Without a doubt, an arranged album that matches the quality of its game counterpart.
If you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy series, there is probably very little doubt that you have not played it’s sixth installment. Whether or not you believe it’s the best in the long line of Final Fantasy games, one thing about the production cannot be denied: it boasts by far the most memorable soundtrack in role playing game history. This is heard across many different albums released under the Final Fantasy brand, but without a doubt, one album clearly stands out above the rest in quality, deserving high praise for it’s execution and creating arrangements that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Niccolò Paganini would be proud of.
The album being referenced, is Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale.
Let’s just get this one tidbit out of our way: if you’re expecting a note for note album to the original soundtrack in the game, this album is not for you. I would recommend the original soundtrack, which holds all the songs in their original arrangement, right from the game. With that said, let us continue onward.
If you had to describe this album in one word, it would be elegant. Every track, every note, every arrangement displays a level of care from Nobuo Uematsu (composer) and by Shiro Sagisu and Tsuneyoshi Saito (both responsible for the arrangements) that speaks behind the passion that the Milan Symphony Orchestra poured into crafting this album. From the first moment that you begin to listen, the recognizable tracks come to life courtesy of not just an orchestral environment, but also in a fashion that feels as if you’re being treated to a grand concert, enjoying movement after movement delivered by an amazing cast of musicians. The only thing missing here is a pause in between tracks to an audience giving a grand ovation at the end of every movement.
A wish of mine: being able to recommend a specific track that stands out above the rest. It’s nearly impossible to do so. Everything on here, top to bottom, hits their mark. It’s a brilliant soundtrack, and one that fans of Final Fantasy, and especially VI, should have no business being without. I will go ahead and definitely say this: If the famous opera scene is still etched in your mind, then “Aria di Mezzo Carattere” 5:53″ Will bring you to your knees. While I also desire the album was longer, hitting even more tracks found in the game, the selection made to craft this album was undeniably near perfect. I would dare say the only reason why I wished for more tracks was not because I felt empty at the end, but because I wanted the ride to continue onward.
Label: NTT Publishing
Release Date: October 29, 1994
Catalog Number: PSCN-5004
1. “Omen – Terra’s Theme” 7:57
2. “Kefka” 3:24
3. “Phantom Forest” 4:46
4. “Gau’s Theme” 5:18
5. “Milan de Chocobo” 5:36
6. “Troops March On” 4:25
7. “Kids Run Through the City” 3:13
8. “The Airship Blackjack” 4:16
9. “Relm’s Theme” 5:38
10. “Phantom Train” 4:01
11. “Aria di Mezzo Carattere” 5:53
The Final Judgement
After experiencing this amazing album, I believe you will find it hard not to use this as your measuring stick to assess what the quality of your favorite game's arranged soundtrack should be. Oh, and by the way, obtaining the album is now easier than ever with it's availability on the iTunes store, at a price that you can't really argue about (Let's just say a trip to 5 Guys is infinitely more expensive).
Don't let this amazing score go ignored. Purchase, listen and enjoy Uematsu's finest works.