Final Fantasy Vocal Collections I – Pray – “Prelude” (Nobuo Uematsu, Risa Ohki)January 2, 2010
It’s the start of a new year, with a clean slate and a new set of goals. I think most people become optimists or full of relief and hope with the new year, and I know I’m glad the old one’s over! So to kick off the New Year, I decided I would pick up a few title and intro themes to games. I’m starting with the classic “Prelude” from Final Fantasy, this time a remix from the Vocal Collections album Pray. This is a rather unique version of the theme as it is mostly done a capela by the lovely Risa Ohki.
“Prelude” is traditionally played with harp only, though this version adds vocals to great effect. The notes go all over the scale, gradually rising higher or lower to draw the listener into this magical world that Nobuo Uematsu has created through his music. The series had a theme of magic crystals early on, and so this is suggested by the theme, but “Prelude” also gives the sense of opening an epic story of the past, the invocation of the legend by the bard. Risa Ohki’s voice gives a beautiful sense of wonder to the song.
Risa Ohki (aka Ririko Yamabuki) has mostly done drama albums, but performed the two Final Fantasy Vocal Collection albums as well as a couple Ogre Battle albums. She has been recorded layered several times to produce the multiple voices, so there is not a group of singers. Ohki-san sings the other songs on the album, other Final Fantasy pieces that have lyrics added to them and are all very calming. They benefit strongly from Ohki-san’s powerful voice, which gives such pronounced strength through “Toki no Horousha” in particular, but also has that gentle touch through others like “Prelude” and “Mon Petit Chat”. Pray really is an excellent album and a nice change from the instrumental pieces that most vgm albums are (and I also have to say I appreciate Final Fantasy‘s minimalist style for the album art). It was reprinted in 2004, but now I believe it is back out of print.