Released one year after the first Ys Piano Collection, this second album features tracks from the the first four Ys titles (which were all that existed at this time).
Generally, I found that Fujisawa (the performer/arranger) stepped up from the previous Ys piano arrangements, which were first of all not “true to form” piano solo, but rather piano featured over other instruments, including violins and keyboard synths. The Ys Piano 1 arrangements were also much more simplistic than what we hear in these songs. This may be simply because Fujisawa chose songs with more complex melodies and chord structures: I’d like to believe Fujisawa just learned from the mistakes of the past and made a better album.
Well, maybe it’s not entirely true that these arrangements are complex. We have seen much more impressive work on, say, the Brandish Piano Collection, or some of the later Final Fantasy Piano Collections. But compared to the first Ys Piano Collection (and, lower on the scale, to early Dragon Quest On Piano CDs), this album is quite the accomplishment. Even songs that keep easy left-hand rhythms (like “Lefance” and “Field”) are using interesting chords and melodies to keep the tension and feel of the original versions alive.
My favorite arrangement on this album is “A Premonition = Styx =” from Ys III. There are many versions of this classic Falcom tune out there, but this is one of my favorites. Fujisawa takes the original melody, and repeats it using an entirely new chord progression (that still fits!) in the left hand. This is a true “arranged” piece. Not only that, the timbre and simplicity of a piano makes the song sound much more elegant than the usual ultra-reverb synth used to carry the melody in the opening.
The album does contain some classic flaws: “A Still Time”, for example, is very repetitive. Fujisawa’s version of the song seems to go nowhere, so it doesn’t warrant the length of time it is given on the CD. This flaw is found elsewhere on this CD, but is most prominent on this particular song.
It is a shame that Falcom went ahead and reprinted the first Piano Collection without reprinting this one. Between the two, I am much more fond of this one. Regardless, don’t spend too much time/money/effort tracking this CD down. It has interesting arrangements of certain songs, but other than the Ys IV tracks, you’ve heard many of these songs in many different incarnations.