This weekend, apart from celebrating the Easter Bunny (the most religious figure of them all) marks the time of year where UK-based Classic FM run down their listener voted top-300 pieces of classical music. It’s a nice little celebration of classical music, ranging from Baroque era all the way up to modern film and video game scores. It’s the latter that has of course been of interest to me ever since a campaign was started a few years back to get Nobuo Uematsu and the genre a little recognition in the classical world.
The campaign ended up being very successful, placing not just Uematsu in the top 300 (at 16), but also Jeremy Soule’s Skyrim soundtrack became the first piece of video game music the station had ever played at number 243. The next year, the two pieces were ranked at 3 and 5 respectively, while Grant Kirkhope made his first appearance with Viva Pinata lower down the chart and since then video game music has become a staple of the charts, but there’s still discussions to this day from regular listeners if it deserves its place
Of course in my opinion and many others it’s absolutely justified – video game music is a lot of people’s first major encounter with classical music and while 3rd and 5th seems a little high in the charts, I can see why they charted so highly. Sure there are campaigns but it’s also a case of people almost discovering that yes, the music I’m humming and liked from that game is actually classical music and Classic FM has done well to engage these people by including the genre in their top-300 chart, as well as video game specials throughout the years (although they could still be doing a lot more – pieces from video game scores, unlike film music, are generally excluded outside of its designated slot and the station hasn’t exactly done the genre any favours by calling out BBC Radio 3 for choosing to play some pieces)
Anyway, onto the playlist – it’s basically a rundown of all 12 soundtracks which were inducted into the 2015 Hall of Fame. Some pieces feel more deserving of a place in the 300, especially so high up, but I can’t deny that there’s a really good selection of music on offer. Kirkhope’s Viva Pinata may be in my top 3 soundtracks ever, with its relaxing, almost Elgar-like flow and it was good to see Koji Kondo finally getting some recognition for his Zelda work. Further highlights include the HoFs highest female entrant in Yoko Shimamura as well as some other magnificent scores.
What do I expect from this year? I’m not sure if it’s only because I’m back on twitter but I’ve seen a *lot* of people and composers giving the countdown publicity in VGM circles. I’d love to see Jessica Curry inducted with her beautiful Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture score, and I would love to see Austin Wintory return to the chart (he fell out last year) with Journey. I also have a feeling this could finally be Mario’s year, and the Mahito Yokota’s Galaxy soundtracks will get a look in.
Anyway, enough from me – enjoy the playlist and let me know what you’d like to see inducted in the hall of fame (and indeed if you don’t like any of the pieces that have!)Vid
Halo 3 – Finish the Fight (Martin O’Donnell, Michael Salvatori)
The Last of Us – All Gone (No Escape) (Gustavo Santaolalla)
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty – The Showdown (Glen Stafford, Derek Duke, Neal Acree, Russell Brower)
Blue Dragon – Waterside ~for Piano and Orchestra~ (Nobuo Uematsu)
The Legend of Zelda – The Legend of Zelda Suite (Koji Kondo)
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – Reckoning Main Theme (Grant Kirkhope, Mark Cromer)
World of Warcraft: Fall of the Lich King – Invincible (Russell Brower. Derek Duke)
Viva Pinata – Oven Fresh Day (Grant Kirkhope)
Kingdom Hearts – March Caprice for Piano and Orchestra (Yoko Shimamura)
Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts – Banjoland (Night) (Grant Kirkhope, Robin Beanland, David Clynick)
The Elder Scrolls Online – For Blood, For Glory, For Honor (Jeremy Soule)
Final Fantasy X – Zanarkand (Nobuo Uemtasu)