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Ys V Orchestra Version

"Ys, arranged, and orchestral... simply great stuff." Recommended



48 minutes total
  1. Lost Kingdom
  2. Field of Gale
  3. Theme of Lovers
  4. Niena
  5. Forgotten City
  6. Break into Territory
  7. Turning Death Spiral
  8. Theme of Kefin
  9. Theme of Adol
  10. Farewell
  • Released Apr 24, 1996 by King (catalog no. KICA-1178, retail 3000 yen).
  • Detailed release notes and credits at VGMdb.


Ys, arranged, and orchestral... simply great stuff.


Editor's review by Adam Corn

Ys V Orchestra Version continues Falcom's tradition of excellent arranged soundtracks. Like Symphony Ys '95, one of the classic game soundtracks, it boasts Ys melodies arranged by Tamiya Terashima and performed with high-quality sampled orchestral instruments.

With this CD and others, Terashima makes a strong case for being the best arranger of game music around, taking rather contemporary-style melodies often intended as pop or power-rock and making them sound as if they were born for orchestra.

The arrangements are brought to life by a sound system of sampled orchestral instruments. The quality is right on target with Symphony Ys '95, which is to say quite good. Rarely do I find myself wishing that a particular instrument sounded better. A true live orchestral performance would still be even grander (sometimes the sampled sounds seems to mesh together a bit, lacking some distinction and clarity), but the present sound system does a fine job of carrying the music.

Noticeable in Ys V Orchestra Version is the use of repetition to build drama. Terashima sometimes takes one of two brief melodies and creates a full-length arrangement which remains captivating throughout. "Field of Gale" begins with a simple two-note sequence, from which emerges an exhilarating, soaring arrangement that does the Ys name full justice. Through similar repetition, the ominous tune in "Turning Death Spiral" becomes even more imposing. It doesn't take too many listens for these previously unfamiliar melodies to become permanently and welcomely engraved in one's mind.

As usual in Ys CDs, there is a nice mix of slower arrangements and more intense fare. Terashima is wonderfully adept at sustaining mild arrangements for long enough to make them enjoyable, then breaking out fast-pace, adrenaline-pumped climaxes at just the right time. Also, a few tracks have an ethnic sound for added variety. "Forgotten City" could easily be mistaken for a port-town theme from Genso Suikoden.

A fan of orchestral soundtracks would be hard-pressed not to enjoy Ys V Orchestra Version. I don't think it has quite the dramatic punch of Symphony Ys '95, but a listen to the track "Farewell" (in which the introduction and finale are absolutely blazing) makes the difference negligible. Fans of Ys will find this disc to be a welcome addition to their collections, and for those people unfamiliar with the series, this is a great place to start for its orchestral side.

A superb presentation of wonderful music, synthesized with incredible realism.

Reader review by Jason Sander

In the game music department, fully orchestrated soundtracks seem to be extremely (and regrettably) rare. I decided to take a chance with this CD. Am I ever glad I did!

The title is a bit misleading, since the entire disc is performed not by a live orchestra, but by synthesizers, akin to Symphony Ys '95. It still sounds extremely real, however. In fact, I didn't even realize it was synthesized at first, but only after listening to it a few times and analyzing the sounds of the instruments (it probably says so in the liner notes, but I can't read Japanese anyway).

Now for the big question: Is the music as good as the sound system? Well, let me put it this way, "Lost Kingdom" almost had me in tears when I first heard it. It is without any doubt some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard! "Field of Gale" is one of the best pieces on the disc, a rocking piece that is simply awesome! There is a variety of different styles represented here, as well. "Forgotten City" reminds me rather strongly of the kind of music you would hear in an Italian restaurant, with strings and an accordion taking the forefront. I have never played the game, but I am pretty sure that this must be town music. "Theme of Kefin" is a mixture of African and Scottish styles, with steel drums and hand percussion supplementing winds and strings. "Farewell" is my favorite piece on the disc. It is arranged like an overture, combining many of the various themes into an ending piece that is truly incredible! I got huge goosebumps while listening to it. In fact, I was still drowning in a sea of emotion long after the track ended, just sitting in stunned silence.

Now, I realize that some of you may be turned off from just the fact that this CD is synthesized, and that's fine. I myself, being a percussionist who has performed with many ensembles, am not too crazy about computerized music. But even I can make an occasional exception, and let me tell you that passing up this CD solely on the basis of how it is performed is a huge mistake. I urge anyone to at least give this CD a listen, and then decide.

If you like symphonic music even a little bit, and can stand listening to synthesized orchestra, then you should go and find this CD as soon as humanly possible! It is one of my favorite CDs, period. I just can't stop raving about it!

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