Final Fantasy IV -Celtic Moon-
Final Fantasy IV -Celtic Moon-
N30D-006 (1st Edition); NTCP-5017 (2nd Edition)
October 28, 1991; October 1, 2004
Buy at CDJapan
Final Fantasy IV harbors some of my favorite themes from any Final Fantasy game and is also probably my second favorite score of all time. Given that I’m also a giant Mitsuda fan, and I enjoy his Celtic style very much, I decided to see how the Final Fantasy genre tackled this style of music. As most know, the original was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, but these tracks were arranged by Máire Bhreatnach, an Irish musician. How do the arrangements live up to the original and what life can be renewed with these pieces? Read on to find out.
As a note, I really wouldn’t consider this an arranged album by today’s standards. Given the fact that many, but not all, arranged albums completely revamp the tracks that are chosen for arrangement, this album falls a bit short. Most tracks are simply transcribed from their original composition to one that would feel more Celtic in nature. As such, I won’t mention everything. For example, “Prelude” retains its simplistic and linear melody by utilizing harp and Celtic flute rather than harp and strings, as was heard in Final Fantasy IV. Another shining example of this is “Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV.” To me, this sounds almost verbatim to the original, with very little variation, even in instrumentation. It’s still a touching piece, but a bit too much like the original to be considered for this arranged album. Keeping in line with transcription, ìTheme of Loveî also suffers this fate.
Its deep emotion is accentuated with the use of the Celtic instrumentation, but at the same time, it sounds like I’ve heard this many times before in-game with different instrumentation. While the following track is also a paint-by-numbers transcription, I feel it’s the strongest of the transcribed pieces. “Rydia” is a track that truly captures the essence of the small green-haired summoner from the town of Mist. I just love the Celtic flute in conjunction with the chorals and a bit of acoustic guitar. It really adds some depth to the track, despite being a simple transcription. This is beauty in its purest form.
However, not all is lost. An example with a bit of deviation from the original is “Prologue,” otherwise known as the Final Fantasy main theme. While most of the instrumentation has been adapted for a Celtic sound, there is a small portion of that track that deviates and helps to add a bit of Celtic flavor to an otherwise transcribed piece. “Chocobo-Chocobo” is another piece that definitely deviates from the normal piece. I think this is probably the strongest arranged piece, in its truest sense, on the album. The chocobo theme arranged in an Irish jig is an amazing development and one that keeps me coming back for more every time.
Final Fantasy IV -Celtic Moon- is an album that won’t please everyone. Those expecting an arranged album with completely revamped tracks won’t be completely satisfied; however, they won’t be utterly dissatisfied either since there are a few tracks that stand out, “Chocobo-Chocobo” being one of them. Those expecting Celtic music in the most pure sense of the word will be satisfied. This album for the most part sticks to the Celtic instrumentation and really adds a bit of depth to some of the pieces. As for me, I’m stuck inbetween. I love the Celtic music aspect of the album, but at the same time, was expecting a bit more in terms of arrangements. It’s not a bad album by any means; it’s just one that won’t please those looking for both the Celtic influence and the creativity of arrangements.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 16, 2016.