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String Arcade Dresses Up Game Music

March 4, 2014

Not a gamer myself, I am not familiar with music accompanying the games, but it appears a sure bet that The String Arcade provides employment for local musicians — always a good thing.

Now available in digital and CD versions, String Arcade (read more) is a collection of classic video game music arranged for string quartet. To make the project even more commendable, proceeds will be donated to a nonprofit after-school music program, the Alameda Music Project.

String Arcade Quartet: Celia Harris, violin; Robin Reynolds, cello; Alisa Rose, violin; Emily Onderdonk, viola Photo by Lorrie MurrayThe quartet consists of Alisa Rose (Real Vocal String Quartet, Quartet San Francisco, Clubfoot Orchestra, Feist), Celia Harris (Redwood Tango), Emily Onderdonk (Quartet San Francisco, [the late] NY City Opera), Robin Reynolds (Nanos Operatta, Shotun Wedding Hip-Hop Orchestra), and guest Philip Brezina (Magik Magik Orchestra, The Brothers Comatose). Recording were made in Oakland and Alameda.

In charge of the project were Dren McDonald (Ghost Recon Commander, Ravenwood Fair) and Jason Poss (Lord of the Rings film trilogy, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King). The arrangements, say the producers,

... go far beyond chamber music emulations of the original themes, with each piece creatively interpreted, embellished, and reimagined to capture emotions evoked by the games. In conceiving the project, McDonald was inspired by John Lurie's Stranger Than Paradise film soundtrack (1984), which featured a moody, string quartet score.

Besides giving gamers a new way to enjoy beloved classics, The String Arcade is also poised to inspire young musicians to pick up a violin, viola, or cello. Several tracks were specifically chosen from games popular among kids.

The Arcade's arrangements were inspired by games from Galaga to Minecraft and performed by local musicians, with a special appearance by the Boston-based Videri String Quartet. One preview track, Plants vs. Zombies' "Grasswalk," has been released as a free digital download.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].