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Musical Epic


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How about an epic music thread? Not epic in the "OMG I love this song!" sense, that's what the "jamming to" thread is for.

I'm talking about songs that fill you with a sense of epic. Mostly orchestral if possible.

Of course, Orff's O Fortuna is obligatory:


And what better ensemble than the epic Berlin Philharmonic?

Most of the epic works come from the Romantic period and later. But, there are examples from the Classical period. Here is a Mozart:

Requiem Mass is D Minor

Finding a good quality recording of the full work on Youtube is hard, but Richard Strauss is a favorite of mine:

Also Sprache Zarathustra - Full Tone Poem

Of course, most epic works can be found in the modern and postmodern periods.

Gustav Holst: Uranus, the Magician

Despite having a German name, Holst was British.

Another Brit, Sir Edward Elgar, has some epicness of his own. His Pomp and Circumstance marches are epic. Sadly, most arrangements of them used for Graduation ceremonies leave out the epicness. But here is Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in all it's glory:

Elgar is perhaps the most famous British composer.

Of course, Epic music has appeared in film score for decades.

Hold it, time to get real. That's right, I'm bringing some motherfucking Bambi into the house:

I'm serious, listen to it. Edward Plumb gives us a freaking orchestral and choral masterpiece in this short musical representation of a thunderstorm, all without using thunder sheets or wind machines. It was so masterfully done that they didn't even add any sound effects over it in the movie. Sadly, this version of the song has never been re-recorded. Most re-recordings of the song focus on the parts with words. A shame because this is a brilliant work that deserves a new recording. I'd love to see this version in concerts, too.

I left a lot of good ones out (Shostakovich anyone?). Perhaps you guys can fill-in the gaps?

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One song that is really impressive holds the infamous name of "Orchestra Piece #1" composed by Mahito Yokota for the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Game. However it was never part of the game. It was just used to premote the game at E3 '06.



​I love the dramatic sensation it has to it. How it starts dark and mysterious. Then to a somewhat relaxing but serious tone. Yet it keeps building. Building! BUILDING! and then there is just this strong sense or adventure with a mixture of anger and a "will to go on." Then breaks to a happier tone for adventure! 


Now on a musical aspect. I find the usage of the woodwinds and strings in the beginning to be really epic. And then it brings in the Brass and percussion. It's quite smooth and as this sound I personally really like. Also like the 8th notes before it hits the happier part.


I wish it was longer than 2:16 minutes.

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My dentist was a big Yanni fan, I'll always remember that. It soothed me while I was getting fillings. XD

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You want songs that fill me with a sense of epic?




Motherfucking. Gurren. Lagann.


Part of this song's appeal comes from the context in which we hear it during the show. The rap part of the song actually shows up in several other iterations, and is sort of the theme song for the main characters. The first time we hear it, it's just your run-of-the-mill, but still awesome, rap song about doing the impossible and fighting the power.


But Gurren Lagann is a series that's all about escalation. Near the end of the series, we've gone from three people and a mole with a mech the size of a Mini Cooper to a team of badasses traveling across the universe and between dimensions in a battleship the size of the moon, fighting against the antagonist in a universe that they're basically God in, and this song has gone from a catchy rap song that plays whenever the team is being particularly awesome to a constant back and forth between operatic Latin lyrics and defiant rap verses about making the impossible possible, which they do multiple times over the course of the last couple episodes even as it costs them their lives.



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The Ace Combat series of games is a goldmine of this sort of stuff. Usually their 'setpiece' / final level tracks are the ones touting the epic feel of their games. Usually in these levels you're at the climax of the story. A nice hallmark to the epicness of these tracks and levels is that you have to fly in some very tight spaces. But, on with the links:

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You want epic?


I've got epic.


So, I heard you like classical music. Classical music is awesome. Operatic stuff, full orchestra, all that lovely business. The best are the compositions that wordlessly tell a story, where the different voices layer a narrative so emotional and seductive that sparks of colour illuminate the places in your mind that you didn't even know were there. Something, perhaps, like Steven Reineke's tone poem, The Witch and the Saint:



I had the pleasure of playing this composition in my former hometown's concert band and it gives me chills to this day. By far the best performance I have ever taken part in.


As beautiful as that contemporary piece is, we of course mustn't forget the classics...or at least pass up on opportunities to reimagine them in fantastic ways. Here's Vedi! Le Fosche Notturne Spoglie from Giuseppe Verdi's Il Travatore...as performed by Therion.



Metal? And classical? Together? It's more likely than you think, considering studies have discovered the structure of the two seemingly distinct genres to be remarkably similar, and indeed the best musicians of the genre tend to be classically-trained.


With that in mind, I'm led to post a song of that nature that I continue to consider one of the best songs ever written:



This long-ass epic of rock opera history has a long-standing place in my heart. If you've noticed my entire avatar/personal text getup--and basically every post I've been making in any music topics lately--I've only been on a slight obsessive kick with the band in general. Their last album had three spiritual sequels to this in sheer compository skill, not to mention the benefit of affording a real orchestra this time. I was actually completely torn as to which one I was going to post here, but for the sake of not metalling the hell out of this post, I'll go with the soaring ballad cliffhanger exit track:




It sounds like a soundtrack, and it...sort of is, in that strange way that well-told concept albums manage to be. Everything about it screams cinema, from the atmosphere to the catchy heart-soaring choruses, not to mention the heartfelt chemistry between the singers and their respective characters.


Speaking of soundtracks...


How 'bout that "John Williams of video games", Jeremy Soule? You know what I'm talking about:



And we can't talk about spinechilling soundtracks without mentioning the goddamn Bells of Notre Dame:



I could go on about this shit forever, but this is a decent starting point I guess. I suppose I'll leave off on a note that we all can relate to, which is of course my favourite-ever orchestral cover of a video game piece...





edit: Oh cocks okay sorry I don't know how I forgot this, but


If you've got an hour to spare, goddamn Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Centre of the Earth:




André Matos did a performance of this too but the concert footage isn't very good quality unfortunately -x-

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Here are my contributions:



THIS. This here hits me every time. All the things work perfectly with one another.


Once I listened well to the instrumentals, I really saw the potential of this. The deep cymbals at the beggining of the chorus, the backing at the bridge, even the tick-tocking. The tick-tocking was the perfect way to end this song. Don't bother looking for a live version, if the one I heard was true, it's exactly the same.



Can't fail with the string quartet doing modern rock.


Sounds timeless.


Gothic chapel ambiance in 3 minutes. Doing it right.


What a friend dreams about every night.

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Maybe not for everyone, but I find this song beautiful.
Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do :-P
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Nightwish (the original with Tarja Turunen singing) were chock full of amazing and moving songs, but here's two examples:






Jukka's drum playing... have mercy.


And of course this which is a layover from the other topic you made about music that made you feel something (something along those lines). Once again, the only pony part of the song is one line of dialogue at the very beginning.



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I would count this as epic:

Immedia Music - Electric Romeo

Same music as above, but with a singer - just as epic as the instrumental one:

Globus - Europa

Next thing from Touhou - Mountain of Faith

Sanae's Theme - Faith is for transient People

Another game: They Bleed Pixels

DJ Finish Him - Scourge


For some stuff from earlier times:

Antonio Vivaldi - Four Seasons, Summer Presto

Camille Saint Saens - Danse Macabre

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Ah finally, something I can sink my teeth into. 

Perhaps I'm just a star wars nerd but this is a very powerful piece in my opinion.


Furthermore. I couldn't find a particularly clear version of Luciano Pavarotti's "Nessun Dorma."
http://youtu.be/XaeBRqIqQkI?t=1h5m9s Except for this. Tenor music at its finest. The entire concert is amazing if anybody has a few hours to spare. And there's also a guide in the video description that moves to every individual song so enjoy. 

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The US Army commissioned Mark Isham to write a piece for use in recruitment materials entitled "Army Strong" after one of the Army's recruiting slogans. There are several versions of it, but the only complete recordings I can find of it are the concert version written to be performed by Army bands:

Man, that trumpet solo makes me melt. Also, interestingly, this recording has a choir behind the band. The only one I have found that does.

Here are a couple more Mark Isham works:

A Promis from Life is a House

Not as epic as some things, but I love the way the chords build.

Suite from Warrior

I love how he channels Beethoven here.

I think Army Strong remains his most epic work, though.

Also, have some Shostakovich:

Waltz 2 from Suite for Variety Orchestra:

The piece was featured prominently in the move Eyes Wide Shut as well as a Heineken commercial about moustaches and "Olde Timey Boxing"

Festive Overture

Not only is the piece epic, but it is an example of the composition badassery that was Dimitri Shostakovich. He wrote this in three days.

Symphony No. 5, Movement 4

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  • 3 weeks later...

I performed the finale of this opus (Presto) a few years back. It's definitely my favourite of the movements, but I like it a little slower than played here.

I'm more for performances in smaller groups. Octet gets you the sense of orchestral strings, but is still a relatively small group. This is one of the group works that's stood out as epic.

Note: I'd suggest you skip the first few seconds of the tracks since they're a little slow to "get to the point".













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This is the only song that cannot be expressed with words. I will let the music speak for itself.

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I think this should be taken note of:




And adding to Gene's citation of Ace Combat above, this piece as well is of notice:


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  • 2 weeks later...

Darkness has never before been so sweet...I want this preformed at my funeral. I'm partial to this particular performance.


With the next one Lullaby by Hofeldt, a relativity new composer, ess extremely hard to keep your composure on stage if you get a good group. We've a Cellist in tears, and a Me in tears.

Nessun Dorma speaks for itself...

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  • 1 month later...

I really hate bringing back a dying thread, I honestly really do, but I needed to post this one song. 



I came across this when I was this in the back of a independent music store. From what I saw sounded cool when I saw it. I was dead wrong. This is one of the most interesting and epic songs I have ever heard. I can't believe not many know this one. I get manly tears when I hear it. 


Also, ignore the pic in the video. I, too, want to rip the head off that doll-fish thing and sell it in a Chinese Market.

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