Video game music has been garnering more recognition in recent years, but despite that surge of interest there are still few series’ that garner as much attention or praise in the musical space as Final Fantasy - and now, fans have another example to demonstrate exactly why in the form of a new recording of orchestral arrangements from various titles in the series.
Next week, Final Symphony 2 will land on all major streaming platforms, plus be available for purchase via Bandcamp. For those willing to lay down some cash rather than just stream, pre-orders begin today.
Final Symphony is one of a few different FF-themed concert series’ - but it’s arguably the most ‘grown up’ of the bunch. Where the ‘Distant Worlds’ concert series and most of Square Enix’s in-house orchestra releases feature arranged performances of individual pieces from the Final Fantasy series, Final Symphony presents lengthy, winding orchestral suites that attempt to retell the story of the game - or evoke its overall mood - over the course of as much as twenty-five minutes.
The first Final Symphony album contained music from Final Fantasy 6, 7, and 10, and was widely performed round the world and a recording later released. Final Symphony 2 now receives the same treatment, and is preparing to embark on a new tour and release new recordings of its powerful arrangements.
For Final Symphony 2, fans can expect to hear arrangements of the soundtracks of Final Fantasy 5, 8, 9, and 13, as performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded inside the iconic and almost 100-year-old Stockholm Konserthuset venue.
The official press release describes Final Symphony as the “ultimate tribute” to the Final Fantasy series - and as a fan of the first recording and having had an early listen to the second, I’m quite content to agree and note that isn’t the usual puffed-up press release hyperbole. These arrangements and performances really are incredible achievements, put together with love and care - and to have them widely available to those who cannot or aren’t inclined to attend physical concerts can only be a good thing.
For an example of what to expect, check out an older recording of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic performing a FF8 classic in the video below:
“The first Final Symphony album was so successful, topping classical album charts in countries all around the world, that I wanted to be sure that we could produce something equally special for Final Symphony II,” says Thomas Böcker, the lead producer behind the production of the albums and concerts.
“We’ve brought together a truly incredible team of audio engineers with the amazingly talented Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra to produce an album that sounds like you were experiencing it first hand in the concert hall. We can’t wait for you to hear it”.
Final Symphony 2 releases in full next week, on August 4. It’ll be available on all major streaming platforms and can be purchased through Bandcamp - and Bandcamp pre-orders get a bonus recording too. More information can be found on the official Final Symphony website.