Piano Collections- Kingdom Hearts

March 19, 2010 at 8:52 pm (Soundtracks) (, )

1. Dearly Beloved
2. Traverse Town
3. Hand in Hand
4. Missing You ~ namine
5. Sora – Allegro con brio
6. Kairi- Andante sostenuto
7. Riku – Scherzo e Intermezzo
8. Working Together – Allegro vivace
9. The 13th Side
10. Roxas
11. The Other Promise
12. Concert Paraphrase on “Dearly Beloved”

Being a piano player and a video game enjoyer, I had to get this. I’ve heard the Final Fantasy Piano collections as well, and I figured this would be as good.

Well, I figured it would be.

(Aas I own the sheet music, I can talk a bit about that too. Not that I learned (or can learn) every song, but whatever.)

Piano Collections are meant for experts. RCM level 7+ (although a bit less for Piano Collections FFIV and V from what I’ve heard). So it was a surprise to see that “Dearly Beloved” opened the album, almost unchanged from its soundtrack counterparts. But there’s not much other way we would want it. Despite it’s simple sound, it’s actually fairly complex, holding several melody lines at once. Which makes it a bit of a pain to play, but they weren’t going to let you off THAT easily. Also, I never would have guessed that there was a 5-note right hand chord in there.

I was really excited about “Traverse Town”, but I was rather let down. Again, it’s not amazingly difficult, but the arrangement is such a bore, and it doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s pretty repetitive, and there is very little noticeable variation to the ear. Nevertheless, I can’t hate the song, only because it is “Traverse Town” that we’re talking about.

“Hand in Hand” is a short song, and thankfully so, because it’s arrangement doesn’t go anywhere either. It’s a repetition of an even shorter sample, and it’s just a chain of long runs that don’t sound like they’re fun to play in the least. Sure it sounds impressive, but it’s a lot of flash, and very little substance. And there’s a disgusting chord shoved in there too that makes me cringe every time I hear it.

But here we start picking up. “Missing You ~ Namine” is really just a mesh of the two songs, and it’s not even like it’s a clean amazing transition either. But anyways, “Missing You” is not a song I remember from the game at all, but it’s quite impressive. Sure, it’s a short sample derivation as well, but they vary it so well that you hardly even notice. This is one of the songs I fully learned to play, and it’s pretty fun, although the climax of the first part of the song is pretty tough. Namine’s section is pretty close to the original song, and you can note that while it’s supposed to be a “Chromatic Glissando” at the end, that’s fairly well impossible to do well with one hand. It’s likely more or less a glissando on the black keys. Just a note. Anyways, it’s definitely one of the best songs on the album, not being ridiculously repetitive or difficult. Yay.

The next four songs are done as part of a Sonata, and I feel that because of this, they have a bit more of a rigid arrangement. A bad thing? A bit.

“Sora” had a likable theme in the game but it’s ridiculously repetitive here again, and I’m not a big fan of the arrangement,. It sounds very stiff (although I like the way they included a bit of Roxas’ theme in here). Anyways, marching band style songs are not my favourite when it comes to solo piano arrangements.

“Kairi” is a lot better, if not a bit short (and still a bit repetitive). It’s pretty well balanced, not being ridiculously difficult, and it sounds really nice. It also has a bit of an odd time signature change that I actually didn’t notice until I saw it in the sheet music.

“Riku” is a beast, and I have no idea how they were able to make it sound as good as it does. I would not have guessed that you have 16th notes running the whole time in the background, but they are played so softly that they’re hard to notice. Anyways, it’s interesting to note that Scherzi are generally playful, but this is ridiculously dark. Like “Sora”, it’s again ridiculously repetitive, but it’s also ridiculously epic, and thus ridiculously difficult to play.  I would never ever want to learn it for those reasons, but it’s nice to hear every now and then. Also they go through almost every key signature that there is (for flats anyways).

Ending the sonata is “Working Together”, a fighting theme from KH2. And allow me to say again that it is extremely repetitive. However it is a very fun sounding song, and I actually quite like it. The lightheartedness works, and it’s pretty impressive too. It’s pretty ridiculous to play as well though, jumping everywhere and fast chords left and right. I wish I could play it, but it’ll be a while now…

Toning things back down is “The 13th side”, and for those hoping for an epic medley like “The 13th Anthology” was, you’ll be sorely disappointed. It is, like the rest, a repetition of the same motif, but there’s enough variation to keep it going for the most part. The first part of the song is the opening XIII theme, and then we get an entire page of gradually building chords. An entire freaking page. And it’s all on the same motif (that lasts 4 bars). But if you can endure that, you’re let into the epic portion of the song, although the lead in is a bit weak, and the overall section is short. But once it gets going, it’s what you would expect from it, and it’s definitely a good run. It’s fairly difficult to play as well, mostly from the jumping chords, but it’s fun. Overall a good song.

Next we get Roxas’ theme, but a very watered down version of it. I actually like this one the most, because it’s simple and very emotional in that. It’s also short, so not repetitive. The opening also reminds me of a music box, which is equivalent to ultimate loneliness in my experiences. So another plus for the song. It’s not too hard to play at all, although there are some…interesting arpeggiated chords that require a really quick jump.

“The Other Promise” of course is simply the epic version of “Roxas”, and it actually fits in on the album quite nicely here. Sadly, like the Sonata and “Hand in Hand”, it’s a bit repetitive and ridiculously hard to play to the point where it just sounds like they’re showing off, and its very unnecessary. The song also sounds like it has two climaxes (both almost identical, and placed at opposite points in the song), which made me scratch my head. Sure, take parts of the song and it’s great, but as an overall cohesive piece, it doesn’t work as well as “Roxas” did. Shame.

The last song is the “Concert Paraphrase on Dearly Beloved”, which just means that it’s an epic arrangement of the song. Think I’ve said ridiculous enough times? I can’t say it enough for this song, but at least here it sounds good. The song starts off way too strong though. I mean, I remember hearing the sample of the song and thinking that it was a sample from the climax of the song, but it was a sample from the beginning. What the heck? But aside from that, it’s an incredibly impressive arrangement, and even when the song slows down it’s cool sounding. They’ve got this quick tap thing that sounds great with the damper pedal…well it’s cool. Very cool. But it’s still show-offy, and I’m jealous >_>

As for the packaging of the CD, as you can tell from the cover art, it’s very pretty. The booklet isn’t quite as good (it’s also pretty small, but that was expected). More shots of clouds than anything. But the FRONT IS SO PRETTY. The sheet music book is pretty standard too, and has the same cover (so I’ve tried my best to keep it mint condition). I like pretty things.

So overall, I think the album was ok. A lot of the source material was short, and they tried to make too much of it, and it didn’t entirely work too well. Most of the arrangements are really cool, but they are really repetitive, and compared to the other Piano Collections, half of these songs are harder than the hardest songs of the other collections. Which isn’t too consumer friendly, and it makes some of the songs sound really over-the-top.

7.5/10

Look out for the review for Piano Collections Kingdom Hearts Field & Battle, the second arranged album released almost a year later.

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