The ReMixer writes:
"This is a piano arrangement of the Jenova battle music, done in a late romantic classical style (with some impressionist overtones). This was transcribed not from the original game music, but from Uematsu's Black Mages album... This was recorded in the Oberlin music conservatory TIMARA studios. Unfortunately, it's just a Yamaha grand, which I hate recording, but it's what I have to work with. I used 4 mikes: two Shure SM81s in a spaced pair, and two Audio Technica 4033s in a close miking arrangement over treble holes and bass strings. It was mixed down on a Pro Tools TDM system using the Waves: Renaissance plugin set for EQ, Compression, and digital Reverb."
At first we were a bit concerned as this was transcribed from a version of the original that was already arranged to begin with, but Noir aka Eric Barker has done things right, providing a solo piano arrangement that is uniquely his own and, as mentioned above, clearly has roots in Romanticism and Impressionism (especially with the good deal of rather flamboyant but difficult runs) - as the stark title suggests. Nothing is stark about the arrangement itself, which oscillates between technical ruminations and more emotional, dramatic eruptions of forte ascensions and descensions. Mr. Baranowsky, as the mix's stongest advocate, wrote:
"I am humbled by the choice to remain tastefully concise and compact in the scope of the arrangement (a restraint I many times beg the good Lordy I had), while still creating a truly epic conclusion. This one accomplishes its goal through attention to technique and refined musicianship, a pairing of qualifications that is too often eclipsed by mastery of programming, overproduction and beatboxing."
Others were impressed as well, and while the merits of the arrangement should become clear almost immediately as you listen, the ending in particular takes a very creative direction and effects the type of conclusion Dan refers to above. The fact that we've had a lot of great solo piano arrangements in recent months should not in any way lessen the percieved difficulty of creating them; it's not an easy form, but Noir's latest makes excellent use of it.
on 2015-12-05 08:11:22
I love a great live mix, and solo piano is one of my favorite genres. It does seem to drag a bit, especially around the 5:00 area/vicinity, but it does get more exciting towards the end. You say you hate recording on a Yamaha Grand, but I see no issues. That could be my untrained ears, but everything sounds great overall!
on 2015-12-05 02:31:32
Yeah, I can also say that the only thing that botheres me is the lengths of this mix - I feel a bit bored when it finishes, but aside from this detail, it's a great mix. Solid perforamnces, good recording quality. You can easily imagine this track being played during some concert dedicated to classical music. Nice!
on 2015-06-05 07:45:22
It's gone! No! Please, please put it up again somewhere!
The Internet Archive to the rescue:
on 2010-04-29 12:07:22
I think it went a little long, as the last few minutes could have been condensed a bit, but otherwise, it was really nice- great performance, a really warm recording sound, and a good arrangement that played to a lot of strengths of the source. No complaints here, this was really a nice mix.
on 2009-12-04 12:51:50
It's Jenova, it's piano, it's beautiful, but is it really that simple? Well...
Sometimes it is the simplicity of such a mix that really highlights the strengths of a theme. There's a grace and elegance this track brings out, really tones down the energy from the source and makes it smooth and calming.
This is one track I would highly recommend.
on 2007-12-17 15:30:06
I know this hasn't been brought up in this post yet, but I thought this would be a good time to say so. I'm getting A LOT of emails about sheet music for this, several per day now. I started writing sheet music for this while I was practicing, so I could solidify the arpeggios. I started getting requests while it was on WIP, so I went ahead and finished it. It's in PDF format, a 113K download. I just wish there was a sheet music section on OCR.
Knock yourself out
It's gone! No! Please, please put it up again somewhere!
on 2007-03-26 14:24:26
This is absolutely beautiful. If I was coordinated enough to play piano this well, I'd want the sheet music for this. Well done....
on 2007-03-10 21:58:28
Let me just say that this is what I consider not only one of the few Final Fantasy remixes to actually deserve the credit that it's been given, but that it's not been given enough credit. At Ormgas, it's rated right below the lowest of the top 100.
It's a really beautiful song, don't let it go off of the top charts. It deserves it to be with the best of the best more than most songs on chart.
Please, vote 5 for it.
on 2006-06-21 13:33:20
This is an excellent remix. At times I wished it picked up the pace but it is the slow pacing that really makes this song unique. A ten out of ten.
on 2006-06-20 18:03:35
Just listened to it and al i have to say is WOW. It was amazing, don't think i could ever hear it done better. Truly amazing work!
on 2006-05-30 17:12:38
Wow! This is BEAUTIFULLY done. From the very beginning, you immediately set the stage for the rest of the piece, how it gives the sense that it is fading in slowly from the shadows but proclaiming its full presence at the same time. Then you have these amazing but subtle shifts in mood, while still maintaining the same majestic undertone. And then at around 4:45, man oh man, those trills along with the improvization just make a perfect combination. I don't know how else to explain it. In short, this remix is an example of perfect use of dynamics and that is why it is so engaging throughout. Keep it up, Noir!
on 2006-05-30 13:26:59
Trying to learn this... my stubby, unskilled fingers are getting in the way. Out of curiousity, just how did you pull off doing the four-note JENOVA start (Bb A F D) with one hand? (You'll need to do this once Ab G E C starts) If you just say, "skillz," I'll believe it .
Thats really simple.
You slide your pinky from Bb to A, play E and C with your middle and ring finger, slide your index from Bb to A (an octave lower from the first Bb and A), and use your thumb on the lower E and cross over with your index to hit the final lower C.
I like this remix, but his use of slowing down the tempo momentarily occured so often that it lost its dramatic effect, and made me wonder if he practices with a metrognome.
Erm...Check this out, this is a revolutionary technique I use.
I play the top notes, Bb and then A, by sliding my ring finger from the Bb key to the A, then I play the F and D with whatever fingers I feel like using at a time, and then...Here goes, ready? I move my entire hand down and repeat the same thing at a lower octave.
It's really not that hard. =b
Also, someone mentioned that the notes in this piece sound similair to the end of a Chopin etude. Well, notes usually move in patterns, the Jenova notes that you hear in those falling arpeggios are all minor seventh chords. (D F A Bb)
Also, the metronome comment...Eww. Metronome DESTROYS some piano pieces, I can't stand listening to a completely metered piece on the piano, it destroys the piece completely. I'm glad Noir maintained a nice rubato throughout the piece.
Thank you for the sheet music, sir. =b
on 2005-12-05 10:36:45
Definitely better than the piano collections version, though both arrangements aim for something different. The piano collections version aims to emulate the feel of the battle (which it does rather poorly because of the stop and start nature of the piece) and this mix is more brooding, less blood pumping and at times even menacing.
I would've like to hear more advanced harmony, but as Noir said, he aimed for Late Romantic rather than total impressionism. One minor gripe (apart from the bench) is that you can hear the dampers slamming on the strings, so that it's possible to hear some thuds in the quieter portions of the mix.
on 2005-12-04 21:16:20
I should have posted this reply four or five months ago, but, alas, I had lost the link. I finally found it again and created an account just to say this.
Mr. Barker, sir! I've done it! Well, I did it months ago, but I still did it! I taught myself the entire song on my faithful piano. *swells with pride* I now play it by heart! Thank you ten years of piano!
I stumbled onto this song accidentally and I hope I do more accidents like this in the future. I just wanted to tell you, Eric Barker, that I successfully taught myself the song thanks to your posted link to the music sheet. Thank you, so much, for posting that link online.
I forgot to mention some important things. The sheet music, as far as I know, has many mistakes in it. I listened to the track and played along with it so many times until I got the correct notes. Maybe you should double check the sheet music. Here are the stuff I caught:
pg 5: #38, second measure. Left hand's first notes are G and B-flat.
*pg 10: #82, second measure. Right hand's notes are as followed: D, G and regular B; A; G, held for "..and two and three-"; D; G; regular B.
#84. Right hand: the first C is a sharp.
pg 11: #88. Along with Left hands's first notes (D and D) Right hand should play G, C, and G in the same octive as #87's right hand.
pg 12: # 94, second measure. Left hand's B flats should be played on the following counts: the first half of the count "one", the second half of counts "two" and "and".
If you had included these additions on your own, my bad. I just wanted to let you know that some parts of what you are playing aren't on the sheet music.
on 2005-10-16 08:48:53
VERY impressive pianoplay, although this may not be as fast as the original, this still have some power left in it, you have to draw out it, Noir did that successfully, so I´m just gonna download his remix, thank him for this excellent masterpiece of pianoarrangement, and then go away.
Thank you Noir for this excellent masterpiece of pianoarrangement.
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