The Legend of Zelda series is well known for its consistently amazing soundtracks, many composed by legendary video game composer Koji Kondo. Even non-gamers recognize the now-iconic overworld theme from the first entry in the series. Despite this, these soundtracks were often held back from what they could have been due to hardware limitations. The folks at Zelda Reorchestrated sought to re-imagine classic Zelda compositions as full orchestral pieces. Twilight Symphony, the group’s 2012 magnum opus, and final work, remasters the majority of 2006’s Twilight Princess (released on the GameCube and Wii) as a spectacular live-instrumental symphonic epic.
Twilight Symphony covers nearly every single piece of music featured in Twilight Princess, arranged with live instruments played by scores of talented musicians, including all the classical orchestral instruments, guitar, and a full choir (more on that later). Twilight Princess had some fantastic compositions which have been made all the more epic thanks to Zelda Reorchestrated. Even the less memorable tracks from the game have been remastered to spectacular results. Not one single track fails to impress.
Right from the get-go with the track “Overture,” a re-imagining of the game’s opening screen music, you know you’re in for one hell of a ride. This track sets an epic tone for this musical journey that continues throughout your three hour and twenty-four minute listening experience. Twilight Symphony keeps on giving with beautiful renditions of “Ordon Village” and “Ordon Ranch” from the game’s starting locale, an accoustic guitar heavy arrangement of “Faron Woods” that perfectly captures the mysterious vibe of the woodlands, a truly epic version of one of the best Zelda overworld themes out there with “Hyrule Field,” an amazing piano-only “Midna’s Lament,” and a slew of amazing boss fight themes.
Of course, there are a few omissions, but nothing truly necessary is absent. It really boils down to a lot of boring dungeon themes and similar sounding boss themes being left out. For example, the themes for Morpheel, and Argorok, Twilight Princess’s third and seventh dungeon bosses are very similar, so only Argorok’s was included in Twlight Symphony. Also absent, is the house theme, which has appeared is pretty much every 3D Zelda title (which is probably the reason for its omission).
Twilight Symphony even features music from most side activities in the game, such as the peaceful music from the Fishing Hole, or the exciting snowboarding music on Snowpeak, and the music which plays in the “castle” of Agitha, Princess of Bugs. There’s also a fun little medley of various jingles such as the Mailman theme and the jingle that plays when Link gets fired out of the giant cannon at Lake Hylia, arranged by none other than Braxton Burks, the man behind Pokemon Reorchestrated.
Another cool thing about Twilight Symphony is that Zelda Reorchestrated launched a Kickstarter campaign just to hire the choir lending its talents to the album. This move truly paid itself off, and they made damn sure to get as much use out of the choir as possible. Not only are tracks that had choir in the game now fully realized with live singers, but tracks that didn’t even have choir do now, and are much better off for it. And they cover their bases too, from beautiful hymns such as “Light Spirit’s Message,” to epic moments such as “Hyrule Field” and “Blood, Spirit, & Hatred,” to excellent use of the Latin language in “Overture” and “A Door to the Past,” to the tribal feel of “Death Mountain” and “Gerudo Desert,” to simply giving “Hyrule Castle Town” that extra edge in setting the scene of a medieval town.
However, I do have one small gripe about the choir, but it’s more of a minor nitpick than anything. The original piece of music for the Gerudo Desert in Twilight Princess featured a deep, bass choir rendition of the main Leitmotif of the game (notably, the main melody from “Hyrule Field”). I really enjoyed that particular aspect and it was surprisingly absent on Twilight Symphony. As a trade-off they did infuse the music with plenty of tribal sounding shouts from the male members of the choir to give the song a unique feel. It would have been neat to see both of these choir bits working together, but the overall piece is still fantastic.
Unfortunately for us Zelda Reorchestrated fans, we won’t be hearing another amazing work like this from these guys and gals again because Nintendo decided that this was copyright infringement, even though Zelda Reorchestrated sought no profits from the release of Twilight Symphony, or any of their other works. At least it’s still easy to get your hands on a digital copy so you can still enjoy Twilight Symphony.
Twilight Symphony is an amazing listen all the way through. Each track perfectly captures the emotions of Koji Kondo’s original arrangements. But Zelda Reorchestrated doesn’t just redo the same songs with better quality instruments, they improve upon the originals, and take them to new heights. If you’re a fan of The Legend of Zelda, you’d be crazy not to check out this amazing work of art. Heck, you don’t even have to like the series or need to be a gamer at all to enjoy Twilight Symphony. Even my mom, who is not a gamer in the slightest, thought that the music was amazing. So, if you haven’t heard Twilight Symphony since its release in 2012, go take a listen to it now.