A new type of Final Fantasy music is making its way to London’s LSO St. Luke’s Jerwood Hall in February. A New World: intimate music from Final Fantasy aims to deliver the same great Final Fantasy music that Distant Worlds has been serving up for several years now, but on a smaller, more personal scale.
Instead of a full orchestra, A New World will make use of a string quartet, piano and guitar solos, duos, trios and other mixed groups of instrumentalists in order to reach even more Final Fantasy fans around the world.
We got a chance to talk with Arnie Roth, the Music Director for both Distant Worlds and A New World about the latest entry to the Final Fantasy music scene.
Gamer Escape: As a long time fan of both the music of Final Fantasy and Distant Worlds, I’m very excited to hear about A New World. How did you come up with the idea to compose intimate Final Fantasy music?
Arnie Roth: For quite some time, I have been aware of the inherent limitations of size and scale with the Distant Worlds concerts: there are clearly many cities, smaller concert venues, universities, colleges, and conventions that have great Final Fantasy fan bases but cannot manage presenting something the size of Distant Worlds, both from the physical space needed as well as the over 100 musicians needed. I felt there was a strong need for creating this new intimate concert project.
Gamer Escape: In March of last year, you had the Intimate Evening event in Chicago. How did that event influence A New World?
Arnie Roth: That was actually a bit of a test run, as was the short chamber music performance we staged in Chicago and London, before the 25th Anniversary Celebration concerts last November. It indicates how long we have been developing this concept.
Gamer Escape: There are a lot of songs in the Final Fantasy catalog. How do you go through and select the songs for your performances? Does this process change for A New World when you’re not using a full orchestra?
Arnie Roth: We had a very beautiful template from the orchestra concerts that had been developed in Japan years earlier by Nobuo Uematsu, Shiro Hamaguchi and Square Enix, with their concerts in Japan from 1999 (Tour de Japon) through 2005 (Dear Friends). Distant Worlds represents the further development of this model, with visual elements and expanding repertoire. The choices regarding new repertoire for Distant Worlds is decided by Nobuo Uematsu and myself, in consolation with Square Enix and of course my own team members, AWR Music Productions. The choices of repertoire for A New World: intimate music from Final Fantasy have been made by Square Enix and myself, in consultation with Nobuo Uematsu. So the process is similar.
Gamer Escape: Dark World has already been announced for the London concert. Can you give us any hints at some other pieces attendees can expect to hear? I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about the chance of Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV music appearing.
Arnie Roth: Count on FFXI music on the program. But in general, count on a good representation of music from throughout the 25 years of Final Fantasy. However, I can tell you that there is almost no overlap of repertoire between Distant Worlds and A New World. We have strived to include many new pieces in the intimate concert that fans have been asking about for some time now.
Steinway Piano Competition-winner Benyamin Nuss and the Schallplattenkritik Award-nominated Navarra String Quartet will be joining Arnie Roth on stage during the London premiere of A New World: intimate music from Final Fantasy.
Gamer Escape: We have Distant Worlds and now, A New World. What is your vision for these two going forward?
Arnie Roth: The two concerts are going to provide very different experiences, and will complement each other. Look for Distant Worlds to continue touring the major cities and concert venues around the world, while A New World will begin to present the intimate chamber music concerts of Final Fantasy music in many locations and venues where Distant Worlds cannot perform. There will also occasionally be cities where we can perform both concerts within the same engagement. I am excited about the expansion and the diversity of these projects, and being able to bring the music of Final Fantasy to new venues and locations.
It’s great to see the Final Fantasy concerts expanding and reaching even more fans and even more exciting to hear that they’re going to be adding new songs to the program that haven’t been performed before! What song would you love to see performed for A New World that Distant Worlds hasn’t covered yet? Let us know in the comments below!