Monthly Soundtrack Reviews - Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony CD

Soundtrack: Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary
Album Art Source
Year: 2011
Composer: Koji Kondo, Toru Minegishi, Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, Asuka Ota, Shiho Fujii,
Mahito Yokota, Takeshi Hama and Manaka Tominaga.
Stand Out Track: Gerudo Valley (Or, you know, the whole album)
Works Well With: Fantasy, heroic quests 

Given that I loved Symphony of the Goddesses at the start of this month, I knew I had to review this album today. Alas, getting your hands on it might prove tricky. I got mine with my copy of Skyward Sword in 2011. If you can get it, you should. If not, well, you should attend the concert because hearing this music live is amazing. Listening to this brings back all sorts of new memories now!

The album opens with an epic mash up of themes. I love the rendition of the music from Spirit Tracks. Listen to those opening notes and you'll really get a sense of momentum. And it goes so well with Dragon Roost Island from Wind Waker. The two tracks both have upbeat but urgent feels to them. You're really feel like you're on a journey. They're held together with the main Zelda theme and the Dark World theme from A Link to the Past. They all come together in a thrilling piece of music.

There are two main symphonic arrangements on the album - Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. Both capture their games in the span of ten minutes. Wind Waker starts out with a fairly medieval sounding piece of music, reminding us of the lore the entire world is built on. From there, we move into the game's cheekier, lighter nature. There's a distinct nautical feel to those long, sweeping notes. You'll feel like you're traversing the ocean, and that ocean will take you to battles with the world's most terrible monsters. You have to work for that triumphant ending, but it's worth it.

While the Wind Waker theme is definitely lighter, the Twilight Princess symphony stays with the game's far darker tone. The choir in this piece still gives me chills. Just listen to the crescendo at the 0:54 mark. Wow. And from there it moves into this slower, mysterious piece with a distinctly ominous tone. And yet there are little flickers of light throughout. Yes, this is a more tragic story than other Zelda games (except Majora's Mask), but it's not without its moments of joy. The Hyrule theme bursts out determinedly. There's a moment of happiness, right until the choir pulls you back into the battle until, the the very end, you emerge into the light.

...I need to play Twilight Princess again right now.

Kakariko Village, Great Fairy Fountain Theme, Gerudo Valley, The Legend of Zelda Main Theme and Ballad of the Goddess are the album's shorter pieces. Kakariko feels like a bustling country town. The harps of the Fairy theme are soothing and restful. Gerudo Valley is spectacular. The Zelda Main Theme is bold. The Ballad starts so gently before it gains its adventurous spirit. All of these shorter pieces are every bit as marvellous as the longer symphonic arrangements. I love them all.

The whole album acts as a tour of the Zelda universe. Whether you've played the games or not, you will love the power of this music. If you're struggling to find inspiration, there is something here for you. Want a lighter mood? Go with Windwaker, Kakariko and Ballad of the Goddess. Looking to take on a terrible evil? You need to hear Twilight Princess.

This year is the Zelda franchise's 30th anniversary, and I am hopeful that we'll get a new game and a new album to celebrate. Pretty please, Nintendo? :D


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