Orchestral Game Music Concert 5: Live Best Collection

  • "A consistently solid orchestral collection with some must-hear arrangements."
Editor's review

Featured Artists

Tracks (53 minutes total)

  1. Kirby's Super Deluxe - 'The Gourmet Race' ~ 'CollisionTheme' ~ 'Theme Of Kirby's Triumphant Return' listen
  2. Super Mario Yoshi Island - 'Yoshi's Athletic'
  3. Donkey Kong Country - 'Water Music' listen
  4. Fire Emblem II - 'Fire Emblem's Theme Song'
  5. Dragon Quest VI - 'Evil Motive' ~ 'Satan's Castle' ~ 'Shivering, Beating Heart'
  6. Dragon Quest VI - 'Flying Bed'
  7. Hercules' Glory IV - 'Atlantis' Memories' ~ 'At The Edge Of The Earth' ~ 'Goblins' War' listen
  8. Renasu II ~ Sealed Believers ~ - 'Erutsu Turbulent Journey'
  9. Bounty Sword - 'Invincible Knight'
  10. Iihatoovo Story - 'Iihatoovo Hymn' listen
  11. Seiken Densetsu 3 - 'Meridian Child' listen
  12. Chrono Trigger - 'Theme Of Chrono Trigger'

Release Notes

  • Released Jan 21, 1996 by Sony (catalog no. SRCL-2739, retail 2800 yen).

A consistently solid orchestral collection with some must-hear arrangements.

Editor's review by Adam Corn

For an orchestral game music fan such as myself, Orchestral Game Concert 4 was an event. So expectations were high when I later ordered the next installment in the series.

I never would have thought that the Nintendo tracks would be some of my favorites in these CDs, but indeed they are. Leading things off in Orchestral Game Concert 5 - and the biggest surprise of the CD for me - is the "Kirby's Super Deluxe" arrangement. Beginning with a quiet, tender intro, the piece then moves into standard upbeat Nintendo fare. The melodies seem rather simplistic but are undoubtedly catchy, and the orchestral performance supplements them perfectly. Every instrument comes in at just the right time and place to make dramatic impact, so that a simple melody about a cute little critter named Kirby becomes almost epic.

Another similarity with OGC4 is that this CD has selections from games I and many others have never in our lives heard of. "Hercules' Glory IV", "Bounty Sword", "Iihatoovo Story"... where in the world did these games come from? OGC4 managed to overcome this with some arrangements that were awe-inspiring, whether familiar or not. Orchestral Game Concert 5, although partially successful, isn't as much so. Rather than striving for great emotional heights, some of these tracks seem like more reserved, roaming-the-castle, hiking-to-the-next-town, talking-to-the-villagers stuff. There are exceptions though, such as the ominous beginning to "Renasu II" and the entire "Iihatoovo Story" piece - a tender, stirring arrangement with fluttering flutes, soothing strings, poignantly lonely French horn, and a melody that'll have Final Fantasy IV fans doing double-takes at first.

One final similarity to OGC5 worth mention is the grand finale of arrangements from games by Square. I've never heard a bit of Seiken Densetsu 3, but this arrangement of "Meridian Child" has me wishing otherwise. After an intro straight out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we have vintage Square adventure and drama combined with a bit more John Williams and a blazing orchestral performance. Too bad it ends so soon. Finally comes the main theme of Chrono Trigger (with Marle's theme also worked in). It doesn't come even close to matching OGC4's jaw-dropping arrangement of the FFVI opera, but those who dig Chrono Trigger's intro music will surely love this performance.

Although Orchestral Game Concert 5 doesn't boast quite as popular a selection of classic themes as its predecessor, it nonetheless offers plenty of good orchestral tunes and a few truly great ones to boot. It's an excellent collection that anyone looking for dynamic orchestral music should enjoy immensely.

4 1/2 starsHighly Recommended

The last - and least - of the game music concert series is still worth the buy.

Reader review by Jon Turner (2000-11-13)

This is the last of the Game Music Concert series, and surprisingly, it's the weakest of the series. It's much shorter than the previous concerts, and there are no super-long, "grand" tracks (e.g. the Final Fantasy VI Opera in Game Music Concert 4) to fully satisfy the listener's appetite. In addition, some of the songs are more action-packed and less comforting in terms of listening experience.

Not that there is nothing to enjoy in here, however. There are a whole lot of tasty treats packed within the 12 tracks, and the arrangement and performance quality is still first rate. Like the first four Game Music Concerts, this one takes familiar songs from various videogames and gives them the big orchestral, symphonic treatment. In addition, there are the pleasant surprises and unfamiliar titles (to us Americans, that is) that we have come to expect from listening to the previous versions.

Some of my favorite tracks are the ones that come from Nintendo games. Known to us in America as "Yoshi's Island: Super Mario World 2", Super Mario Yoshi Island is very lighthearted and humorous, with just the right touch of whimsy, making it follow successfully in the footprints of the preceeding Mario titles. To me, it is really impressive to hear Koji Kondo's works (some of which I never imagined a full orchestra playing) given the orchestral treatment, because it pays great homage to the composer of some of the most popular games of all time, such as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend Of Zelda.

Another Nintendo favorite given the orchestral treatment is Donkey Kong Country, known in Japan as "Super Donkey Kong". No, really. You have to hear for yourself. It's impressive to hear a jungle groove being played by an orchestra. The rest of the tune is a very gorgeous and relaxing arrangement of the water stage from the game. I never thought Donkey Kong Country could sound this great, so this track was another surprise for me.

The other two all-time favorite tracks of mine are the last ones, which come from Square. I had always dreamed about hearing Seiken Densetsu 3's music orchestrated (especially after hearing the excellent treatment of Seiken Densetsu 2 on Game Music Concert 3), and this was a dream come true. It's very grand and involving in composition and performance. It's also more lively and contains special cues from John Williams' Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. I bet John Williams would be impressed at this.

But the biggest treat of all is the last track, which is (guess!) Chrono Trigger! For those of you who were disappointed with Chrono Trigger: The Brink Of Time, this is the treat for you. The orchestra plays the theme from Chrono Trigger the way it is meant to be heard - by symphony orchestra true and unadulterated. And the inclusion of Crono & Marle's Love Theme is very refreshing and nice, too.

The rest of the music comes from games that have never been released to America, (Kirby's Super Deluxe is an exception, except I've never played the game!) all of which are similarly well done and performed. Yes, they are more "action-oriented" than most, but it is still grand to hear game music performed by an orchestra. In fact, some diehard Dragon Quest fans will be pleased to hear two arrangements of songs from Dragon Quest VI (which in my opinion, was a really grand effort for Sugiyama, and another one of my favorite soundtracks).

All in all, this slightly inferior Game Music Concert 5 is still worth my high recommendation. Even if it is smaller than the first four, the amount of spectacular suites from some of your favorite games of all time make it irresistable. That, to me, is what makes Game Music Concert 5 so special just as much as the other four.

5 starsEssential Listening

The final chapter in the OGC series comes too soon...

Reader review by Brad Stabler (2000-12-31)

After reaching its peak with Orchestral Game Concert 4, the series finishes with OGC5. While OGC5 is an excellent CD, it does suffer some relative flaws. For myself, OGC4 was a true masterpiece, and OGC5 is no exception, despite those flaws.

While some games are familiar and some never heard before, only Famicom and Super Famicom games are arranged on this disc. Of course like every OGC CD, Squaresoft and Nintendo are arranged into full orchestral glory. The Tokyo City Philamornic Orchestra shines with excellent instrumentation and clear recording quality. Some botched notes are heard here and there, but these are hardly enough to hurt the soundtrack.

Nintendo, of course, makes an appearence on this CD, like at every concert before it. Probably the "Kirby's Super Deluxe" arranged is the best of them all. A quiet, light-hearted intro gives way into typical Nintendo flare. Bouncy, catchy, wonderful melodies over-glorified by a full orchestral performance. "Donkey Kong Country," on the other hand, flops. I was looking forward to hearing my favorite music from the game turned into an emotional, lovely piece. Pounding drums, and a mediocre intro give way into the water music. The aquatic instrumentation from the orignial, already ruined by the intro, is lost by only strings, and not the watery woodwinds from the original. Too bad.

Dragon Quest VI is great, but "Eternal Lullaby" is missing. Bounty Sword and Hercules' Glory IV seem too... gamey. Then comes the dangerous, gloomy beginning to Renasu II. This piece is just as excellent, though not as much of a masterpiece, as the Renasu II piece from OGC4. Also, the Iihatovoo Story piece gives as much emotion as the Uncharted Waters II arrangement from OGC4 did.

Finally, the grand climax - Square finishes OGC5 the way it should be finished. The explosive Seiken Densetsu 3 arrangement coupled with the two themes of Chrono and Marle from Chrono Trigger are a splendid finale. Too bad they end too soon, for I would've loved to hear the themes of Schala, Frog, and Magus, blown up to epic status. While it doesn't really hold a torch to the Final Fantasy VI opera, it'll do.

Orchestral Game Concert 5, like the rest, is a truly epic event. But, where's an Orchestral Game Concert 6? The OGC series had it's plug pulled too soon. This CD is a worthy purchase, and if you can find it, buy it for whatever the price.