The same picture everyone else used.

I admit that I'm not entirely certain what to think about hearing "Koi no Mikuru Densetsu" as played by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

There's something strangely compelling about listening to pop music, as in popular music that is of interest to the teeming masses, as played by an orchestra. Or a full choir chanting something vaguely Latinesque, going "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine" or "Rex tremendae majestatis" or "Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi" and so on to the tune, because apparently Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor is just about the only piece of music in Latin many popular composers are willing to make use of.

That might be a bit unfair, of course. We've got our own example of an alternative, Mahler's Symphony No. 8 ("Veni, creator spiritus, mentes tuorum visita") in the sixth chronological episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and occasionally composers make up their own ("Cum historia mutat valde, Razgriz revelat ipsum primum daemon scelestus est"). But I digress.

Part of it might be the sheer effort required in getting all these people together, in a setting normally expected to be a stuffy, bourgeois concert hall, performing with great pomp and professionalism something that was originally sung (badly) in MIDI by a combat waitress from the future in a bunnysuit. The incongruity makes such an arrangement unlikely, which is why it is so fascinating when it actually happens.

6 Responses to “The Orchestra Of Haruhi Suzumiya”
  1. Balorn says:

    I've always liked arrangements of music into different styles.

    I have CDs of orchestral arrangements of Beatles music, and a CD of various Christmas songs arranged in the style of classical composers (mostly Mozart). Not to mention all the various video game music concerts.

    In the other direction, one example I've liked for as long as I can remember is Emerson, Lake & Palmer's version of Pictures at an Exhibition.

    I also like music with instruments and arrangements that cross over genres; for example, the violin parts of Yuki, Muon, Madobe Nite and Drops of Jupiter, and That One Song that Yuki Kajiura has at least once in every soundtrack (Canta Per Me, Key of the Twilight, A Song of Storm and Fire, Fatal Fight – Jin and Margulis, etc.).

    The orchestral version of Koi no Mikuru Densetsu though, I found wonderfully hilarious by its very existence.

  2. Val says:

    Hi, I stumbled on yr blog while searching for a site that will help list what age range a Japanese anime is suitable for. I was hoping that you will be able to tell me if there is such a site, as I am sure u are an expert on anime.

    I have four kids age 6 to 13. We have just finished watching the whole Bleach series (at least, only up what is available), which we enjoyed v much, and I'm looking for another series to start on. Sometimes, some anime have sexual content that i am not comfortable exposing my young children to. D-Grayman was fine. But Basilisk was not really suitable because of some sex scenes. I find Gintama iffy too… as it is suggestive, though not as graphic as Basilisk.

    If there is no such site where I can find anime listed with age range it is suitable for, would you be able to recommend a few anime series I can watch with my kids, without sexual content?

    Thank you very much!

  3. Got a chuckle out of your reference to Ace Combat 5 which has some pretty epic music. As for this one, I'm taking the side that lies in favor of Koi no Mikuru being played to orchestra as being downright EPIC. I really do wish they had used the Tchaikovsky piece rather than Shostakovich though.

  4. Martin says:

    I'm listening to what I think must be the piece in question on Youtube as I type. I'm a bit of a closet classical fan anyway, but maybe it's partly from hearing a lot of orchestral stuff on soundtracks (anime and otherwise) that I've maintained that interest in it. Orchestral arrangements shouldn't be associated with music that isn't contemporary, but I guess that's what musicians and listeners have always expected from it so the convention has kinda stuck. The fact that I'm chuckling away at it is because I've heard the original version – I'm sure a classical music fan would just think it was just another piece of orchestral music!

  5. ithekro says:

    "Koi no Mikuru Densetsu" sounds like an old American Western piece when done as an orchestral. It would fit in some of the classical big Hollywood picture scores of the 1950s and 1960s. Or any suitable Western with a good symphonic score.

  6. akuyume says:

    I've got to agree with ithekro on the matter of Koi no Mikuru Densetsu. And Yuki, Muon, Madobe Nite, to my ears at least, is beautiful, both the orchestral version and the original.

    While this might not be very helpful to you Val, one can always try doing research on the intended demographic of an anime. Some key terms would be kodomo, this is an anime type meant for fairly young children. The two most widely known shows in this genre I can think of are Doraemon and Pokemon.