|Image via Wikipedia|
For those of you who aren’t blessed with teenage boys, Skyrim isn’t an opera, it’s a best selling fantasy computer game. And this music isn’t the overture (the traditional opening musical piece to an opera), it’s the “Skyrim theme”.
Whatever. Skyrim is an interactive opera with you as the main character, set in a barbarian mythos worthy of Wagner. This is the overture.
In a comment to last week’s Prokofiev post, reader Dave H pointed out the really excellent classic music being composed for games these days. He’s quite right. Video games have passed Hollywood in sales; the Call Of Duty franchise of games has a much higher gross than the Star Wars franchise of motion pictures. These are big budget products, with serious actors for the voice parts (Skyrim has Christopher Plummer) and music budgets to attract serious classical talent.
And since we’re happy lacking in a landed aristocracy that would commission the talent of the day to produce music to glory their name, we at least have a market that supports quite interesting – if commercial – new classical music. In fact, the commercial appeal is what makes the music accessible: since it’s not funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, it has to appeal to a public much broader than the SWPL types who sit on NEA Grant Committees.
And so you get a barbarian overture hinting of Gorecki or Carl Orff, with a strong flavor of a rougher Wagner or Mahler. Is this great music? Beats me – I’m no music critic, nor am I a music historian (although I play one on my blog). But this is listened to my literally hundreds of thousands of people who otherwise might be putting some rap on their iPod.
Time will tell Jeremy Soule’s place (if any) in the pantheon of classical music greats, but Dave H is absolutely correct. Classical music is alive and well. You can pick it up at Game Stop.