I always felt that the best sounding recordings of the Dragon Quest Symphony series have been performed by the London Philharmonic, as is the case with this CD. It was released alongside DQ Symphony III, V and VI, shortly before OST VII (if I’m not mistaken they were also released together with the OSTs before). If you don’t own a single Dragon Quest CD yet, you might want to start with part IV or VII. I bought the I•II CD after I listened to all the others, just to complete my collection.
It’s always hard to single out good pieces on Dragon Quest CDs – Koichi Sugiyama loves to reuse and/or vary his themes, so it’s sometimes difficult to discern between different tracks. All of the tracks are good, though my favorite here is track 10, “Love Song”, a very happy sounding arpeggio-style track. Overall I feel that the compositions for Dragon Quest II are the best on this album (e.g. “Town Theme”). “Endless World” is also an outstanding track, with sometimes sweeping sometimes mysterious melodies, and “Beyond the Waves” a joyful waltz – when you close your eyes you can almost see the ship flying over the majestic ocean…*cough*, I got a bit carried away here. The last track, “My Road My Journey” is another well done credits-music that makes you feel good – the sound reminds me of old Hollywood movies, although most of them didn’t have a proper credits sequence. Note that there are also a couple more tracks on this CD than on Dragon Quest in Concert.
What I missed a little are those 8 minute long that appear on later in the series. The booklet contains sheet music for six tracks, printed VERY tiny. You can play along on a piano if you like, but these pieces are not too easy.
If you like Dragon Quest Symphonies or classic Hollywood musical style music, don’t hesitate to buy this CD (after checking out the sound samples beforehand). It isn’t even that expensive compared to most game music concert CDs and the sound quality is great (thanks to 20bit Super Bit Mapping, whatever that may be). This CD is out of print but may still available from CD Japan and other online retailers.