01 - Quest For Glory V Overture
02 - The Dance of Mystery and Intrigue
03 - The Rite of Freedom
04 - Silmarian Meanderings - Day and Night
05 - The Rite of Conquest
06 - The Rite of Destiny
07 - The Rite of Valor
08 - Undersea Exploring
09 - A Day In The Arena
10 - The Rite of Peace
11 - Frolic at Gnome Ann's Land Inn
12 - The Rite of Courage
13 - The Rite of Justic
14 - Dragon Fire
15 - The Great Hall of Kings
16 - Ambient Tour
17 - Greazy
18 - No Sweat
Chance Thomas, the film, television, and game music composer from Utah, actually had his "humble beginnings" in game music with this 1997 soundtrack. But, among the savvy soundtrack collectors, we know there's nothing "humble" about this album. Quest For Glory V was a half-decent game, but most people who know anything about the game will agree that the soundtrack was what brought the game to life.
These days, Chance is moving up in the world, composing music for such high-profile titles as Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and The Lord of the Rings Online. But even a decade ago, Thomas' abilities to compose, arrange, and orchestrate music (both synthesized and live-performance) were of the highest caliber. And this soundtrack is the proof behind my statement.
I first heard this soundtrack, almost as a fluke, in my younger days. A friend of mine (from middle school...you know, Junior High?) brought over a CD to listen to while we played a variety of videogames. I was immediately struck by one song on the CD. It was track two: "The Dance of Mystery and Intrigue." So much did I like it, that I took a CD player to my piano and learned how to play the piano part by ear. This beautiful A minor piece uses adjacent thirds in a manner similar to my favorite Chopin piece, though significantly slower and less complicated than Chopin's piece allowed for! The piece also included a classical/Latin guitar part, and beautiful non-lyrical vocals from Jenny Jordan. The way in which her voice was recorded, alongside the emphasis on piano, made the song sound like a song off an early Tori Amos album.
For over a decade, The Dance of Mystery and Intrigue stayed with me. I would never forget how much I enjoyed that song. But I also remembered other pieces, ones that I studied less thoroughly, from the album. As I recently came to revisit it, I also discovered that the soundtrack's composer, Chance Thomas, had become more and more well-known, composing for bigger and bigger games. I was pleased by this, of course.
Dragon Fire's soundtrack is composed entirely by Chance Thomas (the "Mark Seibert" listing is in reference to the Quest For Glory series main theme, which appears as a motif in three different tracks on the album). The majority of the soundtrack is recorded with real instruments performed by trained musicians, most of whom were members of the Utah Symphony. The synthesized stuff (including the two silly-sounding bonus tracks at the end) are proof that Thomas isn't a one-trick pony, because even these songs are above average, particularly for Western composers who find themselves unable to branch out from the typical film score-esque style.
There are plenty of great tracks on this album. "Silmarian Meanderings" is another one that has stuck with me and will stick with me for ages to come. I wish upon all my readers the opportunity to listen to this soundtrack in full. Unfortunately, collectors will have to work to find this album. Like so many other PC RPGs, the soundtrack was released as bundle with certain "collector's edition"-style boxes, and those boxes were probably all sold out in 1998, if not by the end of 1997. But if there was any one soundtrack from a Sierra game that deserved a separate soundtrack printing, this was it. And more of it, too! The liner notes claim that over 200 pieces of music were written for the game, which explains the "Ambient Tour" track (where a handful of songs are put together in a medley). Maybe, someday, a full multi-disc release (or maybe an iTunes release?) will come along. To date, the best you can get is a free release of over 40 tracks from the game done by Quest Studios with permission from the composer.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann