associated games.  The effect was absolutely awe-inspiring and even tear-inducing.  I not so subtly was watching many people in the audience choke up and moved to tears.

Beyond Final Fantasy, I cannot think of a better videogame series that could be so beautifully converted to a symphony atmosphere.  The music itself (even from the 8-bit era) is already epic.  Adding layers of orchestral music as well as a live chorus made the world of Hyrule truly come alive.  If you, like me, are a Zelda fan, make plans to see this show.  You will not regret it.  If you aren’t a fan of Zelda (what’s wrong with you?), this show would at least convince you that videogame music can be as rich as any other genre.  The response to this show has been overwhelmingly positive.  My only complaint is that it did not last longer (about an hour in length).  Go see it!  You will not be disappointed!

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