Final Fantasy VI Piano Collections is a masterpiece. Pure and simply, it has a standard that not one song even remotely drops under. Reiko Nomura takes centre stage as the performer and injects life, emotion and energy into each arrangement that will have you hitting the repeat button again and again.
“Tina”, the opening track, has the most beautiful arpeggios that float into your soul. Combine that with the magnificent main melody of “Tina” and you have a formidable song. “Gau” has a certain darkness about it that keeps you on edge. The off tone build-ups are marvellous and the structure of the song is key to its success.
“Cefca” is an absolutely mesmerizing song. The evil and twitchy off kilter approach is superb and the character is cleverly perceived with cunning delight. This piece is a true masterpiece. “Spinach Rag” is a swinging song that you could put to a Laurel and Hardy film. The playing is fantastic and song is upbeat and catchy.
“Stragus” is a bizarre song, that is made to sound clumsy and sneaky, and it produces it to 100% effect. It has charm and wit, and a piece of elegance that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with the song. Its alter ego “The Mystic Forest” is a spooky and naturally mystic song. It is wonderfully founded and well played. This song has all the trimmings, especially in a fantastic middle piece.
“Kids Run Through The City Corner” is a beautiful song, which has a strong melody; elegance and that regal feel that makes it feel important while “Johnny C Bad” is a traditional blues song, following the same traditional blues chord pattern and making sure the listener loves every moment of it. It is a piece of magnificent piano playing, one that is very complex. At the end we get a fantastically hard played piece to jive to and even your Nan will tap her feet to it! “Mystery Train” is an abstract piece, is the same breath as “The Mystic Forest”, only more comically mystical.
“The Decisive Battle” is another all time favourite as its precise, powerful, complex and perfectly played. As with all the piano collections battle song, its hard and fast and a very quick song, but perfectly judged. Hats off to Reiko for getting it right – I wonder how many takes these arrangements take?
“Coin Song”, like many songs is a juxtaposition of the previous, and is the most calming, gentle and sombre song on the album. Its delicate voice will grow on you, and I adore this song after several listens, despite still having an adrenaline rush from the previous song. If you don’t adore this song, you have no heart! “Celes” is once again, a slightly sombre song but the theme is infectious and you’ll love it all the same. To finish up with roller-coaster album is an upbeat “Waltz De Chocobo” which while is not the best Chocobo version, ends the album on pleasant note and will ensure you leave with every sense used and brought to shreds.
Final Fantasy VI Piano Collections could well be the finest of them all, especially if you’re already nostalgic to the originals. It has a bit of everything to ensure that everyone has some great moments along the way. Put simply it’s a must-have.