There’s enjoying “girl music”, and then there’s enjoying “little girl music”. Whatever man, these songs are great. Some are even composed by legends like James Horner and Patrick Doyle. I picked out these particular songs for two reasons: 1) they are great and 2) while I enjoy plenty of emasculating music from Disney, musical theater, and Final Fantasy, those songs are less stigmatized for some reason.
Another Diatribe About Final Fantasy music
Final Symphony is the working title of a full-length concert being produced by Thomas Boeker (Symphonic Legends, Symphonic Fantasies). The concert will consist entirely of three pieces, dedicated to Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy X, respectively. I have no doubt that this is going to be the most important thing to happen to Final Fantasy music since Squaresoft first hired Shiro Hamaguchi.
Historically, these concerts have been performed by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) Orchestra, which is legally required to broadcast its performances worldwide. When I learned that Final Symphony would instead be performed by the Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra, I was concerned that WDR’s absence from the project would preclude such a broadcast.
In the past, recordings of Boeker’s concerts have taken a year or more after the live premiere to become commercially available (excluding Symphonic Legends because Nintendo is famously stupid about leasing music rights). This means that the privileged few in attendance will get to experience the greatest video game music arrangement ever A FULL YEAR before everybody else. In the end, it will be exquisite, but until then I am subject to psychological torture of the highest degree.
So I went to the producer’s Facebook page (Spielmusikkonzerte) and voiced my concerns.
One user commented: “und wir sollen ein ganzes Jahr warten?!”
“And we’re supposed to wait an entire year?”
Beneath which I wrote, “Mehr warten wenn man lebt im Ausland und gibt es kein Livestreaming!”
“More waiting if you live abroad and there isn’t any Livestreaming!”
Note that my syntax is wrong. I said “wenn man lebt im Ausland” when it should have been “wenn man im Ausland lebt” (oops). My bad grammar no doubt gave them the excuse they needed to dismiss my concerns as the rantings of an incoherent madman.
On a side note, I think German people all speak fluent English so no one will have a reason to learn German, thus making it easier for them to keep their own secret language which they can then use to conspire against collectors of popular music arranged for orchestra. I once wrote an email to a German CD vendor regarding the absence of track labeling from the VSOP albums (Vienna Symphony Orchestra plays hits from the 1980’s) in their catalog: “Keine Spurnamen? Das ist unglaublich!” They wrote me back in perfect English saying that the VSOP albums had been out of stock for like 15 years. That’s proof of something.
Spielmusikkonzerte, I am still awaiting your reply. Final Symphony is going to be a great day in music and people all over the world deserve to know when and where they can hear it.
Imagine my excitement when I found out that there would be orchestral concert in my own backyard dedicated to a Final Fantasy game. Next, imagine my proverbial boner scattering in the wind when I found out it was going to be FFXI.
Final Fantasy ELEVEN? It’s like my dreams have been crushed by a game of telephone.
Why FF11?Well, for one, its music was composed by Kumi Tanioka, the first guy to take the reins after Nobuo Uematsu left the game. Unlike his predecessor, Tanioka does not have hoards of sycophantic fans conferring quasi-celebrity status upon him, and therefore I’d imagine he needs to exercise some skill and creative ambition to get satisfaction from his work. In contrast, while Tanioka is busy arranging his work into an entire concert for orchestra, Uematsu is probably ejaculating autographs onto fans’ faces at a recommissioned Tower Records in Omaha.
It saddens me to say this, Nobuo, but fame has gone to your head. The last time you had to work to impress anyone, I still had hope of becoming a man. Since then all you’ve done is goof off in your happy hat and post videos about it on Youtube.
And don’t even get me started on The Black Mages/Earthbound Papas/whatever they’re calling it now. The Black Mages are either (A) shit or (B) providing clever incidental music to their shows which are actually a metatheatrical Kabuki-inspired musical drama about midlife crisis and I just don’t get it. Hey Nobuo, remember when Mozart took a break from composing to play keyboard guitar in a Mozart cover band? No? Then pack up those drums you don’t know how to play and get back to work writing loveable chiptunes so that classically-trained musicians like Hamaguchi, Toyama, and Hamazu can continue to adapt them into concert-quality music.
PS. Fortunately nobody reads this, so I don’t have to worry about death threats from crazy Uematsu fans like that one lady who played second flute in the LA Philharmonic.
PPS. I am looking forward to one day hearing a recording of Thomas Boeker’s concert in Wuppetal. Knowing that is underway makes it hard to be angry about anything related to FF music.
The purpose of comedy is to take something bad and make it good. More specifically, it is to take the status quo and change it for the better. This is what I gather from literary theorist Herman Northrop Frye, one of the greatest influences on my philosophical views toward comedy. In his Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays, Frye refers to comedy as the “Mythos of Spring”, whose change in the status quo is represented by new ideas replacing old ideas, a new society replacing the old society, the younger generation replacing the older generation, spring replacing winter, fertility replacing infertility, consummation replacing sexual frustration, etc. In short, Frye presents comedy as a life-affirming statement of progression and renewal.
Describing the plot of classical comedies, Frye writes:
“At the beginning of the play the obstructing characters are in charge of the play’s society, and the audience recognizes that they are usurpers. At the end of the play the device in the plot that brings hero and heroine together causes a new society to crystallize around the hero, and the moment when this crystallization occurs is the point of resolution in the action, the comic discovery, anagnorisis or cognitio.”
Although this description is specific to the plot of a classical comedy, the basic mechanism of all comedy can gleaned from this passage. The hero/heroine hooking up is inessential; for our purposes, any example of the human spirit overcoming obstacles imposed by the status quo will do. Put into these terms, the function of comedy in an ancient Greek play is the same as it is in any good joke told today: preconceived ideas are foiled and met with upheaval by a device, resulting in an anagnorisis or moment of discovery in which the possibility of a new reality becomes realized.
If you represent change, you are a comedian. If you represent the status quo, you are an anti-comedian, a hack. Change is a struggle. Change is often met with resistance and frustration. Change is not an easy sell. People often prefer the easy route and would rather claim their stake in change that has already been accomplished, thus obviating any actual struggle. I would call this pandering to the liberal crowd. A more brutish version of this aversion to change can be seen pandering to the audience that wants to be congratulated on its ignorance, prejudice, and selfishness. This is demagoguery, lynch mob mentality, Carlos Mencia, etc. In both cases, however, the comedian fails to stand for change, either by openly assuming the audience’s views or more subtly conforming to the audience’s projections.
Frye writes, “the [comic] hero’s society is a Saturnalia, a reversal of social standards which recalls a golden age in the past.” I like to think of comedy that Saturnalia, a place where love overcomes hate, the weak overcome the strong, appeal overcomes the rule, the nerds overcome the jocks, and so on. If you believe in and remain true to these values without compromising them for someone else’s approval—if you resist the temptation to yield to the path of least resistance—if you do all this, then you succeed as a comedian, no matter who gets the most laughs. I don’t claim to embody this ideal, but I do try to bear it in mind. The purpose of comedy is not to be clever, to be witty, to be right, or to be funny. Those things are rewards that follow from serving comedy’s purpose.
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