Beauty isn’t something that can be articulated with ease. It encapsules so many different feelings and emotions, and can only be expressed by the feelings inside of you. When it comes to music, it strikes a note inside everyone. For us gamers, Zelda resonates with almost all of us, reminding us of times passed, and the nostalgia that takes place when experiencing it again is unmatched. It’s so much more than a game we played. No matter your age, race, or gender, Symphony of the Goddesses is a beautiful time capsule that will allow you to relive some of the most amazing times sitting in front of the television, controller in hand, solving puzzles, and stopping evil from destroying Hyrule, and you should do everything in your power to witness this beauty.
For those who may not know, Symphony of the Goddesses is a four-movement full symphony, with other assorted songs built around the entire series, creating the perfect homage in honor of The Legend of Zelda series’ 25th anniversary celebrated back in 2011. Leading the show is composer and music director Chad Seiter, executive producer Jason Michael Paul, and creative producer Jeron Moore, who we had a chance to speak with earlier this year. Each showing presents a different orchestra, and for this showing played the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. Each song is accompanied by select clips from the game which the music being played derives, that sync perfectly with all the ‘booms’ and ‘crashes,’ to put it eloquently.
The show opened up with an Overture, which featured multiple title themes, Ganon’s themes, and a slew of different familiar Zelda tracks compiled into a short montage of the entire series. It really set the show off on the right foot. Right after, it proceeds into a dungeon medley, centralized around the 2D Zelda games. As someone who didn’t grow up alongside the 2D releases, it was really nice to see something a bit different. It even featured tracks from Link’s Awakening, and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, which I personally never think of as ‘quintessential titles’ in the series. Following that we took a stroll through Kakariko Village, which featured a rethought version of the classic tune, featuring footage from Twilight Princess, A Link to the Past, and Ocarina of Time. Following that was the final song from the ‘assorted’ bunch, which was an assortment of songs that Link had learned on the various instruments of the past. This was probably my favorite of the first four, featuring some truly ‘epic’ tracks, like the Song of Storms, and the Song of Healing.
The first four were an incredible introduction, and following that, Jeron Moore let us know that the true symphony was upon us. The first movement told the tale of the Hero of Time in Ocarina of Time. Being arguably my favorite video game of all time, this was my most anticipated moment of the show, and it didn’t disappoint in the slightest. The pacing, while quick, really gives you a good ground for the entire tale. You can really sense the evolution of the entire plot and the music to accompany it just brings you right back into those moments, while still being fresh re-imaginings. The whole thing brought me back to sitting with my mother on the couch, her reading me the strategy guide, and me playing, intently listening to her direction. In a away it was like the allegorical mother and child relationship, just through Zelda. Those moments were some of my most prominent memories that won’t soon leave me, and seeing the orchestra perform this with the visuals laid upon my eyes, I really felt back as though I was back in that moment. Nearly brought a tear to my eye.
Movement two featured the tale of the King of the Red Lions and, as Moore put it, “a boy in his pajamas,” with Wind Waker. Before conductor Eimear Noone began the song, she revealed a replica baton straight from the game, and the crowd went absolutely crazy. She shared that the game always had a special place in her heart, since she grew up with aspirations of being a conductor. That personal touch definitely added to the emotion of the whole piece, and it once again brought me right back to my childhood. I was in elementary school, and all day I was chomping at the bit waiting to get home to go pick up my copy of Wind Waker. I finally get home, and awaiting me was a scavenger hunt all across my entire house planned out by my mother. At the time I’m sure I was becoming a bit impatient, but to know she cared enough to get my excitement built up really means a lot to this day. It was the little things that matter. Considering Wind Waker has some of the most beautiful music of the series, it was no surprise that this movement was fantastic. The nostalgia instilled in both of the first movements was just chilling, and made me extremely emotional, and like I said, I nearly shed tears. Manly tears, though, so it’s okay.
After the intermission we were greeted with a re-imagining of the classic Fairy Fountain theme song. With the scantily clad fairy dancing on screen and the smooth, classic, and familiar tune, it really was quite a refreshing listen. Cleansed the palette for the excitement to come.
Movement three featured the darker, and quite astray Twilight Princess, which I’ll be the first to admit isn’t my favorite of the series, but has some fantastic orchestral work behind it. It definitely rekindled my desire to play through this game again, and see if maybe a new perspective can be taken on it. The music behind it was fantastic, and dark, just like the story it accompanies. The whole movement was just a clear example that the work put into the entirety of the show and the telling of the story was incredible.
Movement four, and the finale to the full symphony featured a world-crossing 16-bit Link in A Link to the Past. Unfortunately the game was before my time, and I’ve been unable to complete it through to the end, but I still recognize what a fantastic game it is, and the orchestral re-imagination told his story as beautifully as Miyamoto himself. Watching a young Link trot around, smacking cuccoos with his sword and frantically escaping them was perfect comic relief for the moments of desperation and suspense. This whole piece was a fantastic way to end the entire symphony, and like with Twilight Princess, sparked the flame to go back and try out A Link to the Past again.
While I don’t want to spoil what happens following the four movements, I will say that you need to sit down after the standing ovation, because it is some of the best work of the show, and you will not be disappointed.
Any Zelda fan would be doing themselves a serious disservice in not experiencing this groundbreaking performance. The entire series features some of the most fantastic music in all of video game history, and the full orchestra with built-in re-imaginings does not disappoint in the slightest. It’s not only a musical journey, but one that will bring you back to a place where innocence lied, and it will be one of the most emotional musical experiences you will have.
You can check out our full interview with creative producer Jeron Moore here, and see if it’s coming to a city near you here.
The gallery below features pictures taken during the rehearsals.