Yoko Shimomura has created so many amazing pieces of orchestral music with the Kingdom Hearts JRPG series over the past 20 years. As the story has become more and more bizarre, the music has continued to be an absolute treasure. In one of the more unusual pieces of gaming downloadable content (DLC), Kingdom Hearts III Re:Mind came with an optional extra bundle – a complete orchestral concert video of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestral World Tour! Originally released an event only album, this powerful performance shines a light on the superb music that Yoko Shimomura and other Disney properties have created.
The nineteen track concert covers music from all parts of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. The video shows the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra playing in front of a giant projection of scenes from the franchise and the video will often then show those scenes full screen too. Plot points will be spoilt if you’ve not played them all.
What I really enjoyed with the concert is how the concert is structured on the video. After ‘Dearly Beloved’ opens the concert, we get a compilation of themes from each game as a separate track. Opening with Kingdom Hearts then moving through Re: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, 358/2 Days, coded, Birth of Sleep, Dream Drop Distance and Another Time. That brings the first half of the concert pretty much to an end and brings you up to speed musically to Kingdom Hearts III.
The latter half of the concert is a symphonic suite entitled ‘The World of Tres’ which focuses entirely on Kingdom Hearts III. Here you’ll find Disney themes interwoven with Shimomura’s arrangements as Toy Story, Frozen and Pirates of the Caribbean pop up for some beautiful motifs. The concert then closes with fan-favourite ‘Simple and Clean’ and new ballad ‘Don’t Think Twice’ – both orchestral versions. ‘Face Your Fears’ is played earlier in the concert.
The sound and video quality are excellent and the character of the orchestra and their precision playing works perfectly with the arrangements. The playing is rich and dynamic and the transition between beautifully serene and full-on battle anger is seamless. This is a fantastic concert and a must for fans of Kingdom Hearts music and classical music. Just be aware that you need to game to be able to buy the DLC in the first place. If you don’t game but want the music – the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra album follows most of the concert but is slightly shorter.
Recommended tracks: Symphonic Suite – World of Tres I – V
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