ReMix: Final Fantasy VI 'Cantata for Dancing: II. Fuga Kefka'

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Final Fantasy VI

They're baaaacccckkk.... the dynamic duo of Derek Oren and Jeremy Robson return! It seems like just yesterday they released the very popular and undeniably epic Cantata for Dancing: I. Mors ego sum mortis, and now they're back with more cantatatastic dancing action, following up May's success with a piece that incorporates even more choral elements. Mr. Robson had a short novel's worth of comments on this bad boy:

"I remember years ago wanting to give Dancing Mad the orchestral/choral treatment, and I'm happy this is finally coming together so much like I originally envisioned.

I believe Uematsu composed a lot of good material using what knowledge he had of Bach organ fugues to write an arrangement of Kefka's theme with a kind of attention given to motivic development not seen anywhere else in game music. Almost everyone who's a fan of FF6 or Uematsu knows this music by heart and can appreciate its classical subtleties, so the challenge in arranging this segment of Dancing Mad was in staying faithful to the original while bringing out the atmospheric and harmonic qualities using choir and orchestra. The rest is continuing what Uematsu began: arranging Kefka's theme to fit the stylistic and thematic implications of the game.

I guess he seemed especially fond of Bach organ fugues and how they can set the atmosphere for a battle against giant, gothic-like statues, so this second part of the Cantata for Dancing takes its inspiration from Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Gregorian-era chant. There's nothing here extremely academic and I often break the rules in favor of modernisms, so it's all in good fun. I can provide annotation on the use of Kefka's theme for the second half of the piece if necessary.

Stay tuned for Kefka's Adagio coming soon!

Breakdown:
Introit: Terra's theme in plainchant 0:00-0:43 (requiem aeternam)
Recap of second tier of Dancing Mad 0:43-1:55
Third tier 1:55-3:36 (Kyrie eleison)
prelude on Kefka's theme in organ 3:36-4:35
fugue on Kefka's theme in choir 4:35-end"

Interesting analysis and background. Since these collaborations between Derek and Jeremy are monstrous efforts that are clearly being planned out meticulously and then being painstakingly refined, getting the creative context is all the more fascinating. Mr. Oren adds:

"After countless hours of sampling it's finally done! Fuga Kefka was the most challenging piece I've ever sampled up until now. I had to start from stratch at least 20 times. But in the end I believe we made a fantastic piece of music and we both hope you enjoy it."

This arrangement is lush, epic, filled with sounds that are spiritual, reverent, chaotic, bombastic, peaceful, you name it - there's six and a half minutes of music here, with more of a focus given to the organ and a more religious atmosphere than the first part, while maintaining a consistently high complexity and scope of vision. That's probably the coolest thing about these collaborations between Robson and Oren - they just feel BIG. As Emperor Joseph II said of Mozart's work in Amadeus, it may have "too many notes" to some ears, but to mine there's just the right number, and it's a damn large one. If you were into the very grand-scale, elaborate, symphony-choir orchestration these two conjured up last time, you're definitely in for a treat. If you haven't checked it out yet, do so before grabbing this one, to get the chronology right. Both works are monumental efforts that represent huge dedication by their creators, and both stand as unique and powerful examples of orchestral game remixing.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
a_d
on 2010-10-07 19:24:10
My apologies. After reading a bio of Kefka I realized how little I actually knew about him. I should've looked into his story more before making my remarks on the lyrics. They make more sense in that context. I'm still curious about what "Morte aeterna" means. Eh. Nevermind. Just looked it up. "Eternal death":
"Grant unto them eternal rest
Eternal death
Lord, have mercy!"
Definitely a song fit for Kefka. The ironic thing is you say you'd think they'd pray for him to grant them eternal rest (eternal death) to end their suffering at his hand, but the God of mainstream Christianity is portrayed as endlessly torturing souls in hell. It's no wonder many become atheists or agnostics. But is it an accurate picture of Him?
Hats off to very deep lyrics
derako
on 2010-10-07 13:31:02
a_d;707959 wrote: How do the lyrics pertain to Kefka? "Grant unto them eternal rest/Lord, have mercy"? And the second line doesn't even seem to have been translated (Morte aeterna), or is it translated in the third line?


What we wanted to portray was the suffering of the people Kefka had effected. "Lord Have Mercy" is the translation of the bulk of the latin in this piece which is Kyrie eleison Since Kefka is portrayed in the game as a "God" we thought that this would ring home true to what everyone would pray for.
a_d
on 2010-08-22 00:18:42
How do the lyrics pertain to Kefka? "Grant unto them eternal rest/Lord, have mercy"? And the second line doesn't even seem to have been translated (Morte aeterna), or is it translated in the third line?
StopMotionFury
on 2010-05-04 21:29:20
I'm not really sure how to feel about this arrangement. I think the concept is good, but I don't feel the execution is very tight. The first thing I noticed about it is that I couldn't find a discernible fugue anywhere in there. I listened to it a good few times through just to see if I could point out any voices, but I really couldn't. If that's the case I would recommend changing the title to "Fugato Kefka" meaning in the style of a fugue, but not in the traditional sense of a strict fugue. Generally, I feel the piece isn't very cohesive. I feel that it jumps too quickly from one idea to the next. Some of the thematic ideas are really good, but I feel that they don't get explored at all and the whole thing feels pretty disjointed to me. I could show specific points, but I don't want to nitpick. One last thing. Orchestration bothers me. The brass seems too overpowering and some of the percussion is a little wonky. Overall, I thought it was a really good effort and I really wanted to like this, but it just missed the mark for me. =(
OA
on 2010-05-04 15:53:35
Some of the choir stuff grates on me (specifically the faster passages), but overall this is nice. Nice work guys. :-)
FallenOne
on 2010-02-05 20:02:12
I love orchestral music and particularily organs. I once took lessons myself, never went very far though, oh well. As for torticoli's post previous, I fear that if ever their truely was a God he left after discovering the OBINATION that is Humanity. The omnipotent beings here are clearly Derek and Jeremy.
torticoli
on 2009-11-22 07:48:21
This is definitely the most amazing arrangement of Dancing Mad ever. When I saw that someone finally had put an almost-orchestral (the quality of the samples is excellent) version of this already out-of-this-world track, I knew God existed ^^

Anyway, I can't help but fear that we won't hear the third part before a long time. The thing is, well, I haven't been able to find something pointing out that Kefka's Adagio is indeed still scheduled and that we will hear its final version (I found the demo) in less than 10 years.
Because, you know, this is God made music ^^ and two years have passed since Fuga Kefka, so... but I don't want to think that this will remain unfinished : /

So I guess my question is, if the makers of this music come here soon : do you have something, a Twitter, a Facebook or anything, where I could follow the work in progress for this third part ? Or could you tell me if, yes or no, you're going to give us this third part ?

Thanks a lot, and good luck for whatever you're doing these days.
dotaino
on 2009-03-15 14:06:25
Thank you kindly for the new demo. Ive been keeping an ear open for this. =D
derako
on 2009-03-14 22:54:47
Platonist;518292 wrote: ive always hoped for a part 3 in this series... oren and robson are true geniuses, and as a duo, they make GOLD like these very cantatas .. please give us a third!


Thanks for the compliment. And also go here for a very beta demo of the first 4 minutes of the 3rd movement http://jeremyrobson.com/download.html
Platonist
on 2009-03-14 19:47:02
ive always hoped for a part 3 in this series... oren and robson are true geniuses, and as a duo, they make GOLD like these very cantatas .. please give us a third!
Marmiduke
on 2009-03-14 00:02:02
Wow, what a well-informed arrangement. Noone could ever accuse the mixers of being lazy, that's for sure. This is the extreme opposite of a phoned in mix.
A really full, rich mix with some of the strongest roots of influence on the entire site. The authenticity here is stellar, and while I don't mean that it sounds exactly like a 80 piece orchestra with 100 person choir, it does sound like it was ripped from the 1700s, had there have been mixing equiptment and software available during that time.
Obviously the choir doesn't reach the uncanny valley, which it sounds like some people would have preferred, but you know, we are at OCR. I think we can all appreciate the skill and sound of something that doesn't precisely meet its grand potential. And anyway, I think the sounds absolutely fantastic. Some parts sound spot on to my ears, and that more than exceeds my expectations.
I love how smart this is and I love the obvious passion for this type of music, which is gradually becoming more and more irrelevant to people these days, which is a great shame. Sometimes throwing subtle influence out the window is the best thing to keep certain flames alive, and there's no better flame to save than great music. Well done.
Darksun45230
on 2009-01-26 01:17:01
Oh whats this? Liquid orgasm in a song? Droplets of Ambrosia colored color? Or perhaps an awesome heart shattered into a thousand pieces, the reformed to make one of the best songs I've ever heard.
Should there be a reason to keep remixing, this is it. I mean, this blows the original out of the water. Never have I felt so enthralled, so inspired, so in love with a song. Some moments built up to a fantastic jubilee that ascended my soul. I say sir, awesome remix.
42
on 2009-01-25 23:39:06
Pie Iesu Domine.
*wack*
Dona Eis Requiem.
*
wack*
:<

Like it's twin, this is deliciously orchestrated.
This is just sooooo good.
It's like a medieval treat for the ears.
These are a must download.
Lucentas
on 2008-12-06 16:46:53
Like its predecessor, this is some of the most epic stuff on the entire site. It's absolutely stunning and moving and I would love to hear it performed live, it would just be the icing on an already-delicious cake.
Uboichi2
on 2008-04-17 02:58:25
I think most of the critics been geven and you don't need mine anymore.
Just wanna point out that some of the pitches sung by the basses is as good as impossible. I sing in a choir myself as bass and can tell that the lowest pitches in this remix can be sung, but it would sound very, very soft. It's just not possible at the volume you present it. Or you should have a lot of low bass singers, but those are quite rare really.