Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Hyrule Symphony - Soundtrack Review

A Simple Symphony

Track Listing
Disc 1
2.Kokiri Forest
3.Hyrule Field
4.Hyrule Castle (Market)
5.Lon Lon Ranch
6.Kakariko Village
7.Death Mountain
8.Zora's Domain
9.Gerudo Valley
11.Princess Zelda
12.Ocarina Medley
13.The Legend of Zelda Medley
Total Playtime: 51:51
Koji Kondo
Ryuichi Katsumata
Media Factory

To many, the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the pinnacle of perfection in videogames, and the turning point for platform video games. It's no surprise that the music is highly regarded, perhaps not for it's superior sounds and synths, but more for the great themes it provides. The thirteen track Hyrule Symphony album does a lot to improve upon the originals.

The album consists mainly of string ensemble transcriptions with a few other instruments thrown in on certain tracks. That's right, transcriptions. The arrangements are simple and don't do too much with the music, sticking simply with what you hear on the Original Soundtrack, this time by played gorgeous string ensembles. The first track introduces the title theme, with piano and low strings while an ocarina comes out of the texture to float on the main theme. T his calm, serene opening creates a nice feeling, and the second track continues with the lush string orchestrations while lightly playing the "Kokiri Forest" theme. Low strings pizzicato, and eventually the second violin and viola ostinato keep the piece's overall energy pushing to the short and sweet finale.

"Hyrule Field" is not too dissimilar from the OST, while "Hyrule Castle (Market)" starts to point out some of the slight pitch issues seen in the album. The lively Hyrule Castle theme is a surprising addition as I don't really remember this theme from the game as memorably as some of the other tracks. "Lon Lon Ranch" is like the many other arrangements found on Nintendo's arranged albums. A light woman's voice sings the melody full of portimento and lacking vibrato. I found this to be missing a lot of drive and musicality.

"Kakariko Village" opens interestingly and draws you into thinking that perhaps something new would be done with this age old theme, but again the album resorts to simple transcription instead of true arrangements. Interesting tonalities, however, keep this one from becoming too much of a bore. The exciting "Death Mountain" Goron theme jumps in with energized pizzicatos and is a real joy to listen to, while Zora's Domain keeps the energy moving fast.

"Garudo Valley," a fan favorite, is treated to a monotonous ostinato in the low strings, with strings playing the melody; not the finest arrangement. Following in the vein of the track before it, "Ganon" does nothing to impress the listener and resorts to simple transcription and no contrast.

"Zelda Lullaby" adds ocarina back into the mix along with the guitar to create a few new textures that keeps the track fresh and new. The real treat of the album is "Ocarina Medley," which cycles through most of the ocarina songs from the game. This is refreshing to see some life blown into the different ocarina melodies. Some of the songs aren't as inventive as the others, but considering what each is named, such as the "Bolero of Fire" where one can hear the seductive dance with the rhythm in the strings, the arrangements hold true to the songs. The final track "Legend of Zelda Medley" incoporates many of the themes throughout the album, and the entire series, to create a worthy conclusion to a nice album.

All in all, the Hyrule Symphony is a delightful little thirteen track cd with plain but enjoyable tracks. I would reccommend, without a doubt, to purchase this album if you could find it; it's hard to find nowadays but many importers have it. While the Hyrule Symphony is not the best arrangement album available for VG music, I'd be hard pressed to find another as calming.

Sound Quality
Production Value
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