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Austin Wintory “Transfiguration” Review

Journey back with this piano collection

austinwintoryJourney’s soundtrack was one of the most spellbinding pieces of music to have been committed to ear. It holds that title as well today as it did on first listen. It was to my surprise that a piano collection was released this week then from Austin Wintory himself. Taking the orchestrations away, Journey’s melodies are left bare with the ivory wonder.

Opening with “Nascence” the main melody is carefully played. It’s slow, deliberate and faithful to the original. Unlike a lot of the fantastic Final Fantasy piano collections, this strives for staying close to the source. “Threshold” continues that mentality but has the chance to breathe its movements back and forth. It has some very quiet sections where the fingers must be only caressing the keys however there’s a lack of loudness in the more dramatic parts and that makes the beautiful rendition a little less impactful. Instead it feels more playful yet lonely. “Road of Trials” is the most flamboyant track with its flurries of high notes and bombastic lower notes. “Final Confluence” gets a little lost between two bigger tracks but is faithfully recreated on the piano before “Apotheosis” storms its rendition despite feeling at the beginning that it’s a bit of a one note smasher. As the track continues to grow and stretch fluid arpeggios and emotional melodies flood through. It’s the best rendition of this collection. The piano collection closes with “I Was Born For This” which actually has the vocals included for a beautiful reworking. This time the vocals are soft and angelic instead of ethereal and it works perfectly.

Transfiguration is a tough one to review because in many ways I was looking for more. The songs are very faithfully recreated but as a whole the collection feels like it’s been transcribed directly without taking a risk in interpretation. If you are looking for straight forward arrangements, you’ll love this – but if Final Fantasy X-2’s piano collection is your favourite because it was so different to the source material, you may not hold it so highly. As it is though, it its lovely to have for the final two tracks alone.

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