Review: ‘A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy’

I’ve always wanted to listen to orchestral renditions of music from the Final Fantasy series, so when I heard that ‘A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy’ is coming to Brisbane – I bought tickets the day they were released.

Seven months before the performance, on the 2nd April 2017. Yep, I purchased my tickets in September 2016. I was that keen and excited for it. Being a long time Final Fantasy fan, I would be kicking myself for missing out on a Distant Worlds/A New World performance on my doorstep. I couldn’t care less if I had future assignments to be done, or any exams. I wanted to go.

First thing’s first – the venue. I actually didn’t like the fact it was going to be held at St Peters’ Lutheran College Performing Arts Centre. It was in Indooroopilly and wasn’t a convenient place to get to public transport wise. After attending last night, it was the right decision. The smaller theatre meant the acoustics were amazing. Being so close to the stage meant I was able to appreciate the music even more. A smaller venue, compared to one of a similar size in the CBD, was the right call.

The opening set piece was ‘The Decisive Battle’ from Final Fantasy VI. I love the sounds of live violins, and this song was perfect to open up the concert. I sat in awe – my favourite Final Fantasy songs, arranged for orchestra, in person. I can’t describe in words how I felt. I’ve waited years for this.
The smaller orchestra performed to my expectations. They sound exactly like they do in the recordings I purchased. That’s a testament to the attention to detail these musicians have. It was a new take on an old favourite, but with a sense of familiarity.

I was expecting the concert to be verbatim to the recordings, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear that we had Australian premieres and world premieres of new Final Fantasy arrangements. The names escape me at the moment, but I’ll list them down once the repertoire is made public, but the songs featured were:

  • The Red Wings (Final Fantasy VI)
  • Rebel Army Theme (Final Fantasy II)
  • Town Theme (Final Fantasy I)
  • To Zanarkand (Final Fantasy X)
  • Force Your Way (Final Fantasy VIII)
  • Those Who Fight (Final Fantasy VII)
  • Golden Saucer (Final Fantasy VII) – Australian Premiere
  • One Winged Angel (Final Fantasy VII) – Encore Performance

Benyamin Yuss was AMAZING in his piano solos of Those Who Fight and Golden Saucer. If you haven’t heard of him, check out his YouTube channel.

I was nearly left disappointed when they didn’t feature ‘One Winged Angel’! Fortunately, it was the encore performance. Regardless of which arrangement this song takes, it’s always amazing to hear it live in person. ‘To Zanarkand’ is such a beautiful piece and fits the smaller orchestra perfectly. You get to hear each individual instrument up close, and is not lost like some instruments are in a full-sized orchestra.

What I was disappointed though was the omission of two of my favourite songs! ‘Blinded by Light’ from Final Fantasy XIII, and ‘Dark World’ from Final Fantasy VI. I guess though, they have to keep the repertoire fresh so people who have attended these concerts before (which a majority in the audience have) can be still entertained.

If A New World comes back again, or Distant Worlds premieres in Brisbane – regardless if you’re a Final Fantasy fan or not – I highly recommend. The music and the atmosphere alone is worth the experience.

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