ReMix: Final Fantasy VI 'Cantata for Dancing: II. Fuga Kefka'
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Streaming preview on YouTube
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!
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.
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