One of the fascinating things I find about any type of arrangement album, whether it’s for a solo instrument or an ensemble of whatever size, is that regardless of what you might remember about the piece, there’s always something new and special that can be brought to the table. Take my impressions on the Through Time and Space: Chrono Piano Album, specifically “Souls of the Forest”: it was a familiar piece, but I was dumbstruck by the arrangement’s ability to breathe as if it were alive. There are also tracks like “Alight” from the Fire Emblem piano music collection album that takes an originally active piece in the OST (Fire Emblem Fates) and shapes it into something completely different (melancholic). Things like this are incredibly delightful to experience, and Chad Twedt does a splendid job injecting himself not only into the arrangements but the execution as well!
“Fired Up!” is a great starting place, as the fierceness of its original track is shaped into something more moderate in musical aggression in his arrangement. The track’s fieriness truly dances at 1:14, where the music builds up to a rocking forte playing. However, and this is where I find Twedt’s arrangements are interesting, the music takes a bit of a turn at 2:08 where it goes major for a moment, changing the immediate tone of the piece (briefly happy), but then quickly returning to serious before finishing. Whenever I hear sections like this, regardless of where they are in the music, I get a sense of irony, as though something is trying to look at the bright side of something then ultimately accepting what can’t be changed. True, I could be looking too heavily into that, but it’s something that I’ve always felt towards the end of Chopin’s Prelude in E minor. In this sense, what captivated me about both Chopin’s prelude and Twedt’s “Fired Up!” was its ability to convey a story. Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised with that section, and I can say in a way it fired me up for the rest of this album (I couldn’t help it).
I actually want to jump over to “Sanctum Sanctorium,” for a moment. Twedt’s performance is sparkling here, especially during 2:08-2:38. And like “Fired up!,” things get fascinating at 2:39, where the music takes another turn where it sounds like it would fit perfectly in either a Schubert or Chopin piano piece. However, as much of a change it was, it felt like it belonged, and it was very enjoyable.
So as not to sound like a broken record player, I’ll briefly bring up one last track I enjoyed: “Denarius.” This time around, rather than the arrangement catching me off guard, it doesn’t take any curious turns. Of course, what makes this track (which is actually three tracks put into one) thrilling to listen to is Twedt’s performance. “Denarius” would be my go-to track to demonstrate Twedt’s firm, yet nimble piano playing (especially starting at 3:13). Hopefully, you’ll get an Idea of what I’m talking about in the sample on the side. Another thing that he does nicely is connect the three tracks together so they don’t feel like three separate ideas, but one cohesive storyline around the main antagonist of the game.
As for the other tracks, they tell their own stories in their arrangements. I applaud Twedt in his arranging and ability to animate those notes to sharpen our ears on what’s happening in the music. At this point, it should be clear that I found this album absolutely delightful. He does a smashing job on the tracks chosen for these arrangements. However, that leads me to wonder: why choose these tracks in particular? I personally would have liked if he, or whoever was in charge of deciding the tracks, chose pieces like “Can You Hear The Snow?” or “Snow Angels.” This is, of course, my own selfish desire, but I feel either of these tracks would have blossomed well under Twedt’s careful eyes on this album. Other than that, and perhaps wanting a longer tracklist, I found The Lost Angelic Chronicles of Frane: Dragons’ Odyssey Piano Arrangements a wonderful treat to hear while relaxing. Of course, this album might not be for everyone, but I’m hoping the samples on the side might convince you otherwise.