ReMix:Secret of Mana "Return to Elysian Lands" 4:57

By Nigel Simmons

Arranging the music of one song...

"Fear of the Heavens"

Primary Game: Secret of Mana (Square , 1993, SNES), music by Hiroki Kikuta

Posted 2004-05-13, evaluated by the judges panel

"If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled -- for you are in Elysium, and you're already dead!"

Though the above is really just an excuse to quote a cool line from Gladiator that only bears a passing connection to this mix's title, that film's soundtrack (by Hans Zimmer) does have some vague similarities to this excellent title theme orchestral arrangement of Secret of Mana from Nigel Simmons. This is a lush composition, at times epic and others soft and intimate, and does a good job of working with the classic but relatively minimal original theme and using it both overtly as well as subtlely, embedded in transitive progressions and spliced into the beginnings and endings of phrases, with good counter-melody and harmony. The deliberate nature of the mix at times makes it less 'exciting' than many might prefer, but there's bombastic climaxes aplenty circa 2'40" or thereabouts that should jolt you out of any zonage. Some of the cymbal crashes in the section immediately following seemed a little lonely/isolated, but I like the low strings coming in very strong afterwards. The ending is... a bit odd. I think I would have gone for more closure, using a different progression to give more resolution to the end of the phrase rather than using the same one that appears throughout the arrangement. As is, the conclusion here is a little abrupt, and leaves a sense of tension still in the air; that's certainly a feel that can be intentional and can work, but I'd like to have seen something a bit more challenging, as the piece itself does some very interesting things with the melody and deserves an equally interesting resolution. Regardless, this is the Mana title theme done up in full symphonic regalia and sounding pretty sharp. If they made a Mana film, this could easily be the overture that introduces the setting and to which initial credits are rolled, and has a beautiful flow to it. A competent, impressive, enjoyable arrangement of a classic theme from Mr. Simmons.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2015-12-26 01:08:01

Great use of dynamics/volume and the varied instrumentation of an orchestra. I think the quieter tone works well for this mix, especially with the title. The ending feels off; it feels more like a transition to another scene/song in a film (like a door opening to somewhere important). Good orchestral mix.

on 2011-02-10 02:23:18

Still a very nice listen after all these years. Very chill; great energy here. The resolution was too sudden, but other than that, I'd love to hear this performed live, that's for sure. Nigel's got great material, both arrangements and originals.

on 2010-06-09 14:49:00

A really beautiful piece of music. It gives an air of an epic story being told. During the swells, it really captures the senses. This is my personal favorite song on this website. Bravo Nigel Simmons. Bravo.

on 2009-06-09 12:40:36

Really really nice- beautiful swells and a great atmosphere. Some of the transitions were well thought out, but not 100% executed cleanly, but it's a fantastic piece regardless. The arrangement itself is pretty subtle, but definitely lends a lot of emotion to the original.

Strongly Recommended.

on 2009-01-28 15:08:02
Agrees with pretzel and Rimfrost, this can as easy as pie be the music to the movie of this game.

Agreed. This is worthy of being on the big screen, and I can't believe this mix has been hidden away in the archives of OCR for so long.

Very calming, peaceful, deep and complicated, sweepingly majestic, very awesome and a must download. Awesome indeed. :-)

on 2006-04-17 21:09:11

Beautiful. Epic. I could listen to this song forever. It has the power to conjure such images and the momentum carries me away everytime i listen to it. Immpeccably made. I am very fond of the strings, especially when there is a simple chord between a lower sound and an upper sound. Extremely impressive, Nigel.

on 2006-04-16 04:19:39

Agrees with pretzel and Rimfrost, this can as easy as pie be the music to the movie of this game. This is a majestic piece, the strings and flutes goes up and down like a wave, and gets continuously pushed up by the have drums and cymbals. I'm very familiar with the melody, it does sound good in orchestral form.

This is gold.

RimFrost the Tourianist
on 2005-09-24 00:32:14
Hey, thanks a lot! I don't know if you'll ever see this, but hey. :D

Bumped it for you :wink:

Excellent song btw. I was moved by it could have fit in a movie soundtrack anyday.

Nigel Simmons
on 2005-04-09 00:44:01

Hey, thanks a lot! I don't know if you'll ever see this, but hey. :D

Angelus Laminarum
on 2005-04-03 14:45:43

This is truly beautiful, Nigel. I love the epic feel to this entire piece. There is a sense of nature, almost, within this. The song would fit perfectly to wandering through a lush forest, peaceful, yet grand. Powerful... yet tender.

Not to mention that it loops flawlessly. Put the song to be the only one on the list, and set your player to repeat. It's just... wow...

Awesome job, Mr. Simmons.

P.S. I'm now a Red Mage. :wink: Better than an Eggplant Wizard, anyday.

Wallace Guyford
on 2004-11-03 21:36:57

When I first heard this, I was kind of unimpressed and I and I almost deleted it, but I am not sure why I didn't.

But I am sure glad I didn't. This, like many of my favorite tracks, took more than a first impression for me to fall in love with it. Once I listened to it more, it grew on me, and I realized that the different, more minimalist tone was not a fault.

I like to listen to this mostly when I am drifting off to sleep, and it's very moving. Especially at 1:13 all the way to 2:00, and then at 2:59 to 3:13 it just gives me a very serene feeling and I envision the most beautiful things. It gives me a feeling not unlike the kind you have when you are looking at someone you have a crush on. A feeling of longing and admiration, of utmost beauty.

It's very smooth, mellow, peaceful and dreamy, and that doesn't make it bad. I love that it's more minimalistic, I love the chords that drift in and out like gentle waves. Remarkable work. Great job. I recommend you listen to it a bit more and try to be detached from other things when you do if you did not like it at first.

on 2004-09-01 00:24:06

This remix reminds me a lot of a Final Fantasy Tactics song, and that is a very good thing, as Tactics had some of the best music ever, in my opinion. The gentle swaying of the song going up and down is extremely soothing. I never get bored of this.

on 2004-08-23 22:22:42

This is one hell of a remix. One of the best symphonic mixes I've heard on OC Remix to be honest. The arrangement is just stellar. I am partial to movie scores and this definitely delivers. The mix and arrangement is so well done that my brain basically accepts the strings as the real thing. The timpani sounds really sweet. Quality, man, this is quality work.

on 2004-06-17 23:41:20

Three seconds into the remix I basically had to compose myself so as to avoid an immediate seizure. Mana was my first RPG, and to this day the mysticism and majesty of that world holds tight with me, and this remix carries on that spirit strong. This remix just draws you right into the title scene, the majesty of that gigantic tree, the backstory of destruction and rebirth rolling on slowly, and I'll be damned when those bells ring I can see flocks of those pink birds fluttering across a majestic forest with sunlight peeking through the boughs of the mana tree. Utterly fantastic, here.

I could imagine this done to a fully animated opening with a quality so high it'd put Studio Ghibli to shame. Bravo, man.

on 2004-05-24 13:08:53
I'm using the Vienna Strings samples and a bunch of Miroslav.

That would explain why the strings sounds so good. My only wish (can't really call it a complaint, this song is too pretty sounding to complain about) is that there was more brass in it so that we got more of a full orchestra sound as opposed to the string orchestra with some woodwinds. Either way, this is really good.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Secret of Mana (Square , 1993, SNES)
Music by Hiroki Kikuta
"Fear of the Heavens"

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