Video game soundtracks hit classical music charts

The increasing sophistication of classical soundtracks written for computer games has been acknowledged in Classic FM’s annual Hall of Fame

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The Independent Culture

Music composed for video games is now being ranked alongside Beethoven and Mozart.

The increasing sophistication of classical soundtracks written for computer games has been acknowledged in Classic FM’s annual Hall of Fame.

Listeners voted 12 pieces of music from video game soundtracks into the radio station’s Top 300 chart – up from eight last year.

The highest entry from the gaming world – at No 9 – was the music for the Final Fantasy series, by Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu.

Bafta award-winning composer Jeremy Soule’s soundtrack for The Elder Scrolls climbed six places to No 11.


And the highest female composer on the list was Yoko Shimomura – also from Japan – at No 30 for her work on Kingdom Hearts.

Nintendo’s in-house composer Koji Kondo had the highest new entry in the poll for his music on the Legend of Zelda games.

The trend reflects Classic FM’s growing willingness to play video game soundtracks. Some video game developers now pay large sums to classical composers to write scores for their games, exposing a new generation of young people to classical music.

Classic FM’s John Suchet was enthusiastic about the emergence of video game music in the chart, saying it was an unexpected, but welcome, surprise.

“What I find truly exciting is the continued increase in a younger audience for classical music,” he said.

Ralph Vaughan Williams was joined by 12 pieces of video game music on the chart (Getty)

“I didn’t expect to be thanking the video game industry for introducing the genre to a new generation of people, but it is wonderful.” James Hannigan, a Bafta award-winning composer, told The Independent: “Gaming is becoming recognised and it is really symphonic.

“I have always been a fan of the Final Fantasy and most of Nintendo’s output has been wonderful. I think a certain approach to music is going to change. If you want to engage a younger audience with orchestral music and that happens to come from video games, then why not?

“I cannot see a bad side to it. I really do think it is wonderful – anything that brings games music into the mainstream and things that younger people wouldn’t normally interact with is great.”

More than 200,000 people cast votes for this year’s Hall of Fame. Ralph Vaughan William’s The Lark Ascending was voted the nation’s favourite classical piece of music for the sixth time.

Classic FM Top 10 Hall of Fame 2015

1. Vaughan Williams –  “The Lark Ascending”

2. Rachmaninov – “Piano Concerto No. 2”

3. Vaughan Williams –  “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis”

4. Elgar – “Enigma  Variations”

5. Beethoven – “Piano  Concerto No. 5”

6. Allegri – “Miserere”

7. Beethoven – “Symphony No. 9”

8. Mozart – “Clarinet  Concerto”

9. Uematsu – “Final Fantasy”

10. Beethoven – “Symphony No. 6”