Since the late 20th century, the world of video gaming has left an indelible mark on millions of children and adults alike. The world of video game soundtracks, on the other hand, is often looked upon as a completely separate entity for its varying levels of complexity and general appeal. One particular series has galvanized millions with its ubiquitous soundtracks — “The Legend of Zelda.”
As a whole, the series has been critically and publicly acclaimed around the world. Its music, predominantly written by Japanese composer Koji Kondo, is frequently hailed as some of the best music you’ll ever hear in a video game. “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses,” a concert tour featuring the music from the various games, took over the Adrienne Arsht Center on April 16 with an unabashedly joyous tribute that, despite being two hours long, left audience members cheering for more.
The live orchestral performance was a four-movement symphony based on some of the more popular titles of the series, including “A Link to the Past,” “Ocarina of Time,” “Twilight Princess” and “The Wind Waker” assorted with numerous interludes and scores from other notable titles such as “Majora’s Mask” and “A Link Between Worlds.”
A large screen displayed footage of each game as the orchestra plays, taking the audience on a sentimental journey that can only be described as deep and enriching. Among those, fans were delighted to see gameplay of Link, the series’ main protagonist, riding on his horse through the vast and grassy Hyrule Field while also reminiscing about the first time they ever experienced the series themselves.
As a whole, the performance was a riot of emotions. As the symphony elegantly walks us through the engrossing storylines of each “Zelda” title, the scores range from melancholy to triumphant to downright poignant. This wave of emotion comes to absolute fruition at the end of each movement with the manic roar of the crowd—a reaction that conveys the devout loyalty of the fans of the series and their undying fondness toward what is best described as a diverse and thrilling saga of music.
Those who have never played a “Zelda” game, or at the very least have no emotional association to the series, are still likely to enjoy the experience just as much as anyone else in the audience. In general, orchestral music enthusiasts are bound to appreciate the symphony’s lovingly crafted renditions and find themselves entranced by the some of the series’ pivotal musical moments. From folksy sea shanties to sonorous, brass-filled fanfares, the symphony’s expansive program has just about enough variety to appease gamers and non-gamers alike.
“The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” is an utterly beautiful love letter to those who have stuck with the series all these years and a brilliant way to modernize what many may perceive to be a dwindling art form. With each movement, the performance has proved time and time again that symphonies can still dazzle the masses and leave a lasting impression on us. Whether young or old, gamer or non-gamer, black tie or green tunic, everyone is encouraged to attend. Above all, “Symphony of the Goddesses” is an inclusive cultural celebration that pays homage to a beloved video game series — one that will surely continue to leave a mark on generations to come.
Overall score: 5/5
Feature photo courtesy JMPP.