About the Program
Host Emily Reese takes an in-depth listen to video game music and talks with the people who make it. Read more about Emily and the story behind Top Score.
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- Olivier Derivier and Remember Me on Top Score
Paris may be best well-known as the City of Lights, but French composer Olivier Deriviere turns it into a city of memories in the new game Remember Me.May 24, 2013
- Lennie Moore and Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm on Top Score
With so many World War II games on the market, it can be difficult to come up with a unique sound for the score. Lennie Moore talks about his music for Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm on Top Score.May 10, 2013
- Garry Schyman's BioShock Infinite on Top Score
How do I feel about composer Garry Schyman's score to the new BioShock Infinite? Put it on a stage and let me hear it live, over and over... and over... and over...April 23, 2013
- Deconstructing "Tomb Raider" with Composer Jason Graves
Composer Jason Graves explains the musical themes he created for "Tomb Raider" on the new episode of Top Score from Classical MPR.April 19, 2013
- Kevin Riepl and Aliens: Colonial Marines on Top Score
What happens when a composer writes a great score for a not-so-great game? Kevin Riepl talks about his music for Aliens: Colonial Marines.April 12, 2013
- Jeremy Soule Uses Kickstarter to Fund His First Symphony
Kickstarter is a website allowing consumers to fund projects, including movies, games, conferences and everything else in between. "Skyrim" composer Jeremy Soule decided to use it to fund writing, recording and performing his Symphony No. 1.April 1, 2013
- Jim Dooley and Infamous on Top Score
Composer Jim Dooley talks about working on both games in the Infamous series on Top Score from Classical MPR.March 29, 2013
- Classical MPR at PAX East 2013
Top Score and Classical MPR host Emily Reese traveled to Boston to moderate the "Behind the Music of Blockbuster Video Games" panel at PAX East 2013.March 26, 2013
- Peter McConnell and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time on Top Score
Peter McConnell and Emily Reese talk Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time on the new episode of Top Score from Classical MPR. Enter for your chance to win a copy of the PlayStation 3 game below!March 14, 2013
- Penka Kouneva and A Warrior's Odyssey on Top Score
Composer Penka Kouneva took two months between projects to write her own music, culminating in a CD called A Warrior's Odyssey. Emily Reese spoke with Penka about her music, and coming to the U.S. from Bulgaria.February 26, 2013
Top Score blog on Tumblr
Host Emily Reese blogs about what's going on in the video game world at topscorepodcast.tumblr.com. Here are the most recent entries:
Composer Lennie Moore on Top Score from Classical MPR
Composer Lennie Moore on Top Score from Classical MPR
There are plenty of games on the market simulating droves of different military wars. Each of those games has a soundtrack, too.
Many of those soundtracks focus on the intensity of war, as well as the idiosyncratic sounds of war-time music. Sounds such as military drums (lots of snare drums), heavy brass and even electric guitar at times.
Composer Lennie Moore eschewed those choices for his new music to Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm, encouraged by developer Tripwire to explore the styles of American composers Aaron Copland and Charles Ives.
Specifically, Lennie studied Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait (1942) and Ives’s The Unanswered Question (1906, pub. 1940).
The result is unbelievably pleasing to the ear. Just about the only “expected” nuance is a trumpet solo. But rather than hire a trumpet player with a polished orchestral sound, Lennie called up friend Tim Larkin for a little bit grittier of a tone.
The first game Lennie ever scored was Outcast. The Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Chorus recorded that score, one of the first game soundtracks to use a live orchestra.
Hear Lennie talk about Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm and Outcast on the new episode of Top Score, also available on iTunes.
The new episode of Top Score from Classical Minnesota Public...
The new episode of Top Score from Classical Minnesota Public Radio features an interview with BioShock Infinite composer Garry Schyman.
BioShock Infinite takes place in 1912, in an American city in the sky.
Yes, in the sky.
Quite a change from the previous two BioShock games, which were in the underwater city named “Rapture.” The city of Columbia, however, has sunshine. And clearly, the sky.
Composer Garry Schyman and Creative Director of Irrational Games, Ken Levine, knew the score needed to sound different.
Garry accomplished the changes by using a much smaller ensemble — basically, a small string section and some percussion.
The year 1912 was an interesting time in American classical music, most notably because there wasn’t much yet. Many American composers of the time still sounded quite European, although Charles Ives certainly stood out.
Garry considered Ives’s influence, but rather turned to other American icons in Stephen Foster (think “Camptown Races” or “Oh Susanna!” or “Swanee River”), and American folk music in general.
He asked the string players to keep a “fiddle” sound in mind (fiddlers tend to play with less vibrato than traditional classical violinists), and to occasionally play aggressively.
There are so many great tracks on the album, but definitely check out Elizabeth’s Theme, AD (which Garry thinks of as Booker’s theme)….
Or just buy the soundtrack. I encourage it!!