So what will the National Symphony Orchestra offer at Wolf Trap tomorrow night? Mozart's "Requiem"? Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons"? Handel's "Water Music"? Try this one: music from Sonic the Hedgehog.
The soundtrack to Sega's 1991 hit video game is one of the many sources the orchestra will draw on as the "Video Games Live" tour makes its way to Wolf Trap's Filene Center. Music from dozens of arcade, console and personal computer games, including Pong and the Legend of Zelda, will be part of the concert.
Anyone who spent time in an arcade mastering Donkey Kong or Frogger or grew up with hands glued to controllers for the Atari 2600 or the Nintendo Entertainment System will hear familiar melodies. Aficionados of modern gaming systems such as the Sony PlayStation or Microsoft's Xbox should hear plenty of their favorite games' music performed, also.
The music is accompanied by projected images of the games and synchronized light effects. The show also has interactive elements involving members of the audience. Activities before the concert will include game demonstrations and competitions.
The tour, which makes use of local orchestras in each of its stops, is the brainchild of Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, two of the gaming industry's most accomplished composers. Tallarico serves as the "Video Games Live" host during the concerts, and Wall conducts the orchestra. The two conceived the concerts to promote the art and culture of video games.
Tallarico's video game music credits include Advent Rising, Earthworm Jim and the Bard's Tale. Wall composed music for games that include Mass Effect, Jade Empire and Unreal II.
-- C. WOODROW IRVIN