I’ve been hard at work recently putting the finishing touches on my write up of the latest Legend of Zelda game, Breath of the Wild but it’s been a rather hectic couple of weeks (and it’s become quite a long piece) so I’ve not managed to finish it yet. It’s also not helped that I’ve spent most of the last week working at Multiplay’s 60th Insomnia Gaming Festival over the weekend at the NEC in Birmingham. I knew in advance that the first show of this year’s season of the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses would be there, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to go and see it. The weekend got rather busy and I never ended up properly looking at tickets, plus neither of my colleagues were interested in going so I’d resigned myself to missing it. And then, unexpectedly, I was offered a free ticket and I’d have been daft to say no.
Originally launched in 2012 for the 25th anniversary of the series and the release of Skyward Sword, Symphony of the Goddesses has been touring almost annually since. The original tour was preceded by a soundtrack CD that was included with the special edition of Skyward Sword and consists of mostly the same arrangements still used in the tour today.
The show opens with an overture with a melody of various games’ themes, including Breath of the Wild. I didn’t realise how long the overture would last unfortunately meaning I cut my video off just as the Skyward Sword segment started fearing it would go on for some time and wanting to focus on the show, but if I’d waited it finished only a few seconds later. I’ll likely replace my video here with a more professionally shot one if such a thing ever appears online.
Apologies at this point for the poor angle in my media, my seat was somewhat off to the side (not that I’m in any way complaining about that, since it was free!) so I couldn’t get anything properly centered.
The concert was split into two halves, with an intermission in the middle. After the overture was Dragon Roost Island from Wind Waker, followed by a medley from Majora’s Mask. Next up was Breath of the Wild and then some music from A Link Between Worlds.
The main symphony begins next, with the prelude ‘The Creation of Hyrule’ using music mostly from Ocarina of time. The movements of the symphony that then follow focus on individual games; Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and A Link to the Past.
After the main symphony ended, there were three encore songs. First was the Ballad of the Wind Fish, from Link’s Awakening, followed by more music from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask.
At a few points in the show there were short clips from the people behind the Zelda series, including creator Shigheru Miyamoto and current producer Eiji Aonuma giving a little background on both the game series as a whole and also the music featured in it specifically.
If I had one problem, it would be the lack of music from Breath of the Wild. Of course, I understand that there’s a LOT of music in Zelda and with a two hour schedule there’s only so much you can actually do but I’d hoped that Breath of the Wild would have had a medley of it’s most noticeable themes like the rest of the major games since Link to the Past do. It did at least contain my favourite track from the Breath of the Wild soundtrack in an extended form, so it’s not a total loss on that front. I expect the score for Breath of the Wild was still being worked on when rehearsals for this show started, which would explain why so little from it is used.
A special shout out to conductor Kevin Zakresky who spent the majority of the show with a massive smile on his face and certainly looked like a man who really loves his job. As is apparently somewhat of a tradition among conductors of Symphony of the Goddesses, he conducted a song with a Zelda themed baton – I was a little too far away to make it our clearly but it looked a bit like the Master Sword to me though I know a Wind Waker baton has been used in the past so it’s possible it was that.
As a long time Zelda fan, Symphony of the Goddesses was a fantastic experience and I clearly wasn’t the only one to think so as the orchestra received a standing ovation at the end.
The show is next back in the UK in London, so I’m very glad to have seen it when I did as I’d likely not make it down to a show there with that currently being the only other UK show scheduled.