It’s been some time since my last Musical Mondays piece, and I must admit that the reason for the feature’s absence is that every time I tried to think of a piece of music, something from Final Fantasy came to mind. And while I may be a raving fanboy, I think few would argue the point that Square-Enix’s jRPG series has a pedigree when it comes to great music across its 25 year history.

So, I’ve decided to stop fighting it, and instead take a slightly different direction with this week’s Musical Mondays return, and focus on three variations of one theme.

That theme is Terra’s Theme, from Final Fantasy VI.

First heard as the Magitek Armour-clad Terra, Biggs and Wedge march through the snow toward the mining town of Narshe, Terra’s Theme sets the tone for the adventure to come. The piece conveys a feeling a mystery – appropriate, considering Terra knows nothing about herself for the early stages of the adventure – while the flute melody lends a pastoral feel to the music which never fails to bring Miyazaki’s masterpiece Nausicaa to my mind.

Dissidia’s take on the theme, meanwhile, has a very different feel, with the sweeping backing track and the xylophone-like main melody lending the piece a dreamlike, otherworldly feel. Again, this fits perfectly with Dissidia’s premise of warriors being taken from everything they know and awakening to an unknown world. In fact, one of my favourite things about Dissidia is the opportunity to hear iconic music from across the franchise reimagined in interesting ways. And while I don’t think any of the new takes better their originals, they are all worth a listen.

The Distant Worlds arrangement is probably my favourite though. Like the other versions it starts out gently, but this take quickly builds to a grand orchestral crescendo. Where previous takes hint at mystery, this sounds utterly majestic – almost triumphant. I really hope to hear this performed at The Royal Albert Hall in November.

So there we have three different variations on a single theme, each with its own unique feel and perspective. Which is your favourite?

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