Viva Piñata Soundtrack, Grant Kirkhope, 2006
Among Western game scores, it’s hard to beat the Viva Piñata soundtrack for sheer loveliness. Although Grant Kirkhope once more writes the music for a kiddie-oriented game, he leaves the Saturday morning cartoon sensibilities of his Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie and Donkey Kong 64 scores entirely behind, and instead creates a work that despite its lightweight nature is far more than just a mere pleasantry. It starts with the endless flow of delicate, gorgeous melodies that stream forth from Kirkhope’s pen, inspired by the pastoral atmosphere of British works of classical music by the likes of Ralph Vaughan-Williams and Gustav Holst. Endlessly endearing but never cutesy, these melodies are clad in immensely lovely, light instrumentations that particularly let the woodwind section of the orchestra shine as on hardly any other Western game score. Arranger Nic Raine (MediEvil: Resurrection) must surely take some credit for Viva Piñata‘s marvelously charming disposition. At turns lightly rustic, sprightly, sweetly nostalgic, mischievous and quietly stargazing, Viva Piñata has the power to enchant dreamy-eyed children as much as seasoned classical music fans – a rare achievement.
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