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Piano Collections Final Fantasy X

[back cover]
Catalog Number: SSCX-10064 (reprint SQEX-10028)
Released On: February 20, 2002 (reprint July 22, 2004)
Composed By: Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Junya Nakano
Arranged By: Masashi Hamauzu
Published By: DigiCube (reprint Square Enix)
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD
Buy this CD from Play-Asia
Tracklist:

01 - At Zanarkand
02 - Tidus' Theme
03 - Besaid Island
04 - The Hymn of the Fayth
05 - Travel Agency
06 - Rikku's Theme
07 - Guadosalam
08 - The Thunder Plains
09 - Raid
10 - The Way of Purgation
11 - Suteki da Ne (Isn't It Wonderful?)
12 - Yuna's Decision
13 - People of the Far North
14 - Final Battle
15 - Ending Theme
Total Time:
56'33"

I admit I'm pretty partial to the Final Fantasy Piano Collections CDs, as the piano also happens to be my favorite instrument. Naturally, there are some collections that impress more than others. That, of course, depends on the quality of the piano arrangements which in turn determines how recognizable and enjoyable the songs are compared to their original counterparts. After being slightly disappointed by the overall music of both Final Fantasy VIII and IX, X's score was a relief and quite enjoyable - finally, a soundtrack I could listen to over and over. The thought of that music arranged for piano had me wasting no time in acquiring Final Fantasy X Piano Collections.

The first point in the collection's favor is 'Yuna's Determination', known better as the Calm Lands theme. Quite frankly, the original, while nice, was more on the boring side, but here almost sounds like it's more suited for a piano arrangement, and makes for a much more enjoyable listen. 'Tidus' Theme' was also a pleasant rendition, giving the same calm feeling of the original. The unmistakable tunes are 'To Zanarkand' and 'Suteki Da Ne'. The Piano Collections version of To Zanarkand naturally sounds the same as the original but softer with the feel of a real acoustic piano, whereas the sound of the original is more crisp and has a bit less feeling to it.

Tracks that might be difficult to arrange for the piano could go either very well or very poorly. And while the arrangement of 'Attack' (this translation says 'Raid') is quite lively, it's sometimes difficult to recognize. However, 'Decisive Battle' is very easy to pick out and has one of the best arrangements on the disc, while still managing to sound very energetic. For the most part, the arrangements on the disc are easy to recognize and arranged well. Listening to this album makes me envy Aki Kuroda (the performer's) talent on the piano, as most of these are not simple or plain arrangements.

Even if not all tracks are the most easily recognizable, the Piano Collections album still flows well as always. For anyone who loves Final Fantasy and/or piano arrangements, this CD is very much a worthy purchase, especially if you are a fan of Final fantasy X's original score. But if any readers are looking to start a collection of FF piano music, I would recommend the Final Fantasy VI and VII Piano Collections CDs before purchasing this one.

Reviewed by: Liz Maas

I've always been a fan of piano albums, especially those from the SNES Final Fantasy games. The PlayStation versions never really got me going, aside from a few tracks here and there. If Final Fantasy X Piano Collections is any indication, though, the series' piano albums are starting to dig themselves out of the pit of mediocrity.

Final Fantasy X's soundtrack was my favorite since VI, and the quality of both composition and sound quality was outstanding. That being said, I found the piano album to actually be a step down in terms of the enjoyment I got from it, though not a large step. The main problem was that the pieces were so highly arranged that some were unrecognizable except for a few sections, and I was often grasping to find the similarity to any of my favorite tracks from the game. The biggest culprits were Bisaido no Tou (Besaid Island) and Hymn of the Fayth, which is a shame, since I was expecting to readily recognize the Hymn of the Fayth: I had heard it so many times, and I really enjoyed it.

Fortunately, At Zanarkand and Travel Agency were highly faithful to the originals, as was the Ending Theme, and they were all very well done. Personally, I enjoyed the Ending Theme more from the OST, but hearing it played on piano was definitely appreciated. And yes, Suteki da ne was excellent as a piano solo. I found it beautiful and well-played. A surprise favorite of mine was The People of the Far North. The melody simply came alive on a piano, and it's really a moving piece, probably due to the reinforcement of the theme throughout the piece.

A word needs be said about pianist Aki Kuroda, though. While not the greatest of the Final Fantasy piano artists (I enjoyed Toshiyuki Mori of FF V Piano collection fame the most) she certainly does a wonderful job bringing Hamauzu's arrangements to life, to the benefit of the listener.

There is a healthy mix of upbeat and solemn pieces arranged here, and overall this is a very good album, though between this and the OST, I'd recommend getting the OST. However, since you probably won't have to decide between the two, I'd say pick up this album when you get the chance.

Reviewed by: Damian Thomas



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