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Live in Cologne: Symphonic Shades (Huelsbeck in Concert)

© (Robert Dietrich)
"Symphonic Shades" 08/23/2008 live in Cologne: WDR Radio Orchestra conducted by Arnold Roth        © (Robert Dietrich)

On August 23rd 2008, at the WDR-Funkhaus in Cologne, legendary video game music by Chris Huelsbeck was performed in an all-new shape, including classics of the C64- and Amiga-homecomputer era such as "The Great Giana Sisters", "R-Type" and "Turrican".

The musical style of the new arrangements could be called the exact opposite of the original songs, the change couldn't be more extreme (and interesting!): The minimalist computer sounds of the original songs were rearranged for orchestra and choir by demoscene legend Jonne Valtonen (aka Purple Motion / Future Crew), supported by the japanese video game music veterans Yuzo Koshiro and Takenobu Mitsuyoshi.

Tiny 8-bit samples or filtered saw waves and pulse width modulated square waves became violins, contrabasses, flutes, clarinettes, horns, trumpets and grand piano. Envelope controlled noise became drums, timpani, cymbals, triangles ... even pottery mugs. And the handful of simultaneously playable voices of the C64 and Amiga computers turned into arangements for 120 musicians of orchestra and choir.

The spectrum of the concert ranges from virtuoso pieces for solo piano to complex arrangements using the complete orchestra. The song "Karawane der Elefanten" celebrated its world premiere in Cologne - Chris Hlsbeck composed it for this concert exclusively.

Conducted by Grammy-winning artist Arnold Roth, the 120 musicians of the WDR Radio Orchestra Cologne and the FILMharmonic Choir Prague were supported by the highly acclaimed soloists Jari Salmela (Piano) and Rony Barrak (Percussion).

The Concert Program:

01. Grand Monster Slam (Opening Fanfare)
02. X-Out (Main Theme)
03. Jim Power in Mutant Planet (Main Theme)
04. Tower of Babel
05. Turrican 3 - Payment Day (Piano Suite) featuring Jari Salmela
06. GemX (Main Theme)
07. Apidya II (Suite)


08. R-Type (Main Theme)
09. Licht am Ende des Tunnels (Suite)
10. The Great Giana Sisters (Suite)
11. Tunnel B1 (Suite) featuring Rony Barrak
12. Symphonic Shades
13. Karawane der Elefanten
14. Renderings: Turrican II - The Final Fight (Main Theme) featuring Jari Salmela

"This concert surpasses everything I ever desired musically. Additionally the WDR was very dedicated during the whole production time. We all wanted to offer the best possible concert experience to the listeners. And I think this is what we accomplished." says a beaming Chris Huelsbeck.

For all details about the concert, the history of the songs and about the involved persons check the German-language project home (or try Google translation) - have fun reading :-)