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Orchestral Game Concert 4
Catalog Number: SRCL-2736
Released On: November 21, 1994
Composed By: Kouhei Tanaka, Shinobu Amayake, Koji Kondo, Kenji Yamamoto & Minako Hamano, Kyohei Tsutsumi, Kouichi Sugiyama, Yoko Kanno, Tsuneta Kato, Yasujiro Nakajima, Naoki Kodaka, Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged By: Kouhei Tanaka, Nobuo Kurita, Toshihiko Sato, Keiichi Oku, Kouichi Sugiyama, Yoko Kanno, Toshiyuki Watanabe, Kosuke Onozaki
Published By: Sony Records
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD
Tracklist:

01 - To the God's Imperial Throne~The Final Dungeon (Lennus II)
02 - Special Trax (Wild Trax)
03 - Medley (Super Mario Brothers)
04 - Theme~Space Warrior Samus Aran's Theme~Big Boss BGM~Ending (Super Metroid)
05 - Sofie's Cavern (Itadaki Street 2)
06 - Pastorale~Catastrophe (Dragon Quest II)
07 - Visiting the Harbors of the World (Uncharted Waters II)
08 - Sequence (Night of the Kamaitachi)
09 - Two People Return Alive (Night of the Kamaitachi)
10 - Together in the Light of the Legend (Albert Odyssey II)
11 - The Dream Oath~Maria and Draku (Final Fantasy VI)
Total Time:
72'57"

The Orchestra Game Music Concert was an annual event in Japan from 1991 through 1995 in which orchestral arrangements of special music from Nintendo games released each year were performed. Of the five concerts, this installment is the least afflicted by their perennial problems of under-rehearsal and mundane orchestrations. And with the best selection of music, OGC4 is definitely the strongest of the series.

For most fans, the big-ticket item will most likely be the arrangement of the entire opera scene from Final Fantasy VI. It's an impressive and certainly ambitious feat, though not without a few glitches, such as convincing linking material, performance, direction issues, and less than stellar vocalists. For me, the finest track in the program is Yoko Kanno's stirring, arranged medley of themes from Daikoukaijidai II (Uncharted Waters II). Beginning with a sweeping arrangement of Mast in the Mist, the piece goes on to incorporate the main themes from Moslem Dance, The Mahout, and Land of Luxury, and closes with Close to Home. Kanno's exceptional versatility is once more on display as her recreations of these originally very exotic, ethnically oriented pieces in the orchestral realm are wonderfully successful.

After that, I found the music form the lesser-known games more impressive than the ostensibly "popular" ones, such as a phoned in Dragon Quest medley and the inflated and rather tedious Super Metroid suite. But Kouhei Tanaka's selection from Lennus II is a great opening; martial, dramatic and memorable, and the music from Itadaki Street 2, a board game of all things, is quite surprisingly grandiose and romantic.

Overall, Orchestra Game Concert 4 is an excellent disc that any game music fan would be wise to pick up.

Reviewed by: James McCawley

The fourth CD of the Orchestral Game Concert series is without a doubt the most popular and hardest to find in the collection. One of the reason is probably the over 22 minutes Final Fantasy VI Opera song that can be found on that CD. However, having listened to all 5 CDs in the collection, I can personally say that the 4th one is my favorite and I can certainly understand why nobody wants to sell it when they get their hands on it. Following the format that Ramza started on his reviews of some of the other CDs in this collection, I will make brief comments on every tracks on this CD.

The CD starts off with a bang with a song from Lennus II (Lennus is Paladin's Quest in the US). When I originally heard this CD, I had absolutely no idea what Lennus was but that didn't bother me one bit because the song kicked ass and as long as it is good music, that's all I care about. This track definitely has a powerful feel to it and you can see what I mean by listening to the sample.

The following 2 tracks are from 2 Nintendo-made games. One from Stunt Race FX and the other from Mario. The Stunt Race FX song is without a doubt the most forgetable song on the CD. It's not bad but it's way too childish sounding for my taste. The Mario song is the exact same one that is on the first CD of the collection (see Ramza's review of OGC 1).

Track 4 is one that most people will recognize and is a rather magnificent song. It's from the Nintendo adventure game Super Metroid on the Snes and it really feels like an adventure/action movie soundtrack. Great stuff.

From there comes another surprise by the name of Itadaki Street 2. Once again, I have never heard of this game but this is great stuff and doesn't affect my enjoyment of the song one bit. This is mostly a slower, more melodious song but it builds up towards the end for a great climax.

Track no.6 is the obligatory Dragon Quest song. However, there is only one DQ song on this CD and I liked their choice for that one because it's the song from the intro of Dragon Quest II and brings back memories of the old NES days.

The next track is a classic Yoko Kanno song from Uncharted Waters II. Actually, it's a medley of several UW2 songs and it's definitely a great track. Although I'm not too big on the percussions part and the clapping part near the middle, it gets better near the end when it switches to my favorite song (Close to Home) which I think is just a beautiful song. The Close to Home part is the one that you can hear in the sample below.

The next 2 tracks are from a game called Night of the Kamai and boy is this CD a big surprise. Once again, great music comes from a game that I've never even heard of. Both tracks are great in my opinion and you probably won't want to skip those when you play the CD (I know I don't).

The second to last track is a great one for me as I am a big fan of the Albert Odyssey music on the Saturn game that was released in America by Working Designs. This track features very similar music to what can be found in the Saturn game and some themes are somewhat repeated a little. It's one of the best songs on the CD.

Now, the last track is the one that most people are interested in (since there are so many Squareheads out there). This track is the ENTIRE Opera sequence from Final Fantasy VI interpreted by a full orchestra and 2 opera singers. I'm not a big fan of Opera music and I'm not really a fan of the Final Fantasy VI music (yes, I must be one of the only ones out there) but I thought this song was great. It feels like you're listening to an entire movie on a CD. You can just picture the entire opera sequence from the game while it plays. Personally, my favorite part of the track is the instrumental part of Aria Di Mezzo Carattere that can be heard in the first minute or so of my sample available below. This track is definitely a piece of musical art and at 23 minutes, ranks as probably the longest track in videogame soundtrack history (at least as far as I know) - (Note from Ramza: There is at least one; Secret of Mana + is a one-track CD and it's almost 50 minutes long).

All in all, this CD is definitely one of the top orchestral videogame soundtracks you can find out there and ranks as one of my personal favorites. Good luck if you want to find it though, because it is supposedly one of the hardest CD to find (at least that's what our soundtrack freak Ramza says) :P.

Reviewed by: Eric Farand



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