ReMix: Final Fantasy IV "Hymn to the Crystals" 4:06

By RebeccaETripp

Artist Links
Arranging the music of 2 songs from 2 games (view all)...

"Prelude", "The Prelude"

Primary Game: Final Fantasy IV (Square, 1991, SNES), music by Nobuo Uematsu

Posted 2017-10-06, evaluated by the judges panel


It's far from over, but 2017 has already been a fantastic year for Rebecca E. Tripp on OCR, and she continues the barrage of creative, thoughtful arrangements with this serene, primarily harp & choral ReMix of the Final Fantasy prelude:

"This was my attempt to encapsulate the spiritual essence of the Final Fantasy series. I was going for a sort of mystical/reverent feeling. There are many versions of the FF prelude out there already, so it was difficult to find a new take on it in one sense. However, nobody had composed an arrangement of this main theme that emphasized the spiritual essence of the ever-prominent crystals in quite the same way -- so I used that to guide me: a feeling that this particular facet of the crystal had somehow been, for the most part, unnoticed.

This is sort of how I've been wanting to hear the song all along, emphasizing the more ethereal aspects of the games, as opposed to making the theme more grandiose or, adversely, tame and relaxing. In my mind, this could be a version of the tune that might play inside a temple in some kind of ancient magical village guarding an elemental crystal shard, such as Cleyra or Mysidia.

I used 3 harps, harpsichord, VSTs of a full choir, a soprano soloist, and a young boy soloist in this track, along with some temple bells and some mystical/spacey-sounding synths. I was sort of trying to combine the medieval aesthetic of most of the older games with the new-agey depth I have come to associate with the various alien and otherworldly races in FF, such as the Lunarians who are very knowledgeable and detached as compared with the protagonists."

What's hot? Interesting harmonies, a dynamic interplay between harp & choral elements, and a flowing, ethereal pace/atmosphere, the last being something many of the artist's works exhibit & which she excels at achieving. What's not? Well, certain bits stick out more than others, but it's tricky to get sampled choir to do this much heavy lifting in an exposed setting without having some issues. It can be done, but it might often involve compromises to the arrangement itself in order to mitigate (read: hide) some of the less realistic aspects of one's available samples. With this piece, at least, I feel like Rebecca didn't want to compromise and preferred to just accept the flaws and write the parts exactly how she wanted. That's cool, but it means some passing moments where the choral elements might distract or disrupt the experience. DragonAvenger writes:

"Some really nice textures and harmonies you have going throughout here. Really well developed! Going to agree that the chorus is probably the lowest point of the mix, since they are sitting a bit in the uncanny valley here, but they aren't so bad in the big picture. Really lovely piece!"

Liontamer adds:

"The opening "AHHH" at :18 just felt kind of there and disconnected from arranging the "Prelude" and the tone of the rest of the track, but we'll move on.

Pretty solid combinations of voices and instruments, and the vocal interplay was always interesting to listen to. No one instrument was the core focus or driver here; rather you had the plucked strings and two different vocal lines taking turns with the "Prelude" melody. It works surprisingly and effectively well. Nice work, Rebecca!"

Ditto all that; a very pared-down, choral/harp focus and wide, expansive chord voicings lend a powerful & mystical atmosphere for yet another musical journey courtesy RebeccaETripp!

djpretzel

Discussion

Latest 4 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
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dirtywhitellama
on 2017-10-08 11:23:27

I really feel like this track achieved what the artist was going for. Great work :)

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BardicKnowledge
on 2017-10-07 22:53:13

First and foremost, this arrangement is incredible. Holy smokes, I'm not sure I'm going to have words to give voice to how much I like the solo soprano part, and the Debussy-esque floating just before the three-minute mark at 2:56 or so. Tremendous work here that everyone needs to experience that reminds me of the vocal stylings of Eric Whitacre and Christopher Tin -- and I don't make comparisons to either of them very often.

I agree with the judges that the production brings it down some, however. One of the problems of being compared to the great vocal arrangers of our time is that their work demands great vocal performers, and it's apparent that we don't have that in the choir here (save for the excellent soloists). For me, the bass clef choir voices -- especially the few moments they have to carry us forward -- really stand out as artificial, which brings me out of the experience. I'm a little surprised none of the judges had anything to say about 2:48 (the worst production moment for me after the initial vocal hold that's been discussed elsewhere), but will assume it's because the aforementioned pause is SO GOOD right after that.

That being said, it's one of the great vocal arrangements on the site, and we have precious few that make full use of a choir (largely for logistical reasons). Absolutely incredible arranging skills here -- if you ever need voice parts recorded, I imagine that you'll have a number of volunteers (including me, fwiw) happy to step up and help your work shine as brightly as it might.

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DimeTower
on 2017-10-06 22:08:03

THIS IS NOT JUST ANOTHER PRELUDE TRACK - YES, YES, 100X YES to the remixer that takes this source and delivers a remix so unique, it immediately stakes out space in my remix library as the reverent example of the tune. The non-choir parts work gorgeously - the handling of 2:55+ and particularly the harp work in 3:20 through the end is downright breathtaking. And for once - for once! - I had a strong disagreement with some of the judges - to hell with your talk about samples! In my opinion, this reminds me more of the source, not less, as Nobuo Uematsu routinely had the FF I-IX games pushing the limit of the soundscape their requisite systems could deliver. The choir parts provide what the remixer is going for, and to hear that handling of the melody and harmonies was breathtaking. I think I would have loved it with a single xylophone and a violin that could only play 4 notes.

It was like flying a whale to the moon and hearing a solstice ceremony at the Lunarians' high temple. My thanks to the remixer for the trip.

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Liontamer
on 2017-10-06 14:15:05

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (2 Songs, 2 Games)


Primary Game:
Final Fantasy IV (Square, 1991, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
Songs:
"The Prelude"
Additional Game:
Final Fantasy (Nintendo, 1987, NES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
Songs:
"Prelude"

Tags (9)


Genre:
Classical, New Age
Mood:
Mellow
Instrumentation:
Choir, Harp, Harpsichord, Orchestral
Additional:
Time > Tempo: Slow
Usage > Winter Holiday

File Information


Name:
Final_Fantasy_4_Hymn_to_the_Crystals_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
6,796,999 bytes
MD5:
aeb1d5723eb4f6f8eb5a839f15892d67
Bitrate:
218Kbps
Duration:
4:06

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