“Romancing Saga 2 Eternal Romance” is the orchestrated arrangement of the original OST from Kenji Ito.
“Preface To The Saga ~Prologue~” demonstrates that no expense was spared as instead of being a synth orchestra, composer Fukui gets a real whole orchestra. The opening track majestically puts it through its paces with a beautiful and calm piece, that although isn’t particularly catchy until the second half starts which is the excellent part, is very well-played and produced.
“Colours” has a choir singing the main tune in various harmonies while the orchestra adds to the very solemn and bittersweet melodies. This, although being a tad too classical for me, is a very touching piece. “Aspirants” continues this downbeat feel before finally stretching the orchestras legs with a dramatic piece with soaring strings, hard-hitting brass and big drums. While being very dramatic, there is still a tune in there somewhere, which is good to find.
“Mermaid Tears” is a beautiful piece that is very heartfelt and lonely, and doesn’t need the orchestration for most of the song. The quietly sad Wind instruments pass this song off with flying colours. The strange thing about this tune is it reminds me of FFX’s People Of The North in places only slowed down with a harp!
“Nereid Song” has waves crashing for the first part, with the music in the background. Gradually the two swap before another slow and sad song begins. This one has more of a tune to it though and then a female vocal joins in for the closing section of the track, which finishes the track beautifully.
“Myriad Mystic” is the most abstract track on the album, which does some excellent scene setting with some Eastern instruments and some very creepy noises. This is the most daring track and it shines because of it. Fantastic. “Exotic Dust” continues this eastern theme with a more upbeat song, which is very much-needed here. The actually tune itself is catchy too for possibly the first time on the album and is another great tune.
“Bitter Prophecy” returns to the sadness with the echoing female voice shining in this soft track. “Embracing You In My Arms” is another slow and cautious track that majestically winds its way around but doesn’t really get anywhere until the drums and piano join in, making up the lost first 2 minutes with a fantastic song, that suddenly has, tempo and melody! “Preciousness ~Epilogue~” begins with a child-like choir before the music begins and the real choir joins in too. The two choirs swap parts and interact with each other. It’s a truly sweet song and one that is almost as sickly sweet as it is ear candy to listen to. It’s a truly fantastic way to finish off a CD.
“Romancing Saga 2 Eternal Romance” is a bizarre CD in that when you listen to it, you’ll admire the perfect playing, the excellent singing, and some of the quite unique touches. But once you’ve finished playing it, you’ll completely forget about it. This is down to the fact that no matter how fantastic the playing is, if half the songs do not have a strong enough main theme the album will struggle. It’s a shame because when its right, its spot on, but when its not…you’ll forget your listening to music. Maybe its one of those CD’s that really takes a lengthy time to crawl under your skin and lay its eggs…
EDIT: I wrote this review for AvalancheOnline back in the mid 2000’s and I have to say although I have grown to appreciate the album over time, it still doesn’t quite grab in the way so many orchestrated albums have done. Therefore I stand by everything I’ve said, although it appears I’m in the minority when I’ve read others reviews!