Did someone say... Vagrant Story?? It's actually a little puzzling that we haven't posted a mix from VS until now, given Sakimoto's excellent score, but Swedish newcomer Fredrik Häthén (umlaut powaaa!) is here to change all that:
"I wrote this piano arrangement to be performed by myself at a concert. The audience had no idea the original song came from a game, and I wanted to see their reaction. The piece was well received by everyone, and I got the idea that I ought to record it in a more professional manner. It has been polished, tweaked and edited a lot, and now I submit it to OCremix to see how it's received there. The reason why I chose this song is that I love Vagrant Story's soundtrack, and this wonderful little theme in particular."
The intro here reminds me of a (good) solo piano horror soundtrack, where they're setting up the calm context of a house near the ocean somewhere in New England, but you know that... something ain't right. Fredrik's playing is articulate, oscillating between delicate and forceful, with great dynamic range, as the piece sways back and forth like trees in the (ominous) wind. With a title like "Youthful Bravery" I guess I'd expect something a little more upbeat - if not foreboding, the piece at least seems reflective rather than triumphant - but I'm certainly not complaining: either way, it's emotive stuff. Vinnie picked up on the same thing, more or less:
"Very different feel thanks to the changes in the dynamics here. This is very subdued and lonely, where the original felt more bombastic. There are some subtle changes that catch your attention because of the starkness of the piece. I really like this take; the playing is expressive and beautiful. The fact that the structure was nearly identical to the original wasn't an issue. There was more than enough personalization here."
Also in a similar vein, Larry wrote:
"Structurally, pretty straightforward in the manner of the original. I think part of the "drawback" is that it's not necessarily the most unique piano arrangement since it doesn't take many liberties with the structure. Nonetheless, comparing the two, the performance dynamics were much more pronounced in this take, and the ambient section in the original that went on for 30 seconds (:46-1:17 of the source video) was scrapped entirely, with Fredrik opting for some original writing that pieced together seamlessly with the source. This certainly isn't poorly performed or arranged, I just think the arrangement could have been more interpretive. That said, this was performed live with excellent results, and what's there works for me."
Sometimes simple, direct, emotive playing is all you need. Structure doesn't have to change too much for the overall tone to be modified, which alters the composition significantly and gives it a certain pensive melancholy. Nice to finally see some Vagrant Story arrangement, and an excellent solo piano debut from Mr. Häthén - check out his website, there's more where this came from.
on 2009-12-22 01:42:41
The arrangement gets kind of repetitive for a solo piano mix, but I can feel that it's very emotive as well, and as a pianist myself I can really appreciate that. The nuances of your playing, especially in intro, remind me of the work of Reuben Kee
Not a bad endeavor!
on 2009-11-07 07:28:19
Emphasizing just the piano from the source is a pleasing choice. It hits all the right keys as it explores an emotional tale of a boy's act of courage, its pace deliberate and evocative. The tune lingers on three main notes at 1:18-1:23 and 2:23-2:29 as if it's pondering an unclear or unfinished side of the story, leaving me wanting more.
on 2009-07-19 16:09:11
Beautiful piano arrangement, though I agree that the sudden key change in the end is kinda strange.
on 2009-07-13 10:02:05
This is very pretty! I don't know the source, but there is no need to enjoy this wonderfully emotive piece.
I was originally going to comment on the brevity of this, but the more I listen to it, I think it's just the right length. Kudos on that.
My favorite moment is 1:50-2:00. It's just perfect, nothing else I can say about it. Oddly enough, I can only describe it as a sigh. Don't ask me why.
Great job, and I'd love to hear more from you!
on 2009-07-09 06:07:08
Hey, everyone! Sorry for the really late reply.
First of all, thanks a lot for the wonderful comments! I'm glad my little piano arrangement was liked by so many people.
Second: Yes, there is sheet music of this. However, the sheet music doesn't really resemble the final arrangement that much, since I took some liberties when I played it and switched some chords. If people are really interested in what the original looked like, I suppose I could share the sheet music.
Anyway, thanks again! I hope I'll be able to contribute more to OCRemix.
on 2009-07-04 09:32:40
This is very enjoyable to listen to. The performance is beautiful.
on 2009-07-01 18:33:58
great dynamics and phrasing. I remember loving the art style to this game, but I never really remembered much of the music. This is certainly memorable, though, and really is a moody and a bit lonely. I really like the performance, as it really brings the arrangement to life; this wouldn't be near as wonderful sequenced. Well done, I can't wait to hear more.
on 2009-06-30 10:57:26
FINALLY, someone turned their eye to the wonderful soundtrack of the amazing game that is one of my favorites of all time, Vagrant Story!
This is a very well-done, a delicate touch but still filled with emotion - I love it. Great contribution!
on 2009-06-30 10:22:29
Sounds very beautiful and delicate so this one is a keeper for me.
on 2009-06-30 08:46:49
This is beautiful. I've never heard the original so I can't really comment on the arrangement, but this definitely makes me want to look into the OST.
I guess I'll be the one to ask: is there sheet music available?
on 2009-06-30 02:56:51
Man I've spent all day listening to great music, and this is a really nice way to top it off! Your perfomance is very delicate and tasteful. I'm checking out your website now too
I've always been interested in playing Vagrant Story, this could serve as a little nudge to go do it.
on 2009-06-30 02:51:42
Nice arrangement of a great track from a great soundtrack for a great game. So short though!
But yeah, welcome to OCR, Freddie! Hope to see more of you.
on 2009-06-30 01:24:22
I really seem to be mildly annoyed with Larry's comments...he seems to have some stringent guidelines that even if a mix--like this one--is absolutely gorgeous and incredible, if it isn't variant enough, etc, then it's some horrible affront. I've never been of the opinion that a mix had to be so much different from the source, as long as the arrangement worked, and this one certainly does. It's absolutely gorgeous from start to finish!
on 2009-06-30 01:15:33
Great stuff dewd I don't really ever comment on piano solos so I don't know what to say except great stuff lol.
on 2009-06-30 00:49:22
Very beautiful rendition of "Joshua", one of my favorites from the Vagrant Story OST. I love that you chose piano! It's a perfect fit for this piece.
Keep it up! And I can't wait to hear more beautiful piano renditions from you.
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