I’ll say this right off: Symphony Ys is the first Falcom CD I bought. I also will say that I have never been too impressed with what I’ve heard of Falcom music…until I heard sample from this CD and a couple other orchestral ones.
I love orchestral music. It’s almost all I listened to in high school. My musical palette has greatly expanded in these past three years (mostly as a result of game music), but I still love listening to great orchestral music. And if there’s one thing this CD is, it’s great orchestral music.
As with most ‘symphonies’, there are 4 ‘movements’, equivalent to 4 tracks on the CD. They are built around various themes from Ys 1 and 2. Movement 1 is probably my favorite track. Right from the start, movement 1 pulls you in with a grand opening, complete with one of the highlights of the ensemble of the CD – Latin percussion. This is the tune Feena. As tension builds, the tempo gets faster, and kicks into my favorite Falcom tune, First Step Towards Wars. Then with excellent and absolutely NOT boring development, it slows back down, plays a slow version of Palace, and eventually cycles back through Feena and First Step.
Movement 2 is fast and furious at first; the orchestration of Palace of Destruction is very reminiscent of late Romantic composers such as Tchaikovsky and Dvorak, and (I hate to use the term too much, but) is pure aural bliss. It slows down going through many moods, and ends in a very nice stately march. The third movement isn’t quite as up to par as the other 3, but it’s still very good. It’s a very peaceful pastoral-esque piece that makes me think of a Mozart serenade. It also uses a smaller ensemble, which works perfectly for it’s softer, laid back nature.
The final movement is really something. It starts off with a wonderful fanfare, and erupts into a frenzy of strings playing To Make End of Battle, later joined by the rest of the group. After a short slow section, it goes into a very John Williams-esque dramatic fanfare (it almost sounds ripped right out of Superman), and eventually returns to both To Make End, and ends with the Superman-ish fanfare.
I really can’t say how good this CD is, except that it’s the type of CD you can listen to twice in a row and still want to keep listening. This one is a must have for any orchestral game music fan, and should NOT be passed up, whether or not you like Falcom.