ReMix: Super Castlevania IV "Heart of Limestone"
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We continue our Vampire Variations: Volume III mixflood by taking a step into quieter-but-spooky territory with a solo piano arrangement of the cavern stage, from Rexy (Beverley Wooff); VV3 director Chernabogue writes:
"Bev nails all of her piano arrangements, and this one is no exception. This take on the source sounds very "classical," and composers like Mr. Claude Debussy (who is French too) would be proud. It is a nice break from the more aggressive tracks on the album, but still keeps the adventurous feeling I was aiming for. The music speaks for itself here - and apparently shows our mutual interest in a certain blue hedgehog!"
I love this source tune and I'm definitely gonna arrange it myself one day & plan on taking it in a very different direction, but I dig that Bev was able to take a relatively calm piece and make it even more serene & delicate, in addition to working in some supporting themes:
"Creating a piano arrange for Vampire Variations 2 was a wonderful experience, so it was a no-brainer decision to return for the follow-up. Part of me was glad that Alex's choice of symphonic theme made it fit right in, however, I found the score for Super Castlevania IV to be very experimental in nature and difficult to find something with a melodic flow for much of the way through.
Thanks to coverage from a handful of other VGM scene musicians over the past 10-15 years, the Cave music ("Limestone Cavern") had etched itself into my head and felt really appropriate to work on a piano arrangement. Fitting with the project's classical approach, I tackled the source with another sonata formation, which, when working with a 3-idea source, made the arrangement a very interesting one to draft out. And yet, from a gamer standpoint, this felt like it needed a much lighter approach in comparison to the steep waterfall climb and awkward ruin platforming much later on.
The biggest challenge for me by far was trying to get back into the piano arranging game. When I only just started making a name for myself as an arranger, I often cranked out solo piano arrangements at least once or twice a month depending on what else was going on within the community; however, two years had passed between this and Vampire Variations 2, and I hadn't done any other piano arrangements during that timeframe. It felt like the equivalent of getting an old bicycle back out onto the road after years of being locked in the garage.
Other than that, it was great being able to work with Alex again. His production methods really caught up with his character as of late, and his insane passion for the Castlevania franchise really showed with the way he handled the entire trilogy. I don't know if he will continue to add to the albums in the future, but one thing for sure is that he definitely knows how to use that Belmont whip of his. Yeah... what is a Frenchman? A magnifique pile of berets and baguettes... but enough buttering-up. Have at you!"
Nixdorux actually had a pretty slick orchestral arrangement of this same theme posted over a decade ago - about time we heard another interpretation, eh? SCIV strikes me as VERY unique in the world of Castlevania OSTs as well, with funky rhythms, lots of unusual jazz fusion, and then relatively minimalist compositions like this... there's a sense of tentative exploration & a Zen utilization of empty space that Bev's taken advantage of, and the playing is natural and expressive. Great stuff that, as Alex mentions, offers a respite from the album's more aggressive waters and soothes the savage vampire hunter!
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