Final Fantasy IX Piano Collections
- "Almost all the beauty and dignity a Final Fantasy piano collection should posess."
Tracks (53 minutes total)
- Eternal Harvest listen
- Hermit's Library - Daguerreo
- The Place I'll Return to Someday listen
- Vamo' alla flamenco listen
- Frontier Village Dali
- Bran Bal, The Village Without Souls
- Endless Sorrow
- You're Not Alone! listen
- Two Hearts That Can't Be Stolen ~ Beyond That Door
- Rose of May listen
- Sleepless City Treno
- Where Love Doesn't Reach
- Final Battle
- Melodies of Life listen
- Released Jan 24, 2001 by Digicube (catalog no. SSCX-10048, retail 2854 yen).
Almost all the beauty and dignity a Final Fantasy piano collection should posess.
Editor's review by Adam Corn (2001-01-31)
Since I have yet to write my own review of Final Fantasy IX OST, I'll mention that I think it's very much a successful tribute to the classic days of the series, and taken as a whole is the best FF original soundtrack since FF6. Not bad, eh?
In similar fashion, Final Fantasy IX Piano Collections successfully emulates classic FF piano collections. I've not heard FF8PC, but I can very much sense similarities between FF9PC and its SNES-era piano collection counterparts... not only in the style of arrangement but even in the track selection and overall presentation. As far as overall quality goes, I would place it somewhere between the overly simple FF4PC and the remarkably dramatic FF6PC.
Had I really studied the track list before buying the CD (it was an impromptu purchase at the FF9PC live event in Tokyo), I probably would have been a little skeptical about the CD, since not all of the selected tracks exactly count as my favorites on the OST. But as is the case with any well designed piano arranged album, the producers (Uematsu-san, actually) chose to include not only the tracks that work best in the OST, but also tracks that would flourish in piano form. For instance, I usually skip "You're Not Alone!" in the OST, as it sounds cliched. But the piano version is quite a different matter, as both the arrangement and the piano itself avoid the failed, modern-epic sound aspirations of the original for a less serious and more accessible feel.
Uematsu has a tradition of including battle themes in his piano collections, and FF9PC's "Final Battle" surprisingly comes across much better than the OST version. Chalk this up once again to being less cliched, both in arrangement (it's slightly toned down from the overly eager OST version) and in the very use of piano as instrumentation.
Another logical but not necessarily successful tradition in FF piano collections is giving tracks that were piano synth in the OST a try with a live performance. This does little to salvage the boring OST version of "Sleepless City Treno" (I liken it to "Spinach Rag" in FF6 OSV and PC). Fortunately though, the melody of "Rose of May" retains all its wonderful beauty in the live version and is diversified a bit by the more elaborate arrangement and performance.
Finally, there is the question of whether stand-out OST tracks can maintain their quality when altered and performed by only a solo piano. In the case of "The Place I'll Return to Someday", the dignified and lovely sound of the piano indeed adds to the already pretty OST melody, although the just slightly jazzy turn the arrangement takes halfway through is in my opinion not the best choice. Most would agree that "Vamo' alla flamenco" is one of the more memorable tracks from the OST, and maybe one of the hardest to pull off in piano form. This piano version does indeed manage to keep much of the energy and liveliness of the original, and would be a lot of fun to play, I imagine. Lastly, who can question the inclusion of "Melodies of Life"? Although it lacks Emiko Shiratori's lovely (in Japanese, at least) vocals, the melody works well in the new arrangement and the piano adds a loveliness of its own.
The one complaint I can already hear some people levying against FF9PC is that it is too simple. And I agree, the arrangements are a bit on the simple side. Nowhere near as simple as they could be, mind you (FF4PC and Ys Piano Collection prove that), but there are certainly times where I can envision the arrangements having some more spice to them.
Final Fantasy IX Piano Collections is almost as much of a pleasant surprise for me as the OST was. It doesn't manage to tug at my heartstrings the way some previous FF piano arrangements like the Final Fantasy 1987-1994 version of "Dear Friends" and several tracks from FF6PC did (even though a couple of the melodies included here had the potential). But it is certainly an enjoyable, faithful piano version of a memorable Final Fantasy OST.
A great buy for any piano or Final Fantasy fan...
Reader review by John Isip (2001-09-16)
I have heard the final Fantasy VIII Piano Collections and have much of the sheet music, and I wasn't too excited about getting the Final Fantasy IX Piano Collections. Don't get me wrong, I think that the final Fantasy VIII Piano Collection was the best in the series. With great piano pieces like "Eyes On Me," "Ami," and "Fisherman's Horizon," I wondered how the Final Fantasy IX Piano Collections could match such beauty.
When I first looked at the track selection, I was a bit dissapointed, to tell you the truth. Actually, I was very dissapointed with the tracks which Nobuo Uematsu himself chose to be on the CD. Perhaps the only piano pieces that I was interested in were "Vamo' Alla Flamenco," "The Place I'll Return To Someday," "The Final Battle" and of course "Melodies Of Life." When I listened to CD though, I was very surprised with the beauty and detail in each and every track. Most of the tracks have a gentle and calm feeling, like the previous Piano Collections, which is great for the piano.
While much of the music on this CD is excellently written (and performed), I did really dislike the awful "Sleepless City Treno", which I think is the worst piece on the entire OSV. Personally, I would never have thought to put this piece onto the CD. There, now I can focus on the finer points of the CD.
My favourite pieces have to be "Vamo' Alla Flamenco" and "Melodies Of Life." I'm sure many would agree with me in saying that these two pieces are the highlight of the collection. "Vamo' Alla Flamenco" is a lively piece, and was one of my favourites on the OSV. Gone are the heavy guitars, and you're left with a perfect piano arrangement. "Melodies Of Life" is equally as great, it starts very quietly and builds to a dramatic climax. Although the piano doesn't compare to Emiko Shiratori, it's an awfully passionate piece and sounds great. "Secret Library Daguerro" was also one of my favourites. It was hard for me to find the main theme from the OSV, but what a great piece this is.
Well, to sum it up, Final Fantasy IX Piano Collections is a great buy, if you've heard some of the songs before. I can't wait to get the sheet music so I can play the pieces at home (all but Sleepless City Treno). I mentioned Final Fantasy VIII Piano Collections, and comparing the two is somewhat hard, but I must say that I would reccomend that you get the Final Fantasy VIII Piano Collections instead, as they're just plain better. I have a few problems with the tracks in this collections, but the good pieces more than make up for the others.
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