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Dragon Quest String Quartet :: Review by Calvin

Dragon Quest String Quartet Album Title: Dragon Quest String Quartet
Record Label: Aniplex
Catalog No.: SVWC-7302/3
Release Date: December 7, 2005
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


It never crossed my mind Sugiyama would actually release album of Dragon Quest in String Quartet after so many symphonic, brass, piano, drama, and electone albums. Then again, he did work with the ensemble on Monopoly String Quartet Compositions and The Beatles String Quartet. This is what I call a real treat for classical lovers. I'm not big fan of symphony orchestra, so I personally enjoy this album much more than any other Dragon Quest Album. Here we find very nice arrangements of music from Dragon Quest I - VII; though published in 2005, strangely no Dragon Quest VIII arrangements were included. The album has been followed by two Brass Quintet albums although I prefer this.


The "Overture March" in string quartet is honestly the best arrangement of the theme I've ever listened to. This theme is overused and most Dragon Quest fans probably skip it when listening to any of its soundtrack. However, it sounds very different compared to previous albums. After 1:17, a very unique double voice fugue form of the overture features. It's really unique and I was amazed when listening this track that I loved a theme I had otherwise always skipped.

"Rondo", the castle theme of Dragon Quest III, is also one of my favorite tracks in the original game and in this album. This track is very classically-influenced; you will get impression of entering some beautiful European castle and listening to violin concert like the old times when Mozart was in Vienna. "Around the World" is a medley of various themes of Dragon Quest III music. I like this track, though I really hoped each part would be put in to individual tracks instead of being lumped into one. The arrangement of Jipangu is very good and, at 1:29, the 'cello is used to create an interesting bass line.

The second disc was a real treat for my ears. I was overjoyed when listening the "Minuet". I really love the original music of Dragon Quest IV castle music in whatever version it appears. In "Comrades", a medley of the Dragon Quest IV character themes appear, except "Torneko's Theme" and "Gypsy's Dance" which are thankfully put in separate tracks. "In the Town ~ Happy Humming ~ Inviting Village ~ In the Town" is medley from Dragon Quest VI, but there is not much difference between this one and the Symphonic Suite version.

"Arm Traders" is a series of variations based on theme of Torneko; they appear in various styles from classical (0:01), waltz (2:03), and jazz (3:10). Note that the arrangement of Torneko themes here are the same as the game of Torneko: The Last Hope and the previous Torneko Symphonic Suites; the differences are only the instruments. If you have listened the Torneko arranged albums before, you probably aware that Sugiyama re-use the same arrangements here.

My main complaint in this CD is that Sugiyama picked battle music to feature here. In my personal opinion, not his field of expertise. His battle music is not as engaging as his field theme. I also don't like his compositions which contain too much dissonance like "Requiem". I wish Sugiyama put more town music and field songs instead of sad music and battle themes. Also, why split the CD into two discs when there is still space to fill out (38:02 and 45:11)? They should included other pieces instead or as well.


In summary, this CD is a perfect treat for classical lovers, especially the ones who are looking for any classical chamber music arrangement of Dragon Quest music. This album is one the finest performances of Dragon Quest music thanks to Matthias Musicum Quartet. Despite the flaws I mentioned, this CD is wonderful and highly recommended.

Overall Score: 9/10