Along with his work on video games such as World of warcraft, Irish composer and conductor Eimear Noone made history in 2020 when she became the first woman to lead the orchestra at the Oscars. No one is surprised to see the gap between classical music and video games narrowing. “A lot of game composers come from the classical world, so it makes sense that we apply that to everything we do,” she says.
“It’s very exciting for me, as an orchestral musician, to see how many people experience orchestral music both as live music and as music through their game consoles. I’ve had the privilege of meeting literally tens of thousands of video game fans in person, and people will say to me, “Oh, my favorite song is from World of warcraft, ‘and I’ll say,’ Does that mean your favorite band is the orchestra? ‘ And they’ll say, ‘Yeah, maybe!’ “
While Land of Silence is not a video game production, Bocker didn’t shy away from a video game aesthetic to make it appealing to today’s audiences, especially when it comes to Shimomura’s music. “For Merregnon: Land of Silence, that was the kind of direction I wanted to go. Very memorable, accessible and catchy melodies for all character and city themes etc.
Emphasis is also placed on education in Land of Silence, similar to the way Pierre and the Wolf introduce children to the different instruments of the orchestra. In Land of Silence, the characters have their own themes and instruments. Its protagonist, the orphan Miru, is represented by the cello, her dog, Mako, by the marimba, and the antagonist, Skissor, by the clarinet. Bocker hopes this will prompt questions about specific audience instruments, but he wants to stress that the focus is still on entertainment.
“Of course the educational part is important, but we don’t want to make it too obvious. My main interest is to entertain people and at best to show them how cool an orchestra can be, what cool sounds can be produced, and how fun the experience can be.
While many in the classical world see the benefits of the video game crossover, some classical music directors and purists still feel that video game compositions do not stand up to the classical repertoire. Grammy-winning producer and director Arnie Roth believes those opinions only hold them back.
“Why are these walls erected? This is not how people live their lives. I understand and would regret the loss of the classic foundation and structure, so it’s important to keep it, but it’s also important to change and grow, ”he says.
Roth believes that many who attend video game concerts will be receptive to great classical music when they hear it; the challenge is just to get them heard, so they can connect their favorite video game composers to what inspired them.