So, we finally received another Final Fantasy Piano Collection. After the absence of an FF7 Piano Collection I thought that FF6 Piano Collections would be the last installment in the series. Fortunately this is not the case. Nobuo Uematsu has teamed up with Shiro Hamaguchi and Shinko Ogata and delivered a CD's worth of fine piano renditions of some of the music found in Final Fantasy VIII. I have to say that the team has managed to live up to the high expectations. Shinko Ogata seeems to be a very capable player and the arrangements, even though they stay quite close to the originals, breathe new life into the songs.
Even those songs that I didn't like in the OST sound superb. Take the first song "Blue Fields" for example. I didn't like the OST version at all, finding it boring and lacking in all aspects. However, the piano version (and the orchestrated on FF8 Fithos Lusec Vecos Winosec) is a totally different story. Somehow the piano is much more succesful in conveying the emotions and melody of the piece. The same goes for track 9, "Silence and Motion", the music from Esthar. The OST version was in my opinion one of the worst tracks on the whole OST, but the piano version is a totally different story. Maybe it's just because I'm fond of piano, but I really think that every song on this CD is great. I can't say that one track is better than the others since I have a new favorite each day.
The track selection is good, with some of the best tracks from the OST and some tracks that I didn't expect but that have come out very well. If I'm going to complain about anything, I think the selection is a bit too similar to FF8 Fithos Lusec Vecos Winosec. But on the other hand, the tracks they share are some of the best ones and it would have been a shame to miss any of their arrangements.
The previous Piano Collections are (among VGM lovers) considered classics, and in a few years this CD probably also will be considered a classic. Well-played and well-arranged. No sheet music is included (except for "Eyes on Me") but you can't have everything. Hurry up and buy it before you have to pay $200 for a used copy at eBay.