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Arcanum

SATB Saxophone Quartet for Download
from the Sierra Entertainment/Troika Games role-playing gameArcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura

Composed by Ben Houge
Transcribed for Saxophone Quartet by Paul R. Coats




As I was getting another cup of coffee from the kitchen I could hearbeautiful string quartet music coming from the other room, where my younger son, Brian, was playing a video game on the computer. I asked my son what he was playing, and it turned out to be the soundtrack of a computer game called Arcanum. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the music was so elegantly composed, and further, played by real musicians, not from a MIDI soundtrack.

I later found out that Arcanum had been chosen by PC Gamer Magazine as the best role-playing game of 2001. Certainly some of you die-hard gamers have heard of Arcanum, and perhaps, are familiar with its music.

I commented to my son, "Wow! That is absolutely beautiful, I would love to have that for sax quartet." Without looking up from his game, he replied, "Well, no problem. You can download the sheet music from the Sierra website."

He gave me the link, and I looked it up. I had tried to download the music, but for some reason I could not get it to work. As I looked around the page I saw the composer's name, Ben Houge, clicked on it, and brought up his email. Ben and I exchanged a number of emails about his music for the game. He went on to tell me that he had written more than 50 minutes of soundtrack music for this game. That is more than many full length films. After submitting some examples of my other work, Ben was gracious enough to send me scores and give me permission to transcribe his string quartets for saxophone quartet. Ben has also given permission for this music to be provided to you from Sax On The Web.

Some of the pieces from Arcanum are complete works, some are transitional in nature. Ben helped me pick three pieces that would be representative of his music as a whole, and also provide a reasonable performance time. These three are:

1. Arcanum
2. The Demise of the Zephyr
3. Caladon Catacombs


I have also transcribed two other selections that I especially like, which you may also add to this suite, or perhaps play separately, or in any combination:

4. Tarant Sewers
5. Radcliffe's Commission


These pieces are contained in zipped files, with each containing separate Adobe Acrobat (*.pdf) files for score and parts.

The pieces may be put together in any order for performance, reflecting the randomness of the game itself. Should you perform this music, Ben asks that you title it, Music from Arcanum, and also mention in the program that this music is from the Sierra Entertainment computer game Arcanum. I suggest using the heading of this article as a guide.

We, Ben Houge and Paul Coats, are pleased to present to you:

Music from Arcanum
 
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