Dragon Quest Symphonic Suite Live Best

"A spectacular orchestral adventure and an ideal overview of the series." Essential Listening

Rankings

Artist Credits

Tracks

74 minutes total
  1. Overture - Dragon Quest V
  2. King Dragon - DQI
  3. Endless World - DQII
  4. My Road My Journey - DQII
  5. Rondo - DQIII
  6. Adventure - DQIII
  7. Flying in the Sky - DQIII
  8. Fighting Spirits - DQIII
  9. Into the Legend - DQIII
  10. Comrades - DQIV
  11. Ending - DQIV
  12. Magic Carpet ~ The Ocean - DQV
  13. Make Me Feel Sad - DQV
  14. Violent Enemies ~ Almighty Boss Devil Is Challenged - DQV
  15. Noble Requiem ~ Saint - DQV
  16. Satan - DQV
  17. Heaven - DQV
  18. Bridal Waltz - DQV
  • Released Nov 2, 1994 by Sony (catalog no. SRCL-2735, retail 2800 yen).
  • Reprinted Oct. 7, 2009 (catalog no. KICC-6327).

Reviews

A spectacular orchestral adventure and an ideal overview of the series.

Essential Listening

Editor's review by Adam Corn (2010-02-21)

With so many Dragon Quest orchestral albums available, the best albums alone amount to half a dozen and can be a confusing lot to sort out. Though Dragon Quest Symphonic Suite Live Best isn't the most complete collection of that group, it offers perhaps the best introduction to the series for newcomers, and even comes recommended to Dragon Quest fans adding to an existing library.

Whereas most Dragon Quest best collections are compilations from previous symphonic suite albums performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Live Best is one of the only ones (along with Dragon Quest Legend) to feature an exclusive original orchestral performance. Not only is this performance by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra unique to the album, it offers arguably the best versions available of classic Dragon Quest themes. The brass is generally clearer and punchier than in other recordings (comparing favorably to even the London Philharmonic ones), while the strings and woodwinds are elegant and emotive. I'd venture that Live Best also offers one of the crispest, clearest recordings of the whole bunch.

What it amounts to is that themes that are excellent in other symphonic suite albums are especially excellent here, particularly the classic selections from Dragon Quest III and IV. The brass is strikingly bold in the furious battle theme "Fighting Spirits" and blazingly triumphant in the ending theme "Into the Legend". The character medley "Comrades" is gold through and through, from the peaceful opening to the eccentric Torneko theme to the enrapturing gypsy segments that close the piece. In fact when I later listened to "Comrades" on other symphonic suites, I at first wondered if I had lost some of my admiration for the piece over the years, only to realize that those other performances just didn't quite live up to the Live Best version I was accustomed to.

The drawback with the live performance is there are a few small slip-ups that aren't present in the studio recordings, most noticeably a few notes where the brass falter in "Into the Legend" and in the Dragon Quest II ending theme "My Road My Journey". However these small hitches do little to detract from the overall impact of each piece.

Because it was recorded in 1994, Live Best lacks selections from Dragon Quest VI and VII that can be found in a couple of the other best collections. The inspired classical works of Dragon Quest VI would have been intriguing to hear performed by the Tokyo Symphony, but their absence isn't a particular detriment to the album, which at 74 minutes is chock full of music as it is.

Lastly there is the very subjective debate that comes with all best collections of whether the themes chosen are the "best" of the series. My only qualm in this regard is the emphasis on themes from Dragon Quest V. Some are certainly impressive - the frantic fighting theme "Violent Enemies" and the oppressively sad then faintly redemptive "Noble Requiem ~ Saint" for instance. But it's a bit of a shame that other Dragon Quest V selections made the cut over standout themes from elsewhere in the series, particularly the many magical pieces from Dragon Quest IV.

Even with the slight overemphasis on Dragon Quest V, Dragon Quest Symphonic Suite Live Best makes for an ideal overview of the series and a spectacular orchestral adventure. Not only are many of the very best themes from the series included on a single album, they've been presented in a way that they flow from highs to lows, action to exploration themes, requiems to celebratory pieces much as if they form a soundtrack of their own.

Symphony game music at its best!

Reader review by Brad Beazley

This CD is easily my favorite in my collection. Just think of your favorite songs from the Dragon Quest series (known as the Dargon Warrior series here) fully orchestral. It is absolutely brilliant and a dream come true! The music mostly consists of strings with some horns as well. The tracks vary in style. Most are restful, especially "Flying in the Sky" (the Ramia tune from DQ3) but others are very upbeat like "Into the Legend" (ending theme to DQ3), which really adds to the overall listening experience.

Several of the tracks consist of medleys of two or three original songs. "Comrades" has six of them! They are pieced together flawlessly and tend to be the better tracks on this CD. "Endless World" (a medley of the three DQ2 overworld tunes) is in my opinion the best track. I have listened to it hundreds of times and I am still not sick of it.

The drawback to this CD is that most of the tracks from DQ5 aren't that exciting. I'm not sure, but it may be the fact that I have never heard them before. So I can't really say if they've been improved or not. The eleven tracks from the first four Dragon Quests all have an obvious improvements. The only worthy one from DQ5 was "Violent Enemies ~ Almighty Boss Devil is Challenged", which would be the battle music. The others though seem bland and repetitive. Even with these bland six tracks, this CD as a whole is terrific. I would recommend any soundtrack fan to pick this one up!

A must-buy collection of Dragon Quest arrangements.

Reader review by Chris Perry

Of the many soundtracks I have heard, this one clearly shows it is one of the best. Although there is no original music made for this CD, it is an excellent collection of music form Dragon Quest 1-5, performed by the Tokyo Symphony and composed and conducted by Koichi Sugiyama. This CD has a variety of music. A predominant amount of the songs are taken up by strings, though some of it usually has quite a few trumpets, and one song is taken up by nearly all trumpets.

Some of the best songs include "Endless World", which seems like a medley of several songs. This song is beyond words. It sends chills down your spine, and makes you really appreciate the CD. Another song I love is "My Road, My Journey". This is one that gets in your head *really* easily, and stays there. It basically has two parts, which I will leave you to find out about.

The only bad part about the CD is that toward the end of the CD the songs weaken. The ones in the beginning are much better than the ones toward the end. Fortunately, this applies to just about four or five songs, and when you have seventeen on the disc it isn't so bad.

In conclusion, this is an excellent CD. Anyone who likes Dragon Quest music, or doesn't know about it, should definitely buy this CD. I have had it for weeks and I still listen to it constantly.

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