This CD includes most the original soundtrack from the Super Famicom game "Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem" released in 1994. The game included a remake of the prequel, The Dragon of Darkness and the Sword of Light; sadly the music used in the prequel remake are not on this CD.
Few people outside of Japan are really aware of this series, however, that should hopefully change with the release of Fire Emblem for the Game Boy Advance in the USA. Fire Emblem has had all of its music composed by a sole composer, much like Final Fantasy. I personally feel that Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem is series composer Yuka Tsujiyoko's best work.
All the tracks have a distinct feel and emotion behind them. A few of the old themes from Dragon of Darkness and Sword of Light make cameos. Mystery of the Emblem's music does such an excellent job of telling the story that my fond memories of this game are evoked instantaniously when listening to this CD.
The quality of the PCM is excellent considering the time the game was released, making the OSV very plesant to listen to, as opposed to the grating chip music that most games of that time suffered from.
My sole qualm with the compositions is the shortness of the "loop", so to speak. Just as I begin to enjoy a particular track's unique richness and flavor, it's over already and on to the next.
As far as the variety goes, a lot of the music has a "standard fantasy RPG" feel to it. It's rather difficult to describe, but those who have played numerous RPGs will know what I mean. There will be the spirited militaristic themes (there are a good number of these since the original Fire Emblem for the Famicom was the first war strategy RPG to ever released), the "retelling of legend" theme, the dramatic plot moment themes (mostly the sad ones), and so forth.
The orchestral arrangements are interesting; they follow the original SFC's score quite faithfully, but some of the instrument choices struck me as odd. The switch from brass in the original "Attack" to strings for "In Action" didn't work for me, but they certainly did for "The Last Stand," the arrangement of "Dark Dragon."
Over all, this is a great album, especially for fans of the series. It certainly lives up to its name of "Sound Memorium." Fantasy fans will most likely enjoy this CD as well.