First of all I want to say that this is not only my first review, but this was my second ever Final Fantasy arranged soundtrack. The first one I ever got to own was the incredible FITHOS LUSEC WECOS VINOSEC. After hearing all of the contoversy that surrounded the OST I didn't know what to expect. I was simply amazed. Now, when I received Celtic Moon I had even less expectations.
The OST was a marvel for its time, and it was a bold choice to go for something different when it came to the arranged version. I had never heard celtic music before (or at least known it was celtic music), so I was amazed when I poped it in and loved what I heard. This CD not only stays true to the original version, but adds so much as well. Certain tracks (such as Dancing Calcobrena, Into the Darkness, and Palom and Porom) have whole sections added to them. It adds to an already incredibly musical experience.
When I listened to the first track (the arranged Prelude) I already heard a big difference. I had the privaledge of owning the OST beforehand so I knew the original versions well. The first three tracks were beautiful renditions of the OST. When track number four (Into the Darkness) started I had no idea which one it was. The beginning section starts out so different from the original.
There are other wonderful highlights from the CD. Melody of Lute was a nice little piece before, but here it just amazes. The musicians make total use of the slowness on the track, creating a nicely emotional track. Giotto, the Great King is almost unrecognizable, starting out as a slow, mellow piece, and ending stronger while still staying true to the original track. I just wish it were longer. Mystic Mysidia and Palom and Porom are also standout tracks.
All of the tracks are beautiful, but there are two that really jumped out at me. I loved Dancing Calcobrena. I've had friends of mine listen to the track, them knowing full well that it was from a video game. What they didn't know was that it was a battle theme! That made them even more interested in the sountrack and the game itself. It starts out just like the original, but goes into a whole new middle section, then back to the original in flawless transitions. The other track that made me tear up was of course Rydias' theme. I know many will agree with me when I say that this is one of Nobuo Uematsu's best works ever.
What I loved about this arranged sountrack more than any other arranged soundtrack I've gotten the chance to get was the length. Fifteen songs!! The most out of any I've seen so far. They really make use of the disc space, not wasting the great OST tracks that should get the arranged treatment. Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite and Final Fantasy VI were much shorter. Thank you Uematsu for making not just one of the best orchestral CDs, but one of the best CDs ever!