Though labeled a symphony, "Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time - Hyrule Symphony" is essentially a string-ensemble album. There's not a single beat of percussion nor blast of brass to be heard for the entire duration. An ocarina and a couple of other instruments do rear their head on occasion, but aside from that it's strings, strings, and more strings.
The arrangements are almost direct adaptations of the original N64 compositions, adding some modest touches afforded by the live string performance but nothing particularly new or surprising. Make no mistake, this is a huge improvement in itself, as the infamously underpowered N64 synth was probably the most glaring fault of the OST. Just don't expect anything with the dramatic range and instrumental variety of the best Final Fantasy, Ys, and Dragon Quest orchestral albums.
Given that the arrangements are so similar to the OST versions, it's fortunate that the producers chose many of the more enjoyable themes from the OST. Several combine solo plucked strings with the strings section in full for a folksy country charm - the lullaby-like "Kakariko Village", the quirky but still understated "Goron City", the peaceful "Lon Lon Ranch" (the latter of which is made even better by tender vocal accompaniment). And then there's "Gerudo Valley". The standout theme of the OST makes a similarly strong impression here, as probably the only arrangement from Ocarina of Time with dramatic punch.
The rest of the Ocarina of Time arrangements, if not particularly striking, are at least mildly enjoyable (excluding the short and repetitive "Ganon"). One effect of the string performance and simple, quaint arrangements is that the album feels more like an instrumental recital than an adventure soundtrack. The sense of drama you normally expect of an adventure game soundtrack simply isn't there. Generally I find the more drama in my soundtracks the better, but others might appreciate this more strictly musical approach.
Supplementing the Ocarina of Time arrangements is a special treat at the end of album. "Legend of Zelda Medley" takes several themes from previous installments in the series and arranges them into a dramatic, coherent whole, beginning with the main series theme that everyone knows and loves. With the previous Zelda arranged album Sound & Drama, I'd complained how the arranged version lacked the 8-bit original's powerfully somber intro. Well, Hyrule Symphony has that intro, and it is perfectly suited to strings, as is the remainder of the arrangement. It makes me wonder how much better the rest of the album could have been with a bit more liberal arrangement.
Without more diverse instrumentation, more ambitious arrangements, or at least a bit more content over the 42 minutes present, Hyrule Symphony probably won't have much appeal outside of fans of the series. Still, for those who enjoyed Ocarina of Time's original soundtrack, or who wanted to but couldn't because of the poor synth, Hyrule Symphony is a respectable arranged album.