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Seiji Honda – “Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections” Review

After a long wait, too long for some, Final Fantasy VII finally gets its own Piano Collections set. Taking 13 tracks from the OST, they are arranged in mind for the piano to produce some of the most impressive and flowing pieces yet in the Piano Collections series. Tinkling the ivories is Seiji Honda, a newcomer to the arrangement series on Final Fantasy – but you’d never know it – the arrangements are stunning!

Tifa’s Theme opens up with a surprisingly tender piece that works out a lot better than what the original did; replacing the whiny snyth’s with the soft plinks of the piano to really set the atmosphere. “Main Theme Of Final Fantasy VII” is intricately played to great effect too with its scaling grandness beautifully rendition. “Chino de Chocobo” however is less successful, being a bit too clumsy and straightforward, not to mention sounding like a few duff notes were hit (or at least it sounds it).

“Ahead On Our Way” however restores the bliss with carefully spaced piece, allowing for a bitter-sweet taste that leaves you on a soft high, another surprise conversion.

Nothing can prepare you for “Fighting” though, as its power, rage and waves of energy take the speakers over. Still in amongst the most raging of battle themes, its still able to melodic and upstanding as a tune in its own right and is possibly the stand out track from the album.

“Cosmo Canyon” is a song that has been completely transformed into another time, place and culture. With a strong, but bare tune to go on, its been added to, beefed out and made into a complex and proud piece that will delight the listeners and rank up there with the favourites. Superb stuff! “Gold Saucer” gets a chirpy conversion that has some great pace and tweaks to it that comes across to me like a childish snowball fight scene song. Cute but with buckets of charm.

“Farm Boy” is a slower version of the song, which is pleasant enough without ever really getting into your ears, before “Rufus’ Welcoming Ceremony” gives a formal and grandeur representation to the album with a great piece that loses none of its regal charm.

“J-E-N-O-V-A” is the song with the real pace and with its full-bodied slides up and down the piano in an endless assault on the keys. Personally I adore this song, which at first seemed too much for me, but with each listen a new appreciation is found.

Then comes the crowd pleaser “Aerith’s Theme”. Thankfully, the safest route was always going to be the best way to go, and although rivalled by Tifa’s Theme for best slow song on the album, this one takes it marginally. Rarely does a piece so soft touch a person, but upon each play it never fails to touch you. In stark contrast “One Winged Angel” sounds like a bizarre b-movie theme tune. That’s either good or bad depending on how you like typical old cliché horror music, but there’s no denying it has a feel all of its own, and you will be singing “Sephiroth” along with the piano as it builds up to its climax.

“Descendant From Shinobi” closes the album in a light hearted fashion with winner of best happy track of the album, turning what was a fun little number into a classy track for everyone to hum along to in style.

All in all, Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections was definitely worth the wait. None of the 13 tracks are awful, and the album flows perfectly raising the pulse with a monstrous battle tune, only to sooth it again with a sweet ballad. Excellently pitched, excellently played and creatively transposed. Top listening!

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