One of gaming's oldest and most beloved series finally has an orchestral album worthy of its namesake.
Editor's review by Adam Corn (2018-02-23)
Thirty years of classic Legend of Zelda themes old and new, given quality orchestral arrangements and performances across the board in The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary Concert - what's not to like? Not much at all, although owners of the limited-edition 25th Anniversary Special Orchestra CD from five years earlier will want to note that about 30 minutes of arrangements are reused from that album. It's material very much worthy of re-inclusion, and though the recording quality of this live concert album isn't at the same level as that studio album, I find the performances for most arrangements are more dramatic here. Undoubtedly the highlights of the re-used arrangements are "The Wind Waker Medley" and "The Twilight Princes Medley", two dramatic, smoothly flowing eleven-minute suites in the classic orchestral adventure style. Among the shorter arrangements, the standouts are a high-intensity "Gerudo Valley" arrangement (blatantly patterned after the Star Trek 2009 main theme but fun nonetheless), and the best orchestral recording dedicated to the classic "The Legend of Zelda Main Theme" in existence.
New to this album are a nine-minute "The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary Medley" (completely different from the 25th Anniversary album's medley, though thankfully possessing its own heart-pounding rendition of the "Dark Overworld" theme), high-intensity "A Link Between Worlds & Tri Force Heroes Medley" and "Boss Battle Theme Medley" arrangements, a surprisingly substantial "The Legend of Zelda Jingle Suite", and the five-star delight of the album, a live performance of the eight-minute "Skyward Sword Staff Roll". Hearing the captivating Skyward Sword "Ballad of the Goddess" theme combined with another fantastic arrangement of the Legend of Zelda main theme - in an even more emotive performance than the already great OST version - is just about too good to be true. Topping off the highlights for the new arrangements are short but sweet orchestral renditions of "Hyrule Castle" and "Zelda's Theme".
The arrangements and recording in The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary Concert aren't quite in the very top echelon of orchestral game music albums, but they are very much good enough, and given the wealth of classic themes they do justice to it's hard to image any fan of orchestral adventure music, and of The Legend of Zelda series in particular, not coming away happy with the results. It took thirty years, but one of gaming's oldest and most beloved series finally has an orchestral album worthy of its namesake.