Sometimes, classic pieces of video-game music need the classic treatment to show just how enduring they are. Nearly 30 years on, one of the most memorable songs from one of the best games of all time has been adapted for cello, and the results are beautiful.
Samara Ginsberg, a London-born cellist and classical music journalist, today unveiled her latest take on a Sega stalwart, adapting the theme music for Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s Chemical Plant Zone with an eight-part, one-woman rendition of the game’s second-stage music. It’s absolutely glorious.
Considering the complexity of the piece–and the fact it’s the one song in Sonic 2’s soundtrack that’s furthest from orchestral (save for, perhaps, Metropolis Zone)–Ginsberg absolutely nails it. You almost expect to hear the drowning countdown music halfway through the performance, giving you war-like flashbacks of your desperate attempts to find an air bubble, or climb up those cocking staircases, to save Sonic from asphyxiation.
According to the Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra, Ginsberg started her musical career on the piano at the age of six, and didn’t pick up the cello until eight years later. Within just 12 months, she bagged a distinction at Grade 8, winning competitions along the way. Nowadays, between writing and performing with some of the U.K.’s most prestigious organizations, she lives in a converted pub in South London with her partner and their “incredibly spoiled Persian cat,” entertaining the masses on social media during yet another lockdown.
Ginsberg is a relative newcomer to the YouTube music scene, but has spent the last four months building an impressive and loyal following on Twitter, through which she announced her Chemical Plant Zone cover. However, this isn’t her first foray into gaming music. Just last month, Ginsberg posted another eight-part take on a first-class Nintendo song: Super Mario Kart’s original Mario Circuit theme, complete with alternating Mario and Luigi hats. It’s a real treat.