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Final Fantasy VI Piano Collections :: Review by Jared

Final Fantasy VI Piano Collections Album Title: Final Fantasy VI Piano Collections
Record Label: NTT Publishing
Catalog No.: PSCN-5005 (1st Print); NTCP-1003 (Reprint)
Release Date: July 25, 2001; June 25, 1994
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Final Fantasy VI has always struck me as a game with gorgeous music. The melodies are memorable, touching, and they stay with you for ages after you hear them for the first time. This nostalgic quality is one of Final Fantasy VI's greatest features; few other games leave such a feeling overall.

The melodies of Final Fantasy VI are wonderfully arranged and performed for solo piano by Reiko Nomura in this album. She does a wonderful job at keeping the feel of the original tracks, while experimenting and adding more interest to the music. The arrangements all sound wonderful on piano, and are performed with meticulous expression.

The album covers numerous different musical styles and feelings. Some arrangements are somber, while others are simply overflowing with energy. Regardless of the style, Nomura pleases with her inventive, yet faithful, reworking of these classic themes.

Track-by-Track Reviews

1) Tina

This has got to be one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, piano arrangements that I have ever heard. Starting with somber, subtle chords, soon the gorgeous melody of "Terra's Theme" softly floats above, and nostalgia just smacks you in the face. It is so simple, yet complex in emotion. The addition of arpeggios in the left hand adds movement to the piece, and keeps it flowing from section to section. The emotion never stops. The mood changes shortly, to a grand and adventurous melody played over noble martial chords. Soon, we return back to the original theme, and it seems even more beautiful the second time around. The ending is perfectly somber and calm. The arrangement of "Tina" is as close to perfection as I've yet found. I can find no flaws in the piece, no matter how hard I try; both performance and composition is completely sublime. (10/10)

2) Gau

"Gau," much like "Tina," is gorgeous in its delivery. The nostalgia is there, and the simplicity of this arrangement is refreshing. The melody is noble and uplifting, and the background harmony always perfectly fits. The addition of a powerful climax adds a whole new dimension to the piece; combining force with beauty is often hard to do, but it works wonders here. Despite this, the arrangement isn't flawless. Clocking in at 2:19, it is much too short, as well as being a bit on the repetitive side. The melody is beautiful, but it doesn't feel as if it goes anywhere. Also, the ending is unexpected and hurts the overall feeling of the piece. Overall, it's a great arrangement brought down by a lack of material. (8/10)

3) Cefca

Following two slower arrangements comes the upbeat and devious "Cefca." This arrangement is interesting all the way through, and the articulations help along the 'crazy' feel this piece gives off. The use of staccato accompaniment over legato melody really fleshes out the mood, as well as the wonderfully accented melody. All of these elements, when put together, lend their hand to a wonderfully playful, manic arrangement that perfectly suits the titular character. As with "Gau," however, the piece ends very abruptly and lacks any true close. That is the only true flaw I could find with the arrangement. (9/10)

4) Spinach Rag

Next we are presented with one of two tracks on the album arranged very stylistically. "Spinach Rag" was composed and arranged in the style of the classic Scott Joplin rags, such as "The Entertainer" and "Maple Leaf Rag." It is heavily stereotypical, but heavily enjoyable as well. Throughout the entire arrangement, you could probably guess what comes next; despite this, the arrangement remains interesting and light-hearted. At the end, it finally variates a bit with a part that starts off slow and heavy and accelerates back to the light feel the arrangement begun with. Being stereotypical, it can easily get annoying, especially the left had part and its repeating jumping "1 and 2 and" bass motif. It is, mostly in the bass, overly repetitive and often annoying. (7/10)

5) Stragus

"Stragus" is very heavily experimental, but unfortunately fails in its delivery. What could have been a charming melody is instead twisted into a dissonant, broken mess. Occasionally, a wonderfully tonal section will break the chaos, but its over before you know it.

To be honest, it is quite hard to sit through the entirety of this arrangement. There are several sections that are good, including one at the end, but these either end too quickly or repeat overly too much. The ending is badly done as well, and instead of ending on the decent section before it, the dissonance comes back and it's the last thing heard. Nomura gets points for trying, but this is an example of an experiment gone wrong. (2/10)

6) The Mystic Forest

Next up is, in my opinion, the second best arrangement on the album, second only to "Tina." This is an arrangement of the famous forest theme of Final Fantasy VI. It's beautifully eerie and subtle. The melody is haunting as it flies high above the accompaniment, almost as if the melody itself were a ghost. The use of pedaling helps the ethereal, phantom feel of the arrangement, as well as the softly played, yet high pitched melody line. As with "Tina," I could find no flaws; this arrangement is wonderfully expressive and supernatural. (10/10)

7) Kids Run Through The City Corner

Uematsu's most gorgeous town theme is gently arranged here. The melody is hugely nostalgic, perhaps even more than "Tina." The simple melody and accompaniment is interesting and peaceful at the same time, while being free of complexity. Parts of this arrangement are extremely uplifting; others very somber. One possible flaw would be that the melody repeats itself a lot, but the melody is so beautiful that there is no way it can be heard too much. The ending is perfect; the piece fades off into solemn chords. Outstanding. (10/10)

8) Johnny C. Bad

Next up we are treated to another extremely stylistic piece. This is cheesy piano jazz at its best. The walking bass, swung melody, and decoration is as typical as it can be, but it's amazingly great at the same time. This arrangement is a pleasure to listen to, and almost makes me feel like getting up and dancing. You've most likely heard every motif in this piece somewhere before, but here they are combined in a witty and cheerful way.

The walking bass repeats nearly the whole piece, but that just adds to its character, and I personally never found it annoying. This tracks ends wonderfully in a jazz chord following a progression of downward bass notes. Just listening to the energetic, flashy melodies in the right hand is a joy any time of the day. (10/10)

9) Mystery Train

Similar to "The Mystic Forest," this track conveys a very eerie feel. Unlike "Forest," though, this arrangement is very energetic and often loud. Combining the energy of "Cefca" with the eeriness is perfectly managed, and as such makes this one of the most interesting tracks on the entire album. Like "Gau," it is much too short for the material it covers. It is wonderful throughout its length, but being only 2:34, the track leaves you wishing for more. However, at least it leaves you well, fading off into the distance. (9/10)

10) The Decisive Battle

Another experimental track, "The Decisive Battle" is very unlike any other track on the album. However, it succeeds due to the wonderful melodies and unrelenting energy. The harmony supporting the melody is beautiful yet ruthless, often with pounding chords and intense arpeggios. Due to the insistent energy though, the piece is hard on the nerves and requires some effort to listen to it at times. It never stops, or rarely even slows, and is often a chore to listen to what all is going on at once. Despite this though, Nomura effectively arranges a battle track for piano, a feat that has been proven difficult to do. (10/10)

11) Coin Song

Next we have yet another flawless arrangement. In terms of length, this one is perfect; at nearly five minutes, there is plenty of material within, and all of it is worth hearing again and again. The piece utilizes a very sad version of "Edgar and Sabin," and transforms that noble piece into an earnest tearjerker. It develops perfectly, is played perfectly, and is from the heart. What more is to ask? (10/10)

12) Celes

Just as you think this album can't get any better, it does. "Celes" is an arrangement of the legendary "Aria di Mezzo Caraterre," from the famed opera sequence in Final Fantasy VI. The beauty of the melody is brought out in good fashion with a simple piano arrangement. It is faithful to the melody of the original; nothing much is changed, and that is a very good thing. Instead of changing the melody to add beauty, Nomura adds beauty to change the melody. The melody soars with the accompaniment, and even though the piece is little over three minutes long, it is a stunning three minutes. (10/10)

13) Waltz de Chocobo

This arrangement is a bit of a hit-and-miss, if that makes any sense. Parts of it are great, others are not. The melody doesn't fit well into the 3/4 waltz style, and sounds very broken. However, at the same time it is wonderfully inventive in the accompaniment and melody variation. At first, it doesn't sound much like a waltz at all, but as it goes on and on it becomes more and more of one. However, it is hard to listen to because of the pausing in the melody and accompaniment from translating over to 3/4. (6/10)


The soundtrack to Final Fantasy VI is often heralded as his best, and for good reason; the majority of the soundtrack is simply beautiful. It features memorable melodies, a variety of styles, and sublime emotion. Reiko Nomura arranges his masterpieces wonderfully for this album. With the exception of "Stragus," all of these tracks are worthy of several listens. She accents the nostalgia, brings out the beauty, and reinvents the accompaniment with fresh harmonies. I have no major complains aside from "Stragus" and some tracks could benefit massively from a little added length or a more appropriate ending.

Overall Score: 9/10