Dragon Quest VII Symphonic Suite
|Album Title||Catalog No.|
|Dragon Quest VII Symphonic Suite & Original Soundtrack||SVWC-7052/3|
|Dragon Quest VII Symphonic Suite SACD||SVWG-7069|
|Dragon Quest VII Symphonic Suite (Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra)||SVWC-7403/4|
Koichi Sugiyama, one of the greatest names in video game music, started his career way before game music even existed. He has done some music for TV commercials, some movies (one of which is a Godzilla film), and some anime series (Magic Knight Rayearth included). His first known project as a game music composer is the original Dragon Quest (known as Dragon Warrior in the US). Since then Sugiyama has composed for every single Dragon Quest game, including Dragon Warrior Monsters and Torneko’s Adventures titles. Sugiyama also scored one game for Square, the obscure Hanjuku Hero on the Super Nintendo. The ways his pieces are structured creates a distinct classical sound, which makes sense as he is a classically-trained musician. People such as Nobuo Uematsu and Yuzo Koshiro looked up to him, and in their turn, they both became widely known. Now then, shall we begin looking into what is his latest work?
The initial print of the Dragon Quest VII Symphonic Suite shares a particular trait that all its predecessors had taken. The first disc contains the very best tracks arranged by a live orchestra, but not just ANY orchestra — the highly popular London Philharmonic. The second disc is the soundtrack itself. Unfortunately, due to the fact that Dragon Quest VII was originally destined for release on the Super Nintendo, the sound quality suffers a bit. Heck, even Dragon Quest VI sounds better. In 2006, the suite was printed with a new improved performance by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and some additional tracks. The original score was not included. I’ll assess the suite.
The initial piece is “Overture VII”. This classic opening theme of all the Dragon Quest games is brilliantly executed; the trumpets do their part very well in giving off a medieval feel. “Morning in Eden” starts off quietly and the violins help to convey some emotion; it is a marvelous introduction theme. “Saraband” sounds somewhat sad with its slow triple metre and again uses strings expertly. “Echo of Horns throughout the Castle” is the castle theme. As the title states it, the main instrument here is the French horn and it’s just lovely. The cellos used later on just gives off a wondrous effect, this is the symphonic style in which Sugiyama is known for. “Heavenly Village” is the hero’s village theme; it’s a beautiful and happy track and the flute used here just makes you go “awwwwww”.
“Days of Sadness” is another sad, but oh so lovely medley, The use of cellos and violins here are just stupendous; it really helps to convey the mood. “Strolling in the Town” is a medley of the following pieces: “Relaxing Street Corner”, “Paradise”, “Garden of Time”, and “Banquet Plaza”. This track is mostly quiet and just a bit upbeat; it’s also the longest track, clocking at 8:08 minutes. “Memories of a Lost World ~ Moving Through the Present” is one of the more epic tracks. It first starts off with a quiet theme and then the world map theme makes it’s majestic entrance; the trumpets here give off the “We’re off to save the world from an incredible evil!” kinda feel. The violins complement the cellos wonderfully here, followed by the majestic trumpets. “Shadow of Death” starts off menacingly, but later on shows off its beautiful side; the violins here… are just SO beautiful.
Now comes one of the finest tracks in the first disc. “Fighting Spirit ~ World of the Strong” features the battle and boss battle themes. “Fighting Spirit” starts off well and, after its first loop, we are presented with a lovely interlude before we move on to “World of The Strong,” which is equally enjoyable despite having a little less ‘oomph’. “Aboard Ship ~ Pirates of the Sea” starts off with a lovely harp, quickly backed up by violins that give a slight mischievous sound; later on the trumpets and horns make their way and the drums used here create the sound of a military march. “To My Loved One” is simply beautiful, romantic, enchanting, etc.; yep, the violin use here just makes me speechless again — it’s so beautiful. « Screams from the Tower of Monsters » starts off mysteriously, then it starts getting a bit eerie, but it fits the mood perfectly.
“Magic Carpet” is somewhat upbeat. The horns and violins complement the melody nicely, seems the violin is the instrument mostly used in the soundtrack so far. “Over the Horizon” is the last lovely track in Disc One of the original print; at a certain point it gets epic and has the “Don’t worry, we’ll vanquish the evil soon” kinda feel, I like this a lot. Disc One ends with “Orgo Demila”, which is the final boss theme. It uses a starting motif that Sugiyama has used since Dragon Quest; the trumpets and percussions here shows off the immense power of the ultimate evil, then the violins brings up an element of danger as the fight wears on… oh, how dreadfully well executed. The second disc of the original print concludes everything with a wonderful staff roll “Triumphal Return ~ Epilogue”.
If you are interested in buying this marvelous set, then I’d recommend purchasing the recent print unless the soundtrack itself means a lot to you. If you’re a big fan of Sugiyama/Dragon Quest games, make sure you don’t miss out on it.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Luc Nadeau. Last modified on January 16, 2016.