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Music

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Top Ten

Ten pieces to introduce you to Christopher’s music

Baba Yetufrom the video game 'Civilization IV'

Christopher's best known piece is also one of the most critically acclaimed, universally popular video game themes ever, winning the first and only Grammy award ever awarded to a piece of video game music. The Washington Post called it "sophisticated", Time Magazine called it "anthemic", while The Guardian called it "an intelligent meeting of melody and theme".

It's also one of the only pieces of video game music to transcend its genre into mainstream popularity. As a standard of the contemporary choral repertoire, Baba Yetu has been performed live everywhere from Carnegie Hall, to the United Nations, to live network TV shows like America's Got Talent. And Christopher's recording, featuring the Soweto Gospel Choir and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, has been licensed by everyone from The Vatican to Premiere League Football. Originally released in 2005, Baba Yetu to this day is still as enormously popular as when it was first released.


Waiting For Your Returnfrom the motion picture 'Crazy Rich Asians'

Christopher was hired by Warner Brothers Pictures and director Jon M. Chu to transform the classic 1930s Chinese melody 'He Ri Jun Zai Lai' into a sizzling, old-school Hollywood opener for the one of the most talked-about films of 2018, 'Crazy Rich Asians'.

Sung by Jasmine Chen, Christopher's big band and string orchestra arrangement dazzled film reviewers, who singled it out as one of the highlights of the film. From The Atlantic: "I didn't make it past the opening credits without bursting into spontaneous tears." The Globe and Mail wrote: "The Mandarin opener by Jasmine Chen set the tone for me, a salvo that made clear the producers had thought through the emotional weight of the film right down to the details." And two editors of Wired agreed: "Waiting for Your Return" is a Chinese jazz classic, delivered with renewed verve and glamour... It's a thrilling opening for a thoughtfully curated soundtrack."


Mado Kara Mierufrom Christopher's debut album 'Calling All Dawns'

On first listen "Mado Kara Mieru" sounds like an anime soundtrack, but it's actually a standalone concert work imbued with an inordinate amount of structure and meaning. Sung in Japanese, each verse is a different haiku, written about a different season: spring, summer, autumn, winter, and finally returning to spring. Each verse is similarly sung by a different singer in a different phase of life: a young girl, a young woman, an old woman, and a chorus of old men on the verge of death--after which the voice of the young girl returns at the end. The song therefore is a representation of the cycle of life as reflected through the seasons, making it a microcosm of the larger song cycle 'Calling All Dawns'.

"Mado Kara Mieru" also became a hit in the unlikeliest of places: the hip-hop and EDM scene. Indeed, over the years Christopher's beguiling melody, sung by a young Japanese girl, found its way into rap songs (like "Careless World" and "Mystic" by Tyga) and trance anthems ("Chopstick" by German techno band Scooter).


Sogno di Volarefrom the video game 'Civilization VI'

Christopher returned to the Civilization series with "Sogno di Volare", his theme song to 'Civilization VI'--a setting of Leonardo da Vinci's writings on flight that PC Games called "powerful, uplifting". The song earned him two GANG Award nominations, as well as a NAVGTR nomination for 'Best Theme Song'.

The piece also gave Christopher the rare chance to bridge his classical and media composing careers. The world premiere was given at Cadogan Hall, London, by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, sung by the combined Angel City Chorale, Prima Vocal Ensemble, and Lucis choirs, conducted by the composer himself.

In March 2018, he announced that he would be turning the piece into a full oratorio about the history of flight, and launched a Kickstarter campaign that would go on to shatter the record for classical music Kickstarters, raising a staggering $221,415.


Sunrise on Marsfrom the video game 'Offworld Trading Company'

Christopher returned to video game scoring with game designer Soren Johnson's realtime strategy game about conquering the stock market, 'Offworld Trading Company'. His score blended vintage synths and orchestra, to much acclaim. PC Gamer called it 'affecting, alien, wonderful', while IGN said the "terrific industrial-sounding music that hasn't gotten old over dozens of games". And Quarter-to-Three mused "Would it be too hasty to put it alongside other iconic and haunting sci-fi soundtracks? Clint Mansell for Moon, John Murphy for Sunshine, Vangelis for Blade Runner, Hans Zimmer for Interstellar, Steven Price for Gravity, and Christopher Tin for Offworld Trading Company. Yeah, that list looks about right."

Like many of his other pieces, 'Sunrise on Mars' found an audience outside the game it was written for when Salt Lake City's Repertory Dance Theatre created a modern dance work called 'Blue Sun' to it.


Flocks a Mile Widefrom the film 'The Lost Bird Project'

Christopher scored three-time Oscar-nominated director Deborah Dickson's documentary about extinct birds, and sculptor Todd McGrain's attempts to memorialize them. His lush, Brahmsian string orchestra score evoked the majesty and sweeping sentiment of large flocks of starlings.

The live premiere of the piece was given at Carnegie Hall in 2016, with the composer at the piano. New York Concert Review declared "'Flocks a Mile Wide' is filled with poignant lyricism. I have mentioned before that Mr. Tin is highly gifted as a melodist, so this comes as no surprise at all."

On a personal note, 'Flocks a Mile Wide' was the piece that his wife processed to during their wedding.


Waloyo Yamonifrom Christopher's second album 'The Drop That Contained the Sea'

"Waloyo Yamoni (We Overcome the Wind)" is the grand finale to Christopher's second album 'The Drop That Contained the Sea'. It was commissioned by the St. Matthews Chamber Orchestra, and recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with the Soweto Gospel Choir.

The piece has been particularly popular performed live. New York Concert Review wrote of the Carnegie Hall premiere "The audience reacted after the final notes with the loudest and longest standing ovation I have ever heard at any concert", while The York Press wrote "We Overcome The Wind was an outpouring of joy; a unanimous standing ovation evinced the sense of togetherness at the heart of this concert."


Kia Hora Te Marinofrom Christopher's debut album 'Calling All Dawns'

"Kia Hora Te Marino" is the finale to Christopher's Grammy-winning debut album 'Calling All Dawns'. It features two forms of Maori oratory--the haka and the whaikorero--performed by Maori multi-instrumentalist Jerome Kavanagh.

The sheet music is published by Alfred Publishing.


Nocturne No. 2from the film 'The Insatiable'

Not all of Christopher's music is large and sweeping. One of his earliest scores was for the low-budget vampire thriller 'The Insatiable'. He wrote this solo piano nocturne for the end credits, performed by Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng.


Epilogue

Another mostly unknown piece of Christopher's is his 'Epilogue', written as a pitch for an unnamed studio feature film.