Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Perfect Collection
Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Perfect Collection
September 23, 2005
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In 2005, Falcom decided to compile their two musical productions dedicated to Ys: The Oath in Felghana into one album. The Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Original Soundtrack features two discs of Yukihiro Jindo’s elaborate interpretations of Ys III with instrumental recordings and superb synth. The Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Super Arrange Version revisits ten of the tracks from the score and gives them a range of treatments, some more inspired than others. Yet whereas the original score is widely acclaimed, the arranged album is a considerably weaker production. Should they have been compiled together?
The original score for Ys: The Oath in Felghana featured on the first two discs is quite deserving of the title ‘perfect’. The opener, for example, features an inspired piano performance of “A Premonition = Styx =”. It keeps the fragility and mysticism of the original’s chord progressions, yet also departs from them with a lush central build-up. In the subsequent track, the theme is fully orchestrated in a cinematic manner to impressive effect. The colourful approach extends right to the once superficial town theme for Redmont all the way to the heroic violin-led interpretation of Adol’s theme. Even once brief filler tracks from the original score are now fully elaborated upon, such as the heart breaking piano and violin duet “Quiet Moments”, or the ominous rock track “Be Careful”.
Elsewhere in the album, there are highly inspired renditions of the dungeon themes. “Illburns Ruins”, for instance, is a pumped-up fusion of flamenco and electric guitar, while “Valestine Castle” is a light rock anthem inspired by series’ classics. There are wonderful battle themes, such as “Dark Beasts as Black as the Night” with its heavily articulated accompaniment or “A Searing Struggle” with its extravagant electric guitar solos. However, the best is clearly “The Strongest Foe”, which creates an intense wall of sound through its combination of electric guitar, organ, and orchestra. What a final boss theme! After these epics, “Morning of Departure” reflects a more intimate and modest sound for the game before “Wanderers from Ys” rounds off the excellent score with a heroic march.
Unfortunately, the Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Super Arrange Version featured on the third disc is considerably less impressive. Yukihiro Jindo tends to overly labour the original material this time. For example, his opening interpretation of “Prelude” and “Trading Village of Redmont” is very repetitive despite the technical competence of the orchestration. There are other disappointments on the album. “The Boy Who Had Wings” is a pleasant reference to new Falcom’s rocked-up violin sound, yet ends at the 1:22 mark, while the gothic arrangement of “Valestine Castle” is only a promising ‘demo version’. It’s also bizarre that an ambient rendition of the opening theme features at the centre of the album and this really limits the direction of the collective experience.
There are nevertheless highlights among the rest of the arrangements here. For instance, Masashi Okagaki’s interpretation of “A Searing Struggle” retains the epic vibe of the original, “Prayer for Love” is an intricate gothic arrangement featuring harpsichord continuo, and “Dear My Brother” is a heartrending string and piano piece. The album also comes to a satisfying climax with the varied and action-packed orchestration of “Sealed Time”. Daringly, “A Premonition” and “Believe in My Heart” are also interpreted into vocal pieces featuring the charismatic voice of Youchi Shigami. They’re select tastes, but pretty well done overall. The opener is an especially effective interpretation of an unlikely piece, though the ending theme seems to lack that rock spirit and suffers from sterile accompaniment.
If you are interested in purchasing both the Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Original Soundtrack and Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Super Arrange Version, then it is potentially more cost-effective to purchase them both together in the Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Perfect Collection rather than separately. The original score is a must-have for all RPG fans out there and is probably Falcom’s best work ever. However, the arranged album is rather hit-and-miss and best intended only for hardcore collectors.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Charles Szczygiel. Last modified on August 1, 2012.