« How was Artscape? | Main | DJ K-Swift is dead »

July 21, 2008

Concert review: Play!

My 14-year-old sister Emily came to the city Friday night to see the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's rendition of Play! A Video Game Symphony.

In the show, the orchestra performs music from popular video games. Here is her review ... 

When you think of video game music, you’re reminded of simple melodies and catchy tunes, right? Well, The BSO’s Friday night performance of Play!: A Video Game Symphony totally redefined that.

The songs were made elegant and refined, and extra solos were added at just the right moments. The Handel Choir of Baltimore also smoothly fit into several of the pieces and blended well with the orchestra.       

The orchestra started with a new work by Nobuo Oematsu made specifically for Play! and ended with the U.S. premiere of a Guild Wars medley. In between, there were 13 different medleys ranging from classics like Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda to newer games such as HALO and World of Warcraft.

Out of the fifteen pieces played, my favorite was the Castlevania medley, and I have never even played Castlevania or listened to its music.

There was a wicked piano solo in the middle which left the audience in awe before it transitioned into a full-blown there-must-be-evil-lurking-about-here theme. My second favorite was (of course) Super Mario Bros., mainly for its graceful underwater theme, followed by the less familiar Metal Gear Solid. MGS’s theme was balanced between the brass and string sections, with woodwinds adding great effects.

Unfortunately, the screen overhead mainly showed tidbits of gameplay from featured games which distracted the audience from the main show -- the BSO itself. Luckily, this was the only real problem with the show and didn’t have a huge effect on the production itself. Even if you don’t play video games, you could still enjoy everything that the show offered. When we left the Meyerhoff, we were excited, awed, and extremely pleased. It was truly a night to remember.

(Stock photo) 

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:17 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Concert reviews


kudos Emily!


happened to "youtube" this, and if you search " baltimore symphany" (no quotes) clisk on selections, about 1/2 way down the 1st page is just about all the songs played friday night!! excellent concert, and very good review!

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "v" in the field below:
About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected