Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon

[back cover]
Catalog Number: PSCN-5017 (first print N30D-006, reprint NTCP-5017)
Released On: November 26, 1994 (first print October 28th, 1991; reprint October 1, 2004)
Composed By: Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged By: Máire Bhreatnach
Published By: NTT Publishing (first print Square Brand)
Recorded At: STARC STUDIOS of Dublin, Ireland
Format: 1 CD
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01 - The Prelude
02 - Prologue...
03 - Chocobo-Chocobo
04 - Into the Darkness
05 - Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV
06 - Welcome To Our Town!
07 - Theme of Love
08 - Melody of Lute
09 - Parom & Polom
10 - Giotto, the Great King
11 - Dancing Calcobrena
12 - Mystic Mysidia
13 - Illusionary World
14 - Rydia
15 - Troian Beauty
Total Time:

[back cover]
First print cover.

It's a rather fascinating idea to take original compositions and orchestrate them with different instrumentations. Occasionally, it results in diminishing returns, taking away from the composer's original idea and causing confusion and disorientation when you hear certain pieces, in other cases, a different instrumentation can bring perspective and delightful discoveries as certain musical aspects are given more attention. Such is the case of Final Fantasy IV's Celtic Moon. 15 tracks were taken from the original OST and were given to a merry band of Celtic musicians with a variety of instruments, from the customary guitar, keyboards and accordion to the ethnic timber flutes and uilleann pipes.

The results are mixed. Some of the selections are a delight to hear, especially with the virtuoso reputation of guitarist Mark Kelly and talented musicianship of Máire Bhreatnach. Others cause a headache with the slightly out of tune instruments.

Celtic Moon begins with the nostalgic and now world famous "Prelude," often called "The Final Fantasy Theme." Musically, it is nothing more than a simple arpeggiated 1-2-3-5 chord played up and down octaves on a harp while the strings and flute come in to carry the melody. Celtic Moon's version is presented well, the Irish harp giving the theme a nice brusque feel with certain notes remaining on one octave to account for the lack of range.

Some of my personal favorites were "Into the Darkness," the haunting and dark melody that plays when the party enters cave areas in the game. The varieties of percussion instruments as well as the melodic and dark timbre of the fiddle accompanied with the Irish Harp plucking the chords breathe a whole new life to the piece.

The "Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV" has always been one of my favorites in the Final Fantasy series. As the signature piece of the game, it has the unenviable duty to carry the basic idea and feeling of the entire game within a set time of melodic development. Celtic Moon's version delivers both the quiet triumph as well as bitter regret that Cecil and party face throughout the game all blended nicely with the feel of the journey. Rather then just play the notes, this piece is mostly improvised after the initial statement of the melody. The ending is built up and final resolution of the theme is played with a stunning and airy grace.

My favorite piece of the Final Fantasy IV has always been "The Illusionary World" and the Celtic Moon version carries the mystery and intrigue with somber strings and quiet percussion with little improvisation and powerful resolution.

Unfortunately, most of the other pieces do not live up to the new orchestration. "Rydia," a quiet, reflective character theme is diminished by tenuous flutes and seemingly out of place female chorals with whispers of "Heeee." The "Theme of Love" sounds a little obnoxious played by slightly out of tune strings.

Overall this is a quality piece and a fine collector's item for any fan of the series or of Celtic music, but in the end I generally have a headache from the fiddles and high pitched woodwinds. It is a breeze to get from any HKT or online supplier.

Reviewed by: Daniel Space

This CD is awesome. Purely spectacular. It deserves more praise-like adjectives than I can think of. That might be prejudice, seeing as I am a fan of both Celtic music and Final Fantasy music...So there you have it. If you like Celtic music or Final Fantasy music, this CD is for you. Even if you hate both, the CD is STILL for you! Well...maybe not.

Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon was originally recorded and released only months after FF4's release, but the reprint (the only version you can find these days) was released long after Final Fantasy IV itself...This CD was actually released after the Japanese release of Final Fantasy VI for Super Famicom. The CD was also reprinted in 1996, so it is somewhat easy to find in stores. So what's the music sound like? Go listen to a Celtic CD and find out. Lots of different flutes/whistles, along with harps, crazy percussional instruments, and lots of violin-ish string instruments. Every track is fully Celtic-ized, no synth (with exception to some synth vocals). Look above at the name or the arranger on this one. Miss Máire Bhreatnach...Straight from Ireland, eh? The style is true to the name, and the songs stay true to their original sounds. Every song is easy to pick up after listening to just once. Now to pick out my favorite track. My personal fave track on this awesome CD is track 11, Dancing Calcobrena. When I first heard this song (by way of playing the American FF2), I was very scared of this song. It gave me the chills. Now, because of this arrangement, I love it. I could dance to this song; in fact, I do dance to this song. My dance looks as scary as the song sounded back in the day to me ;).

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann


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