Friday, 20 September 2013 13:26

Grand Rapids Symphony celebrates 25 years of Zelda magic

Written by  Allison Parker
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Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses
Grand Rapids Symphony, DeVos Performance Hall
Oct. 19, 8 p.m.
$37-$100, (616) 454-9451

If we're talking video game heroes, few have stood the test of time quite like The Legend of Zelda's Link. Whether radiating pudgy, pixilated charm, or vanquishing foes in his new sleeker form, the pointy-eared warrior has left an indelible mark in gamers' hearts. Grand Rapids Symphony allows fans to relive the excitement of Link's oldest and newest adventures in the touring symphony concert, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. The first four-movement video-game concert in history, Goddesses showcases fresh rearrangements of 25 years of Zelda soundtracks.

Composed by Nintendo legend Koji Kondo, the Zelda scores have gained a massive cult following among gamers. By welcoming in video game culture, GRS hopes to introduce these players to the thrill of the symphony.

"Legend of Zelda fans will have a chance to revel in a larger-than-life experience of the world of Zelda, while hearing and experiencing the music of the games with a fuller and richer sound than any could ever experience on home equipment," said Roger D. Nelson, GRS VP and COO.

In spite of its novel subject matter, however, the concert is less a deviation from classical convention than one might initially suppose.

"For generations, symphonic composers borrowed melodies from nearby — including folk melodies and even bird calls," Nelson said. "Borrowing the music from Zelda to create an evening of orchestral music is very much in keeping with tradition."

Structurally, the concert contains an introductory overture and four subsequent movements, each of which focuses on a specific game in the franchise. Interludes, however, draw from a variety of game soundtracks to celebrate magical moments that recur throughout the Zelda series. One such noteworthy selection is "Dungeons of Hyrule," a tribute to the franchise's twisted labyrinths and spooky locales. Another sure fan favorite, "Songs of the Hero," is a riveting medley of five songs actually performed by Link in the games in order to accomplish magical feats like teleportation and weather manipulation.

As if the music alone would not be nostalgic enough for diehards, the concert also features a cinematic presentation on a giant screen. Expertly synched gameplay footage immerses audiences fully in the Zelda world, while highlighting the progress of the franchise's animation.

For those who have never suffered the agony of 'PlayStation thumb' or used the term 'respawn' in a sentence, the concert still has much to offer, however.

"If you love Zelda, I think you will love this concert," Nelson said. "Also, if you love the Symphony, I think you'll enjoy this concert. Our musicians truly enjoy playing for people. In fact, it's not an overstatement to say they live for it. We expect a full house for this performance, and our musicians feed off the energy of an enthusiastic audience. This is going to be a fun evening."

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