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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Song of the Week! 28 February 2015

For the first Classic song feature of the year, let's take a look at a niche, console exclusive arrangement from the Sony-oriented Taiko games.

 Violin Concerto in E Minor (バイオリン協奏曲ホ短調) Mendelssohn
Allx3 (118)x4 (190)x4 (275)x4 (288)
 Taiko PS2 5, Taiko PSP DX, CD Full Combo

Originally introduced during the Playstation 2 generation of games as Taiko Godaime's only unlockable Classic tune, today's song is a custom arrangement to one of the great orchestral works of the Romantic period, merging the talent of German composer Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847) and modern ska/jazz vibes from Namco artists.

The original Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 was one of Mendelssohn's more mature works as a composer, standing up to this day as one of the greatest violin concertos of all time. The original idea for the three-movement concert was conceived in 1838 and finished six years later, thanks to a constant correspondence with virtuoso violinist and childhood friend Ferdinand David, who was chosen by Mendelssohn himself as the orchestra's concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Due to health issues, the concert's first performance of March 1845 was conducted by the Danish composer Niels Gade; Mendelssohn later conducted his work with concertmaster Ferdinand David on October of the same year. This has been the first of many collaborations for the German composer featuring the input of a professional violinist, which ended up to influence his later works as well

As mentioned before, the Violin Concerto is made of three movements following a fast-slow-fast structure, featuring the Allegro molto appassionato (the movement on which the Taiko no Tatsujin arrangement is based on), Andante and Allegretto non troppo/Allegro molto vivace tempo markings. The concerto featured some new elements that differentiates it from Classical period concerts in terms of the overall feeling of the performance and the role of the solo performer, now anticipating the main melodic theme which has to be followed by the orchestration (and not the other way around like in past productions) and the structure of the concerto as an harmonic whole, removing breaks between movements. As such, this is still considered to this day as one of the essential concertos for all the aspiring violinists to master.

The ska/jazz rendition of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor on Taiko was arranged by Junichi Nakazuru (中鶴潤一), featuring Donkey Konga sensation for the Classic arrangements Jesahm (自営山) at the sax. While the song in itself hasn't changed in the transition between the PS2 and PSP Taiko games, most in-game elements related to it are: the wording for 'Violin' in the title has been changed (from ヴァイオリン to バイオリン), the mention to Mendelssohn in the subtitle has been removed and a Go-Go Time section has been added on PSP DX, adding a feature which -oddly enough- wasn't put in the song on its debut on Taiko Godaime, the console title that introduced Go-Go Time on the songs and really exploited it almost everywhere!

The song's notecharts have been thought to be played more as a natural drum accompanying to the main theme rather than a notechart gimmick gymnasium; as such, it's one of the drumroll-less songs with the lowest Oni rating for the genre, with Muzukashii mode being only 13 notes less that the supposedly-harder variant.


In other violin-related song news, here's another quick announcement for today.

Our new minimum requirement for considering the existence of a song series on this site is tho have at least three songs on it which are somehow linked to each other on any means. With that said, we are going to dismantle the hiyama series sometime next week, adding the description to Tsukikage SASURAI (and Ura) in the Song of the Week feature which originally included Uchuu SAMURAI. If hiyama ever makes another song for Taiko which is proven to be linked with these two, the hiyama series page will return with the new song description, albeit with reverting the original Song of the Week feature with Uchuu SAMURAI to its original state.

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