Orchestral Game Music Concert 4: Live Best Collection
- "A fan of orchestral game music could hardly ask for anything more."
- Tokyo Symphony Orchestra (performance)
Tracks (72 minutes total)
- Renasu II - 'In Admiration Of The Gods', 'The Final Dungeon'
- Wild Trax (Stunt Race FX) - 'Special Trax'
- Super Mario Brothers - 'Medley' listen
- Super Metroid - 'Theme Of Samus Aran', 'Galactic Warrior', 'Big Boss BGM', 'Ending' listen
- Itadaki Street 2 - 'Sofie's Cavern'
- Dragon Quest II- 'Pastorale', 'Catastrophe'
- Uncharted Waters II - 'Visiting The Harbors of The World', 'Close to Home' listen
- Night of the Kamai - 'Sequence'
- Night of the Kamai - 'Two People Return Alive'
- Albert Odyssey II - 'Together, in the Glory of the Legend' listen
- Final Fantasy VI - 'The Dream Oath, Maria and Draku' listen
- Released Nov 21, 1994 by Sony (catalog no. SRCL-2736, retail 2800 yen).
A fan of orchestral game music could hardly ask for anything more.
Editor's review by Adam Corn
Orchestral Game Concert 4 is wonderful. It has selections from various Nintendo and Super Nintendo games - arranged and performed by an orchestra. Some of these games did not make it to America so their music may not be familiar.
Let's cover the familiar stuff first. What single piece of video game music is more well-known than the stage one theme of Super Mario Brothers? Personally I didn't think I'd care to hear this ancient game's 8-bit tunes rendered by an orchestra, that is until I heard it for the first time. It's hard to describe the feeling of first hearing the orchestra move through the imminently familiar melodies from SMB, although if I had to try I'd say it's a mix of surprise, amusement, and extremely fond reminiscence.
Now on to the next super-familiar track, the opera performance from Final Fantasy VI. The entire opera, with all the instrumental movements and all the vocals. Of course here the vocals are sung by true opera performers, and they're well done since they can move someone like me for whom opera is not a big attraction. The instrumentals are really spectacular though. The arrangement does not vary much from the original version but that's 100 percent fine with me. Again, there's no describing the feeling when you hear all twenty-three minutes of Final Fantasy glory performed marvelously with real instruments.
The SMB and FF tracks alone warrant purchase of this CD, but there's much more. The Wild Trax piece is just as lively as the Mario Brothers theme. A couple tracks combine varying themes with a cultural flair to create truly powerful, cinematic experiences. Most notable is the track from Albert Odessey II, which flawlessly combines adventure themes, Middle Eastern accents, and the blazing orchestral performance to create one of my favorite pieces of game music yet. The medley of themes from Uncharted Waters II is nicely varied and beautiful to the point of being emotionally moving; personally I prefer this orchestral arrangement to the renditions in the UWII Special Edition CD.
I feel obliged to admit that there are a few small flaws. A couple of the tracks could be considered slightly lackluster, and there are a few botched notes by the musicians here and there. It's hardly enough to hurt the soundtrack as a whole, though it may be enough to give pause to paying the high premium the now rare album demands when buying it secondhand. Still for any game music fan - and especially those who experienced the 16-bit era - Orchestral Game Concert 4 offers no shortage of classic orchestral game music to enjoy.
Number four in the game music concert series is good for sure!
Reader review by Jon Turner (2000-11-13)
This is the fourth in the Game Music Concert series, yet it was the first of the Game Music Concert CDs I got. Personally, I didn't know what to expect when I got this album for Christmas, so I was really quite surprised and delighted. This is great stuff. I have so much to rave about this album, and I don't care if it takes up anybody's time. So beware of that as you read on.
Other than hearing another rendition of the Super Mario Bros. medley (slower and less "oomphy", but I'm not complaining) was an arrangement of Super Metroid! I didn't expect this to happen in Japan because the game there isn't exactly popular. That said, this suite is orchestrated and performed in the manner of a sci-fi epic movie score. Honestly, it took me a few minutes to realize that this was Super Metroid; I finally realized what it was when I heard the familiar songs from the game such as "Main Theme", "Brinstar", and "Crateria". (The liner notes don't even say that this is what the songs actually are - a minor flaw in the packaging department.) What's even more cool about it is the way it ends - a climactic finale with a long, satisfying chord from the instruments and a powerful tympani roll (my kind of idea for finales).
Wild Trax also took me by surprise. "What is a racing game with rock 'n roll (and country) music doing in a game music concert?" I thought for a moment. But then I threw that criticism in the trash can just as soon as I heard the music. It's cool! It's whimsical! It's bouncy! That's all I can say about it. Note also that occasionally there are some moments in the music when a car horn (or whatever instrument it is) drops in and does a "BEEP-BEEP!" or two.
I was thrilled to see that they had a piece from Dragon Quest II. At the time I received this CD on the Christmas of 1996, I had never heard any Dragon Quest music (although I did hear praising reviews). The track starts out quietly and softly, but then it becomes dark and furious and ends in a frightening climax. Actually, this tune may be recognizable to fans who have played Dragon Warrior II (the American name for Dragon Quest). If not, then this is a good first-time experience of music from another immensely popular series.
Wait just a minute, don't go away yet! I'm just getting to the very very best part! The finale is (what else?) Final Fantasy VI! At first, I thought it was going to be an arrangement of the totally awesome end title theme, but I was wrong. Instead, it's something even better. It's the opera sequence! There was a rendition of this sequence (well, the aria actually) on Final Fantasy VI: Grand Finale, but that version just pales in comparison to this one. This is the complete opera, with a finale written exclusively for the performance, running for nearly half an hour! The vocal performances are excellent, the arrangement is terrific, and it's truly a treat for Final Fantasy fans who have been dying to see an expansion of this pageant sequence from the game. And check out that moment where the orchestra literally falls apart at 16:46 for a few seconds, but then picks up again for another round at 16:58! That is one of the most awesome parts of this whole CD!
The other music on this album is from games I haven't even heard of. Renasu II? Itadaki Street 2? Uncharted Waters II? Night Of The Kamai? Albert Odyssey 2? I never heard of these titles at all, but they are equally impressive and beautiful as well, with a couple exceptions.
All told, Game Music Concert 4 is yet another must-own to anyone's game music collection.
Simply the best.
Reader review by Kevin Murphy
The Super Mario Brothers theme being played by a full orchestra? The theme of the special track in Stunt Race FX also? It just can't be well done! Well, not only is it well done, but it is quite simply some of the best music *ever*.
Even if the whole CD sucked (which it doesn't), this would be worth getting for the Final Fantasy VI track, which is the arrangement of the whole opera in FFVI, not just the aria! And furthermore, they brought in some real opera singers to sing it. This track alone is 23:10! After I had listened to this for the first time, I had *never* felt so moved by one piece of music. I had the biggest goosebumps. If you only import one CD in your life, this should be the one, just for this track. I can't say enough about it... buy it now!
What are you still reading this for? I said buy it! Okay, you want to know about all the other tracks. Well, the Mario and Stunt Race FX tracks can be called "cute," but they are still awesome! Then there is the opening track from the final dungeon in Renasu 2, which although I never have heard the original, seems to be perfect music for the last dungeon. There is also the "Close to Home" part of Uncharted Waters 2, which is some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. There is a flute playing and birds chirping in the background... to die for!
Bottom line, anyone who likes film scores, classical music, or anything needs to have this CD; it is the *best*.
A charming collection of distinguished favorites and never-before-heard masterpieces.
Reader review by Paul Canniff
Let me start by commenting on a sequence in the middle of the Super Mario Brothers medley. Wow! I felt like I was in a fairy tale. It was originally used as water music within the game but they beautifully arranged it to sound like the *perfect* ballroom music. I can just picture this music being played at my wedding. Just goes to show that taking a melody and playing it with different instruments can have an entirely different impact on how you interpret it. (The various Chocobo renditions are the perfect example of this.)
After hearing the Super Metroid track, I can't imagine any other music being asociated with this game. It starts out with the heroic and heart-pounding title theme which anyone who has played the game is familiar with. But buried underneath the glitz is my favorite part of the medley, the very low-key songs which gave me a feeling of lonliness, or the feeling of being trapped in a maze in which there was no way out. I was mildly dissapointed with the Final Fantasy opera sequence. For some reason I found the artificial voices of the original version way more powerful than the real voices. I mean sure, a real singer would win in a singing contest anyday, but it didn't give me goosebumps like the simplistic rhythmic balance of the artificial voices. Does anyone feel the same way? All in all though, this is my favorite out of all the CDs I have imported. Even the songs I was unfamiliar with were fun to listen to. Get this CD before it vanishes out of existence; you won't regret it!
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