C64 Orchestra and Video Games Live
Here's one for our good pal Disrupt (dubsmith and lover of all things C64) over at Jahtari. Tomorrow in the Netherlands a Dutch orchestra is premiering their arrangements of several pieces from classic Commodore 64 video game soundtracks. They've put up a Myspace page with rehearsal takes of their performances. Be sure to check out International Karate, and for reference you should listen to Disrupt's take on the same piece (Jahtari's first ever release).
In somewhat related news another friend of ours, composer Christopher Tin, has a piece premiering tonight at the Hollywood Bowl as part of the Video Games Live concert. It's the immensely popular "opening menu" theme from Civilization IV :
"Baba Yetu" is receiving its world-premiere at the Hollywood Bowl on September 21st, 2006. The acclaimed song has been added to the Video Games Live concert tour, with planned performances in New York, London, Tokyo, Sydney, and other major cities around the world. The concert features the best in video game music, both classic and contemporary, performed by a live orchestra and choir.You can hear "Babu Yetu" via Chris's site.
Are all these orchestral treatments of video game music, both classic and contemporary, an attempt to elevate the genre to the level of "art music"? Perhaps, but I don't think it needs much help. I have it on good authority that video game music just keeps getting better and better, and that many talented young composers would prefer to work in games than in film, due to the relative degree of compositional and entrepreneurial freedom this affords them.
In any event, we wish Chris the best of luck tonight at the Hollywood Bowl....