07
March 2008
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Cues of the Week: Ancient victory double feature

Continuing last week’s theme of accomplishment-oriented music, this week I’m presenting two more victory cues from Empire Earth 2. (Since they’re both short, I figured I’d make this week’s post a double-feature.) Both accompany victory conditions met while playing various ancient empires in the Far East and Mediterranean. Sharp-eared listeners will recognize the second cue as the companion piece to “Sands of Arabia”, which can be heard on my game music page.

Music performances once again courtesy of the Budapest Film Orchestra.

(Click on the play button to stream, or the cue title to download.)

Macedonian Victory
 

Arabian Victory
 

29
February 2008
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Cue of the Week: “Final Victory”

It’s a bit of a joke to name a cue “final victory”, given that everything from computer games to wildlife documentaries invariably features a piece of music by that name. This particular final victory comes from Empire Earth II; it opens with the themes for the American region (or “faction”, to use contemporary parlance) which is combined contrapuntally with the game’s overall central theme, connecting the particular wrapped-up mission with a sense of the game as a whole.

I’m a big fan of the dramatic pause as a musical technique, and not just because the wind players inevitably complain if you don’t get them a chance to breathe. In endings like this one, I imagine a hypothetical narrator speaking a final word of a monologue in the gap left in the music – even though in this case there’s no actual voice-over.

(Click on the play button to stream, or the cue title to download.)

Final Victory
 

15
February 2008
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Cue of the Week: “Dennis and Lauren”

This cue is the romance theme (now there’s a term you don’t seem to hear in film score descriptions any more!) from the film The F-Zone. I was beyond thrilled to have wind virtuoso Jon Clarke in my orchestra, having admired his oboe performances in Thomas Newman’s scores, and couldn’t help but write him a solo here. (I can’t quite tell if this is the oboe or the rarer oboe d’amore.)

(Click on the play button to stream, or the cue title to download.)

Dennis and Lauren
 

01
February 2008
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Cue of the Week: “The Industrious Villagers”

A few months prior to starting work on Empire Earth 3, I composed a few preliminary music cues to help establish the overall artistic direction for the score. These were free-form pieces inspired only by my imagination of what gameplay might be like; they were especially fun to write because they were so unconstrained.

At the same time, I had to maintain a certain balance between between musical interest and unobtrusiveness. A gameplayer, unlike a moviegoer, may potentially have to sit through the same music four hours on end. And more to the point, he or she also has access to an options screen with a “mute the music” button. A score needs to offer both artistic enjoyment and extreme re-listenability if it’s going to survive in such a capricious environment!

Here’s one of my “prototype cues”, meant to evoke scurrying woodcutters and other inhabitants of a forest settlement.

(Click on the play button to stream, or the cue title to download.)

The Industrious Villagers
 

25
January 2008
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Cue of the Week: “The Storm Gathers”

This cue is technically a rerun, as it was originally posted on the earlier version of this blog, way back in fall of 2005. But since most of the readership here has joined since then, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to cheat in this case.

I’ve always had a predilection for the “stormy” school of programmatic orchestral pieces. (I am a big proponent of the rarely-performed original version of Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, which is far more impassioned and cinematic than the Rimsky-Korsakoff remix we’re all used to hearing.) Here’s one of my stabs at writing in this genre.

(Click on the play button to stream, or the cue title to download.)

The Storm Gathers
 

Morituri Te Salutant // Michael Gordon Shapiro - HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  1. Morituri Te Salutant // Michael Gordon Shapiro - HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  2. Emerald, Texas // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  3. Mythic Battle // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  4. The Yard Sale // Michael Gordon Shapiro - HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  5. Investigations // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  6. Home Room // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  7. Sands of Arabia // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  8. Spider Cult // HOMEPAGE MUSIC
  9. Poker Night // HOMEPAGE MUSIC