The Tomb Raider Suite, Tomb Raider, video game, music, notes, title, Lara Croft, woman

Lara Croft and the Dance GCSE

On Monday morning I came across an article on the Metro website regarding a Kickstarter campaign hosted by composer Nathan McCree. I was surprised I hadn’t heard about his project to make a recording of The Tomb Raider Suite before, until a look at some of the updates revealed the answer: the campaign was originally placed under the ‘orchestral music’ category before being moved to ‘games’ a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately though, there were still a few days left before the deadline and so I quickly jumped on board with my support.

When writing the music for the first three Tomb Raider games between 1996 and 1998, McCree used his favourite synthesizers available at the time but always dreamt of hearing the tracks performed by a full orchestra and choir. That opportunity finally came with 20th anniversary of the series last year, when The Tomb Raider Suite was performed live by Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the City of London Choir to over 2,000 fans.

The composer, along with Producer David Burns and Orchestrator Adam Langston, is now looking to make a studio recording with one of England’s leading orchestras in the best-loved location: Abbey Road in London. This is a unique opportunity for all Tomb Raider fans to hear and own a copy of a world-class recording of the music as McCree had always intended it.

So why have I chosen to back this project? Well, it’s probably not for any reason you can guess easily. I’m not a particularly big Tomb Raider enthusiast (although I do love how Lara Croft’s character has evolved since the first game was released). I didn’t attend the original symphony in London mentioned above. And I don’t have any great knowledge of or regularly listen to orchestral music.

The reason: my Dance GCSE exam.

Something most people don’t know about me is that I used to be a pretty keen dancer. I took ballet and tap lessons for a number of years when I was younger and moved on to contemporary dance when I became a teenager. I managed to win a couple of medals although I wouldn’t say I was particularly great at it, but it was something I really enjoyed doing.

I therefore decided to take Dance as one of my GCSEs over twenty years ago (I’m getting on a bit). The final grade for the qualification was based on two main pieces of work: a solo created by an experienced choreographer that had to be performed in front of the examiner, and a group dance each student had to choreograph themselves. The latter had to be inspired by a subject so I chose a picture painted by a friend, a study on how opposites fit together.

My brother was playing the original Tomb Raider game while this work was taking place and he’d be found guiding Lara Croft through ancient ruins every evening. It therefore seemed as though The Tomb Raider Theme was playing constantly in our house – and thus it became the music I chose for my choreography piece. I hooked up our old boom-box to the family PC, left the menu options on the screen while I recorded the track onto a cassette tape, and that was the music played to the examiners while my dancers performed my piece.

They thought it was ‘very inventive’. I therefore have Lara Croft and Nathan McCree to thank for helping me earn an A grade in my exam.

It’s rather fitting that one of the Kickstarter campaign’s reward tiers includes a signed copy of the first page of the score for The Tomb Raider Theme. This is the one I went for and, if the project is successful, the reward will be framed and go up in one of our rooms as part of our current house renovations along with our BioShock-inspired diving helmet.

There are still a few days left to go before the campaign closes and with over 70% of a £160,000 target raised by backers so far, things are tight but still achievable. Success could lead not only to Tomb Raider: Live In Concert touring worldwide but also for ‘entry into the classical repertoire’ so it can be performed by orchestras all around the world. Head over to the Kickstarter page by 25 June 2016 to show your support.

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