""Garden of the Gods" is one of the first pieces of video game music I fell in love with. It is everything I crave in a soundtrack and more - which is sort of true of the entire Chrono Cross OST (originally composed by Yasunori Mitsuda). I made a cover/remix of this track many years ago, but I felt that I couldn't do it justice. I decided to try again later on - here is the result!
Between the art and sound, I wanted to convey the essence of the water dragon's role as a (mostly benign) creator. He's kind of like a "spiritual administrator" who attempts to keep reality in check, while still allowing a degree of flexibility/free will to exist in reality's inhabitants. All of the dragons are motivated to slightly different ends and are corruptible in their own ways, but they mainly just wish to protect their own existence; the worlds they create are a reflection of that desire.
I perceive the blue dragon from Chrono Cross as a wellspring of pure life/existence, whereas the green dragon is the embodiment of instinct and animal concerns, the black one is an embodiment of pure self interest, the white one enforces order/certain cosmic laws, the red one embodies strength, and the yellow curates matter/physicality. The dragons have godlike power -- but they are not all-powerful (at least not in their divided, conflicted state); the universe they govern is an imperfect and fragile one. In this music, I attempted to convey the virtuous aspects of the dragons. It's got choir, strings, opera solo, English horn and flute, harp, celesta, and some Chinese temple bells."
I love the blend of instrumentation, here, with rich, deep ensemble sections and nuanced solo parts that emanate from within that core; some truly wondrous moments. MindWanderer writes:
"Very nice orchestration. It's a little conservative, but as Rebecca usually does, there's a great deal of extra depth added via additional instrumentation. Using the female vocals as harmony instead of melody was clever, and makes it all the more striking during the short part where it does take the lead. The male chorus at 2:29-2:44 doesn't blend well with the other instruments and sounds dissonant, but otherwise I don't have any significant concerns here."
Funny, a couple other judges mentioned the deeper choral bed at 2'29" as problematic, but it was MY favorite part - I love that transition from delicate, higher-register elements to a sonorous, resonant male chorus, as cor anglais peeks out. Rebecca's always had an ear for arrangement, and her trajectory as an artist has seen her ability to produce & mix parts grow to match and complement that talent, breathing life into her ideas & helping her create some breathtaking worlds. This is one such world, embellishing the source, keying on everything that makes it tick & then taking those elements and enriching them. You can expect much more Chrono Cross in the months to come (wink wink), but in the meantime this captivating interlude of sorts is a wonderful return to the game's soundtrack from an artist well-suited to exploring Mitsuda's melodies.
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Chamber, New Age
- Mellow, Solemn
- Choir, Flute, Harp, Orchestral, Singing, Strings, Woodwinds
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