Arts preview: "The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses" adds to videogame’s mythology

  • Photo credit: Andrew Craig
By Columbus Alive
From the October 24, 2013 edition

The music of popular video games has transformed into a genre of art all its own. London Philharmonic Orchestra has produced an album of great moments in video game music. Myriad YouTube users have posted videos of themselves doing a rendition of the “Super Mario Brothers” theme song with any manner of instrument — piano, jazz flute, mouth. “Grand Theft Auto's” and “Guitar Hero's” soundtracks have launched or relaunched or turned up the heat on already-hot careers. 

But "The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses," which is hanging its sheath and sword in Columbus this weekend, is a first in video game concert history. The symphony is a multimedia display focused on the music of the video game "The Legend of Zelda."

"Music is a huge part of the series. The musical integrated within the context, the telling of the story," said creative producer Jeron Moore. "It's a good old-fashioned battle between good and evil, saving the princess, high stakes, solving puzzles, fighting bad guys, working toward a climactic confrontation. ‘Zelda’ is almost sort of a Joseph Campbell experience, a hero journey that human beings crave. It's not unlike 'Star Wars' or 'Indiana Jones' except that it was a video game."

Inspired by the musical performances based solely on the music of those movies, Moore, who is a lifelong player and fan of both “Zelda” and classical music, thought why not create a whole four-movement symphony from music of his favorite game. Fellow fans, apparently, could not have agreed more.

His team's resumes are the makings of nerd legend. Conductor Susie Benchasil Seiter worked with her husband, Chad Seiter, on conducting and orchestrating "Star Trek: The Video Game" and is orchestrating the next concert tour of Pirates of the Caribbean Live. Chad, who is also the music director of the visiting “Zelda” symphony, has composed music for the 2013 video game adaption of "Star Trek" and orchestrated music for "Lost," "Fringe" and "Star Trek."

And although there are more than 25 years of music from “The Legend of Zelda” franchise from which to choose, the four movement symphony's selections are "strong melodies that I think are every part as important to the fiction of ‘The Legend of Zelda’ as the fiction is to them," Moore said. "Ocarina of Time," "The Wind Waker," "Twilight Princess," "A Link to the Past," and "Link's Awakening" among them. 

The new arrangements of the classic gaming songs are all directly approved, Moore added, by the franchise's producer and Koji Kondo, Nintendo's composer and sound director. 

“Zelda,” in other words, is in good hands. In fact, Moore and all his fanboydom happily hosts the evening. 

Princesses, heroes and oracles are encouraged to attend (read: come dressed up or at least prepared to see plenty of other people dressed as characters from the game). Tickets are $35 to $90.