So you think you’ve heard all that Koichi Sugiyama has to offer from Dragon Quest. You’ve heard his compositions in Brass, on Electone, on Koto, even put to lyrics. His works have been performed by NHK, the London Philharmonic, and the Hungarian Philharmonic. Now, get ready for pure class, as Sugiyama takes all your favorite DQ tunes and has them played by a string quartet. Can’t you just feel the snoot?
Seriously, though, this is one of the best albums of Dragon Quest music out there, as it’s played professionally and cleanly; after all, a string quartet only has four instruments to worry about. Tracks such as Chateau, Minuet, and Rondo bespeak a refined elegance reminiscent of the finest parlors in Western Europe.
Of course, not all the pieces are neutral and refined; on the contrary, there are some tracks such as Make Me Feel Sad, Endless World, Requiem ~ Small Shrine, and Memories of a Lost World ~ Moving Through the Present that are bleak, and gloomy, akin to Ben Houge’s Arcanum: Of Steamwork and Magica Obscura soundtrack (a.k.a. the bleakest OST ever).
But to be fair, the album does have some upbeat pieces, such as the latter half of Lost World ~ Moving Through the Present, Balloon’s Flight, and Arms Trader (Torneko’s Theme). And that doesn’t even include the pulse-pounding Fighting Spirit (both, as there are two tracks with the same name), and Gypsy (Sisters of Monbaraba Theme).
Overall, I highly recommend this album if you can find it. The tracks themselves are classic and classical, with just enough orchestration to be compelling without the enormity of a full orchestra to overwhelm the listener. And if you’re a Dragon Quest fan, there’s no excuse not to pick it up if you can find it.