Symphony of the Goddesses

If you haven't heard of the Symphony of the Goddesses tour... well, you need to check it out. That goes double if you love Zelda and that goes triple if you love symphonies. I was fortunate to be heading to my hometown for a few weeks at the end of July when the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra was doing a leg of the Symphony of the Goddesses tour. For those unfamiliar with symphonies, the orchestra plays four movements to tell a story. Naturally, this is perfect for Zelda, as the game has a strong story.

Naturally, the BSO did a fantastic job. I wasn't surprised about that in the slightest. (I even started tearing up during the Wind Waker symphonic movement because it was so beautiful.) What I find the most inspiring about the Symphony of the Goddesses is the combination of two different mediums and how it introduces people to classical music, and further how it changes the stuffy, high-class atmosphere of traditional concerts.

First, Zelda music has evolved. Game music in general has evolved so much from the days of clean chiptunes with a memorable melody. We have full-scale movements, background music to set the mood (think of the Journey soundtrack composed by Austin Wintory). It's complex. It can be soothing. It can be unnerving. It can be exciting. It can be cute. It can be serious. Game music can be any one of these things. Perhaps it'd even be better that it's a mix of several different things as music is a tool to draw the player in and evoke a particular emotion in them. While many of the themes in Zelda we know today actually date back to A Link to the Past, the way they're played in <i>Skyward Sword</i> or <i>Twilight Princess</i> or even <i>Wind Waker</i> is so drastically different from the classic music on the SNES. I think it's amazing how there can be symphonies of video game music. I don't think this fact by itself shows that games and game music has matured (as cutesy, fun music is still important in some games), but it does show that no two games have the exact sound. As they shouldn't! A game's music should be unique to that game's theme.

Second, a few years ago, I would never be caught listening to symphonic movements. The only string instrument I got behind was a guitar because rock music is cool. And given the choice between classical music and rock music, I'd take rock. But video games actually got me interested in more traditional forms of music.

Most importantly, and much to my concert music veteran sister's dismay, there was no universal dress code at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall that night. Tickets for the majority of symphony orchestras are not cheap. The tickets to Symphony of the Goddesses weren't that cheap either, but I was able to get a good seat in the center, rear orchestra seating for $45. I had planned on attending the concert in a Zelda t-shirt and jeans; however, my sister gave me enough crap about it that I ended up changing into a nice shirt and skirt. Lo and behold, when I arrived, most people wore casual clothing, and some people had come in costume. It's amazing what a different atmosphere the symphony hall had that night, and the amount of passion the audience, the conductor, and the musicians all shared that night.