The Classic FM Hall Of Fame 2014 has now finished having broadcast across the Easter holiday here in the United Kingdom; and it’s been another sensational year for the campaign to get more recognition for classical and orchestrated video game music – with a record eight games represented in the list
History Of The Campaign
As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, the results of 2013 countdown went well beyond most people’s expectations, as Mark Robin’s organized push to get people to vote for their favorite video game music (under the banner of ClassicVGMusic on Twitter) resulted in ‘Dragonborn’ from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Jeremy Soule ousting the legendary Beethoven to notch 5th place, and ‘Aerith’s Theme’ from Final Fantasy VII composed by Nobuo Uematsu reaching the dizzying heights of 3rd spot – beaten only by multiple-time winners ‘The Lark Ascending’ by Vaughn Williams and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2. These results came on a list of 300 pieces of classical music voted for by well over 100,000 people each year. Elsewhere, British composer Grant Kirkhope’s score for Viva Pinata also made it to the charts in a very commendable 174th place; one of the highest new entries.
2014’s efforts have built upon the great success of last year, with more entries than ever before:
- Austin Wintory’s Grammy-award nominated soundtrack for Journey provided a great start to proceedings, with a debut on the Hall Of Fame at 289
- Kingdom Hearts (by the most famous female video game composer out there, Yoko Shimomura) was a new entry at 177
- The first of Kirkhope’s three entries in this years chart was for his work on Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning, with a new entry at 75
- Kirkhope also scored the highest climber of the year as Viva Pinata rose 120 places to 54 – fun for everyone!
- Russell Brower made an impressive debut for his work on the only MMORPG to be represented on the chart, World Of Warcraft, slotting in at 52
- Weighing in at 50; Banjo Kazooie. Yes, you read that right – Kirkhope’s third and final entry was the music from the adventures of the bear and bird duo (specifically from Nuts And Bolts)
And that left the two trailblazers (already confirmed by their presence on the 2014 album compilation) to fight it out at the peak of the summit again:
- Soule’s work on The Elder Scrolls was again recognized within the Top 20, but fell 12 places to 17. Still, it outdid Lord Of The Rings on the epic fantasy front.
- So once again, the music of Final Fantasy took the charge as far as it could go, finishing this year in 7th place. That’s three years in the Top 20 for ‘Aerith’s Theme’, and it may well be a mainstay for years to come
Whilst both Uematsu and Soule dropped a couple of places, the campaign has been more of a case of strength in numbers this year; Kirkhope’s three entries in particular was a highly pleasant surprise. It is noticeable however that out of the new entries, none are Nintendo games – despite the fact that music from Super Mario and The Legend Of Zelda in particular have been orchestrated and performed at concerts for many years now. There was also no entry for the Halo series, which would have been ironic given that composer Martin O’Donnell was recently terminated by Bungie.
Perhaps predictably, there have been naysayers who claim that video game music shouldn’t be on the list, and that the results came because of a voting movement rather than an organic appreciation of the music. I would certainly agree that a focus on voting for video game music helped the pieces getting as high as they did (and we must also take into account the way that Classic FM tally up the votes – any vote for an individual track from a Final Fantasy game for example goes towards an entry for the series as a whole, compared to composers such as Mozart or Elgar who get individual entries for different pieces of work), but the effect of such a movement has made more people aware of the music that is wonderful in it’s own right – the argument remains that if heard outside of context, would the same people deny they have heard a lovely piece of classical music?
Classic FM themselves have stated that scores from video games have as much a place on their list as film scores such as The Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars and Pirates Of The Caribbean, so we can expect that now that video games have had their exposure, they will be a recurring part of the Hall Of Fame for years to come. And for me, that’s a good thing.