What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is the best Dragon Quest Piano album to date. That’s not saying much…
Many people have sought out the more-obscure Dragon Quest Piano CDs, only to find themselves highly disappointed, even annoyed. The more intelligent collector read reviews first to find out just how bad these albums are. To explain, it seems clear to me that the intent of Sugiyama was not to make a quality arranged album (like Arc the Lad Piano or the Final Fantasy Piano Collections)…rather, take the score of the songs from the OST, put together a simple left hand and right hand part, then get someone to perform it. Market it to children to help them learn piano: advertise the sheet music with the CD. Nothing impressive, just a simple romp through the world of Dragon Quest on one instrument.
Taken out of the usual context of expectation, then, the CD doesn’t fare so poorly. It accomplishes its task…27 songs, simple arrangements, good times…any young, aspiring Japanese pianist could start here and end up who knows where. That’s how I like to see it.
But you know what that means, of course: it isn’t really good music at all. Take some time out of your day and head to your local recital hall (normally found within the walls of colleges and churches). Find out when the next children’s recital is, and attend. You will probably not enjoy much of anything musically. I grew up with this sort of stuff, so I know what I’m talking about. You will be bored to tears. This may sound negative, but it’s true. This same level of boredom is what ensues when listening to your average DQ Piano CD.
But as I said, this one isn’t your usual DQ Piano. These are, first of all, the most complex arrangements I’ve heard thus far on a DQ Piano. Techniques such as hemiola, drag triplets, and complex time signatures all work their way in. A number of the songs are even enjoyable to listen to, and I suspect their difficulty level is near that of some of the early Final Fantasy Piano Collections. That’s good news.
However, everyone agrees that in the end, one cannot help but see the completely unreached potential compositions like these have of being made into solid piano arrangements. I can try to be optimistic here…but I know I am only kidding myself. The album is generally not very enjoyable. I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone except for children learning the songs and avid Dragon Quest soundtrack-collectors. I plan on selling my copy shortly anyway: who wants it?