Piano Collections Final Fantasy X
All Arranged & Directed by Masashi Hamauzu
Track: People of the Far North
(Original Soundtrack Version composed by: Masashi Hamauzu)
Pianist: Aki Kuroda
by the courtesy of Victor Entertainment, Inc.
Produced by Nobuo Uematsu
Recording Engineer: Toshiyuki Yoshida
Assistant Engineer: Teruyuki Takatsu
Recording Studio: Victor Studio, Tokyo
Piano Technician: Mikio Watanabe
Mastering Engineer: Hiroyuki Hosaka (Columbia Akasaka)
Art Direction: Tadashi Shimada (Banana Studio)
Design: Tadashi Shimada, Norie Kadokura (Banana Studio)
Photography: Hiroshi Shibaizumi, Toshio Sasaki (Hand Made)
Object: Toshio Hayashi (Hayashi Bijiutsu)
A&R Director: Emiko Funahashi, Tsuyoshi Takemura (DigiCube)
Assistant Director: Yosuke Ikeda, Soushi Yoshida (DigiCube)
Sales Promotion: Saiko Fukui (DigiCube)
Sales Development: Osamu Abe & Mio Yamamoto (SMD)
Executive Producers: Kensuke Matsushita & Keiji Hamada Fumio Kurokawa & Kishio Ozawa (DigiCube)
Supervisor: Susumu Arai, Masamichi Someno (DigiCube)
Special Thanks to
Takeshi Watanabe (Victor Entertainment, Inc.)
Presented by SQUARE SOUNDS CO., LTD.
"For someone like me, who usually relies upon MIDI, confronting the staff music for a piano score is an arduous process. You can't bury clumsy progressions in the mix, or alter the surface of the music with other instruments. You can't predict the results until the occasion of performance, when your sheet music is given interpretation. So you have to prepare the score with every bit of thoroughness and precision. It was a trying experience but, as someone who came to composing late, participating in such a musical project was a valuable opportunity to amass skills, for which I am extremely grateful. I've always appreciated the value of chances to darken staff paper with dots, and so accepted this job with a positive outlook.
At any rate, this was the most difficult project I've ever worked on. I had previously been given the responsibility of using the piano to encapsulate the world of SaGa Frontier 2, but when the title is "Collection", the meaning changes subtly. Rather than adapting myself needlessly to listeners' tastes, I was cognizant that to express my own integrity as much as possible, I needed to deploy my power without discrimination against any tendency. But the unusual consistency in my attitude here gave me nothing but trouble. I couldn't hide my irritation in my lack of ability. If I hewed only to established piano collection tradition, I would live or die by skills yet untested, and even if the results sounded "like" a particular style, they wouldn't hold up when compared to the real thing. Yet if I stuck only to my strengths at the expense of everything else, the result would depart from the connotation of "collection", and ignore the possibilities afforded by live piano performance. And while this was a rather hard choice, no matter how many avenues I explored or how much studying I attempted, I soon wound up with nothing but rage. I tried to absorb those techniques with which I lacked experience to the point where I could say they were a strong point, but the time I had to do it in was brief. My head filled up over many days. To take up the double-edged sword of carrying out my true intentions, or a lesser blade that would not exhaust my confidence? I finally arrived upon the aberrant path of taking the double-edged sword and sharpening it into a blade of truth. And Ms. Aki Kuroda's expert performance gave me confidence that my decision was the right one. I never expected at the start that I could do something that would be so satisfying. I thought of chalking it up to my dislike of studying, but it was really thanks to the depth of feeling that music itself possesses, a lesson I will carry with me always.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank everyone who gave me this wonderful opportunity."
—Masashi Hamauzu, January 8th, 2002