ReMix: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker "Hyrulian Highlands"

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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

The Gamer Symphony Orchestra returns to OC ReMix! While this orchestral take on Wind Waker lacks the vocal component that made their Portal debut a lot of fun, the creative arrangement and live ensemble performance components are very much... still alive <groan/>. I regret not being able to attend their Spring show this year, due to the whole "getting married" thing, but I'm sure the GSO rocked the house and continues to carry the campus-grown orchestral VGM concert torch to new heights. You can catch up on ALL their recordings at umd.gamersymphony.org, but we're happy to shine a spotlight on this specific piece they submitted:

"This arrangement attempts to elaborate on some of the Celtic themes in the "Wind Waker" soundtrack. The low brass section often imitates the drone of bagpipes, while strings and woodwinds mimic the lilt of the chanter throughout the piece. Especially attentive listeners might detect very brief nods to the overture of Disney's "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," by the Sherman Brothers, and Lerner and Loewe's musical "Brigadoon." The song was recorded live at the Gamer Symphony Orchestra's Spring 2010 concert on May 8 at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Center. The mandolin solo was performed by Katie Noble.

GSO President and flugelhornist Rob Garner started this arrangement early in 2009, shortly after Katie joined the ensemble as a violinist. When it became apparent that Katie also played mandolin -- and actually owned one -- he began working on the piece.

As for its title, should it be "Hyrulian" or "Hylian"? According to the Internet, either could be correct, though "Hylian" seems to refer more commonly to a race, with "Hyrulian" referring to a nationality. Rob went with "Hyrulian" to give the title a more brogue-ish and alliterative feel.

Inspiration for the style of this arrangement came from English composer Gustav Holst's "Second Suite in F" (Op. 28, No. 2), specifically the first and fourth movements. Holst wrote the suite in 1911 and based it on English folk songs."

The mandolin intro really adds some folk flavor to the arrangement, and I love to see the GSO incorporating extra-symphonic instrumentation as appropriate. The provided description of the track really does an excellent job of explaining the influence & context - sometimes this type of explication can feel tenuous or artificial, but in this case you can plainly hear the Celtic influence and the "emulated bagpipe" components, as described. There might be a few nitpicks, sure, but I think this performance also sounds more polished and defined than GSO circa 2009, so something's working right & moving in the right direction. All in all, I love the vision of the arrangement, the instrumentation & orchestration of that vision, and of course the performance breathes life & animates the whole shebang into a lovely, coherent homage to Wind Waker - bravo!

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Crulex
on 2012-09-11 10:03:40

Technical stuff aside, this is a wonderful piece that brings some of the Celtic Ocean bits and zelda love that I love together in a nice little package. Enjoyed the arrangement of it and for a low budget deal, you had a solid tune here. Very cool.

Emunator
on 2010-12-11 03:33:09

It's great to see how you guys are improving your craft over time, I really think the GSO project is a wonderful idea and would like to see more groups like it popping up in the future.

The arrangement here works and is a pretty enjoyable listen that's easy to get caught up in. Performances are pretty nice as well. Perhaps your arrangements could stand to be more ambitious but given that you guys are mainly non-music majors and doing this just out of pure love for VGM, I can't be too critical. It's great hearing the improvement over time as you guys submit new songs, you can only go up from here! :-D

Hopefully you'll be able to find a way to get better-quality recordings in the future though. At least a volume boost would be nice here... Again though, nothing that really stops it from being a good listen, but some advice for the future.

ProjectSpam
on 2010-09-18 00:29:30

Oh man. I love Gustav Holst, and I love his Suite in F -- particularly the 1st and 4th movements -- so I can definitely hear the influences here, and they make me happy!

Skyline Drop
on 2010-09-16 21:51:49

I know the recording is pretty low-quality compared to OCR standards, but you need to remember that we're an entirely student-run organization. We have a pretty minimal budget that has barely grown since our inception 5 years ago, and the mere fact that we even got to perform in the school's major concert hall is pretty legendary in itself.

Also, we're composed mostly of non-music majors, don't audition players, and rehearse once a week in a chapel, so I imagine our playing will be just a little bit sketchy :lol:

Sarad_Thamia
on 2010-09-04 02:14:17

OMG I *love* this remix. I adore any kind of celtic music. My brother and I have always loved the intro music to Windwaker and I was waiting for someone to remix it. This remix did not dissapoint. ;-)

McEuph
on 2010-09-02 23:51:12

It's a good arrangement. I just wish the ensemble could actually play in tune.

Martin Penwald
on 2010-09-01 15:19:56

Arrangement and choice of instruments are both very nice, but I do have to echo what is being said about the quality of the recording. The volume is insanely low, and as Master Yoshi said, it all sounds very distant.

Other than this technical issue, this is a mightily fine remix.

Oh, and I'm not bothered by the guy coughing at all. It's live; stuff like that happens.

DragonAvenger
on 2010-08-26 18:51:01

I like the arrangement here, and the added instrumentation works very nicely. I can definitely hear the Holst influence, which is pretty nice. I'm hoping to hear more from the GSO as they improve!

OA
on 2010-08-25 18:16:06

Pretty nice stuff, I liked the additional instrumentation added to the usual orchestra sound.

Skyline Drop
on 2010-08-24 23:08:13

Hey. I played in this one, so I don't know whether my review for this can be unbiased :lol:

I wish there were a better recording, but it was kind of an improvised thing, from what I could tell at the time...

Master_Yoshi
on 2010-08-24 19:53:55

See it's music like this that I wish would get played more than overplayed "classics" like One Winged Angel and Liberi Fatali and the Halo franchise at shows like Video Games Live.

Oh, right. I totally dig this. Guys need to work on your recording though! It all sounds so distant and I don't get the feeling that I am listening to an orchestra as much as listening to a recording of a recording of an orchestra. An orchestra dishing out some awesome music, but still, there is that separation.

But hey, this is the second track you guys have released to OCR, and this was a live performance, so it's nothing to feel too faulted on. Maybe try hitting up Tommy Talarico or someone connected to VGL to see how they do their recordings - those always sound really sharp and amazing on CD.

And don't flame me! I love the track for once! Wholly and nigh unconditionally.

LuigiFan
on 2010-08-22 22:31:58

Much much better than the Portal one. I thoroughly enjoyed this arrangement.

EC2151
on 2010-08-22 22:12:24

I think this is performed better than the portal mix, myself. Outside of that guy coughing!

Ha ha, in any event, this is pretty great, and I really love the Wind Waker soundtrack. Especially when played by live instruments.

fil_razorback
on 2010-08-22 20:43:23

I enjoyed the Portal ReMix a lot, and now this one has just become an instant favorite.

Congratulations to all the people involved except the guy coughing at the beginning !

djpretzel
on 2010-08-22 19:56:36

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.