The first worldwide campaign of its kind by EMI is linked to the Video Games Live events planned in North and South America, Europe and Asia over the coming months and aims to appeal to a broad audience of gamers, non-gamers and music lovers of all kinds. Video Games Live: Volume One showcases some of the more popular segments that currently appear in Video Games Live. The album contains several unique arrangements that were created along with the original composers exclusively for the show, and have never previously been released.
Video games are arguably today’s most popular entertainment of choice for the 21st century, and the music is central to their attraction. The EMI Classics CD, compiled by Video Games Live co-creators Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, who also conducts the recording, features the Slovak National Orchestra, The Crouch End Festival Chorus and The Video Game Pianist, Martin Leung in medleys from hit game franchises such as Halo, Warcraft, Kingdom Hearts, Tetris, Castlevania, Myst and Tron.
Video Games Live: Volume One will be released in two stages: The digital release will be downloadable in the UK from July 7th, 2008, with the option to pre-order from a week before that on iTunes and other DSP’s (Digital Service Providers) with that capability; the release of the CD and iTunes exclusive, including digital bonus tracks, will be staggered to coincide with Video Games Live events, beginning in San Diego, California on July 24th (North America) and Leipzig, Germany on August 20th (Europe and worldwide).
Music in the interactive entertainment industry has come far in the past 35 years, from beeps and electrical impulses to early digital synthesis and sampling to pre-recorded soundtracks. As the games themselves have become more sophisticated, so has the music that drives them and a generation of composers are devoting their energies to writing for the video game medium.
Video Games Live is the largest and most successful video game concert in the world having already performed around the globe to over 250,000 people. The debut performance took place on July 6th, 2005 at the world famous Hollywood Bowl with the LA Philharmonic. Over 11,000 people attended making it the biggest video game concert in the world. Most of the game music played (Halo, Sonic, Metal Gear Solid, Warcraft, Tomb Raider, Myst, Kingdom Hearts, Tron, Medal of Honor, Advent Rising, etc.) had never been performed live. Video Games Live followed with groundbreaking first ever game concert performances in countries such as Brazil, England, New Zealand, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Scotland, Taiwan and Portugal. Video Games Live was also the very first American video game concert to perform in Asia (Korea). In 2007 they were recipients of a major industry award in Brazil for "Special Breakthrough Achievement" following their sold out performances in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Video Games Live concerts have since taken place around the world, selling out multi-thousand-seat venues within hours or days of being announced.
The live concert experience features music from the biggest games of all time. Top orchestras and choirs around the world perform along with exclusive video footage and music arrangements, synchronized lighting, solo performers, electronic percussion, live action and unique interactive segments to create an explosive one-of-a-kind entertainment experience. Special events surround the show, including pre- and post-show festivals.
In the coming months, Video Games Live will perform more concerts throughout the world. Forthcoming dates include: Houston and Austin, TX; Louisville, KY; San Diego and San Jose, CA; Indianapolis, IN; Brookville, NY; Birmingham, AL; Kansas City, MO; Chicago, IL; Newark, NJ; Burlington, VT; Seattle, WA; Kalamazoo, MI; Sarasota, FL and Richmond, VA; Vancouver, BC; Kitchener, ON; Calgary; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Leipzig, Germany; Glasgow, Scotland; Paris, France; Lisbon, Portugal; London, UK; Taipei, Taiwan; Beijing, China. Visit www.videogameslive.com for regular updates of the performance dates.
“If Beethoven were alive today, he would probably be a video-game composer... he was always ahead of the curve. One of his goals in creating music was to control the emotions of the person listening to it. This is exactly what we as game composers are constantly trying to accomplish.” (Video Games Live co-creator Tommy Tallarico)
“A touring multimedia show that has already been seen by more than 250,000 people is playing at the world's finest concert halls — with the world's finest orchestras powering through some of the world's most popular video-game music. And it's attracting a decidedly different audience. There were more than children and teenage gamers … [there were] a lot of grandmas out there.” (NPR – National Public Radio, U.S.)
- Kingdom Hearts
“Kingdom” written by Utada Hikaru • Orchestrator: Kaoru Wada
The KINGDOM HEARTS franchise is the result of a collaboration between Disney and Square-Enix. The ground-breaking fantasy action role-playing game received numerous awards and was a dominating presence upon its release in 2002. The single, Hikari (to which the instrumental version “Kingdom” was based) has sold over 1 million copies in Japan. Female songwriter Utada Hikaru’s first official album became the best-selling album of all time in Japan with over 10 million copies sold. Currently, three of her albums rank in the Top 10 all-time best-selling albums list in Japan.
- Warcraft Suite
Created by the development team at Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Warcraft is an award-winning fantasy series that is one of the fastest selling PC games ever. Blizzard's release of World of Warcraft, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) based on the Warcraft series, has shattered all sales records for an online game, and is currently the biggest subscription-based online game in the world.
Composer: Jason Hayes • Orchestrator: Benoît Grey
- Myst Medley
The Myst phenomenon catapulted the world of computer games to the forefront of consumer entertainment and broke many boundaries as the best-selling CD-ROM game. It appealed to many demographics and featured beautifully rendered environments and intricate puzzle-solving quests.
Myst Theme composed by Robyn Miller; Gallery Theme composed by Tim Larkin (BMI) • Myst III Main Theme and Myst IV Main Theme composed by Jack Wall (ASCAP) • Orchestrated by Steve Zuckerman
- Medal of Honor (LIVE)
Created and inspired by Steven Spielberg, the award-winning Medal of Honor series is one of the most convincing and well established wartime simulation game franchises, blending cinematic visuals with intense sound and music. Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino started in the video game industry and has since added films and television to his impressive list of credits which include TV shows Lost and Alias, motion pictures such as The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible III, Ratatouille, Speed Racer and even Space Mountain in Disneyland.
“Operation Market Garden” from Medal of Honor: Frontline™ published by Electronic Arts, Inc. Composed and orchestrated by Michael Giacchino • Recorded Live in Brazil, South America
- Civilization IV Medley
Composer: Christopher Tin (BMI) • Orchestrator: Christopher Tin • Alto solo: Nathania Reid • Tenor solo: Ron Ragin • Soprano solo: Nicole Bonsol • Choir: Stanford Talisman
Over the course of 15 years, Sid Meier’s Civilization series has come to define turn-based strategy games. Few games have managed to combine the sheer addictive depth that the Civilization series commands, and fewer have had such universal appeal. With unprecedented critical acclaim from fans and press around the world, Sid Meier’s Civilization game is recognized as one of the greatest PC game franchises of all time.
- Tetris Piano Opus No. 1
Tetris is a trademark of The Tetris Company and Blue Planet Software. Tetris theme (Music A) originally adapted and arranged from the Russian folk song “Korobeiniki” • Piano Arrangement: Martin Leung • Performed by: Martin Leung
Tetris is arguably the most beloved and biggest selling video game in the world. It was originally conceived and designed in 1985 by Alexey Pajitnov while working for the Soviet government in Moscow, Russia. “Music A” in the Nintendo Game Boy edition of Tetris is one of the most recognizable and popular songs from a video game. It is an instrumental arrangement of a vocal Russian folk tune called “Korobeiniki” which was based on a poem with the same name written in 1861. The first line of the translated lyrics read… “"Oy, the box is full, so full".
- God of War Montage (LIVE)
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc. • Composed by Gerard Marino • Recorded Live in Brazil, South America
God of War is a high-energy action-adventure game based on Greek mythology. It was extremely well received by critics and fans alike and was the recipient of many “Game of the Year” awards. It has been called the greatest PlayStation 2 game of all time by many top gaming magazines and websites. The award-winning score by Gerard Marino was his first credit as a game composer.
- Advent Rising Suite
Composers: Tommy Tallarico, Michael Plowman, Emmanuel Fratianni, Laurie Robinson • Orchestrated by Emmanuel Fratianni, Laurie Robinson and Christopher Nickel
Advent Rising is a third-person, intergalactic action/adventure wrapped in a visually imaginative universe that plays like a fast action movie. Famed science fiction novelist, Orson Scott Card, co-wrote the gripping storyline behind the game. The multi award-winning Advent Rising soundtrack has been noted as "one of the greatest musical scores of all time" by websites such as Yahoo, Gamespot and others.
- Tron Montage
Composed by Wendy Carlos; Orchestrated and adapted for Video Games Live by David Kates • Synthesizers programmed and performed by Matt Robertson
Disney’s 1982 action sci-fi cult classic masterpiece embraced video game aesthetics and has since inspired numerous blockbuster films and video games alike. Harnessing the latest technology available at the time, Tron was the first motion picture to ever use computer graphics and animation.
- Halo Suite
Composers: Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori • Orchestrated by Emmanuel Fratianni, Laurie Robinson, Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori • Guitars: Tommy Tallarico, Steve Vai, Chris Kline and Marcus Henderson • Voiceover: Cindy Shapiro
Halo is the blockbuster XBOX game developed by Bungie Studios that reinvented the first person shooter experience with action packed gameplay, an epic science fiction storyline and a multi award-winning soundtrack. The first Halo soundtrack received countless accolades including The Rolling Stone award for best original video game soundtrack, and its sequel Halo 2 became the #1 selling original video game soundtrack album in North America.
- Castlevania Rock (LIVE)
Castlevania series owned and published by Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. • Composers: Kinuyo Yamashita (Castlevania), Club Kukeiha (Castlevania III) and Michiru Yamane (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) • Arranged by Tommy Tallarico • Guitars: Tommy Tallarico and Dweezil Zappa • Keyboards: Martin Leung • Drums: Joe Travers • Bass: Peter Griffin • Recorded at Plaza Calafia Bullring - Mexicali, Mexico
The Castlevania series is one of Konami's most famous franchises and is a recognized landmark in the design of action-platforming games. The earliest games borrowed from motifs in iconic horror cinema, though the series later developed a more artistic and dramatic direction drawn from Gothic fiction and dark romanticism. This classic adventure series features some of the most addictive gameplay, beautiful graphical effects and contagious musical scores ever witnessed in a platform game. The musical styles for the Castlevania series range from Gothic and operatic rock to classical symphonia.
The album was engineered at EMI’s famous Abbey Road recording studios in London.