Of all the scores in the series, Ys V: Kefin, the Lost Kingdom of Sand most deserved an orchestral arranged album. After all, it was originally an orchestral score, yet its scope was limited by the Super Nintendo sound chip and unambitious compositions. With the Ys V Orchestra Album, fan favourite Tamiya Terashima changes that by arranging ten pieces for a high quality electric orchestra.
The opener "Lost Kingdom" is a subtle orchestration in many ways, lacking any of the melodrama and schmaltziness most would expect from a Ys orchestration. However, it's still a very rich piece, capturing the worldly colours and emotional range portrayed by the game in an even more artistic way. "Field of Gale" evolves from a fantasy-styled opening into a powerful march featuring fascinating use of tuned percussion and prepared piano. Once again, Tamiya Terashima achieves just the right balance between being elaborate and over-the-top here, and the nuances are unbelievably similar to what one would expect from a true orchestra.
Probably the most emotional entry on the whole album is "Theme of Lovers". Terashima finally resorts to schmaltzy piano passages and soft string overlays here, but do I care? Not really since it fits the original so well and sounds astonishingly beautiful regardless. "Niena" further deviates from traditional orchestral formats to offer a blend of wistful flute melodies against soft guitar arpeggios. Again, it is ideal for portraying the tenderness and simplicity of the original, and is also wonderfully executed in terms of arrangement and synthesis. There are also several well done arrangements that exhibit other cultural influences, such as the Celtic-inspired "Forgotten City" and the haunting introduction of "Break into Territory". However, probably the finest among these is "Theme of Kefin" with its Arabian rhythms and instrumentation.
"Turning Death Spiral" is the darkest orchestration on the entire soundtrack. Terashima offers everything from eerie experimentations in tonal colour to dissonant action sections coated in modernist stylings. It's a hard listen, but also an especially satisfying one. "Theme of Adol" is a good lead-out for the album since it recounts such a familiar and popular melody. It's interesting how the orchestration evolves from its slow reflective origins to a bright classically-oriented piece. The final "Farewell" takes listens on a breathtaking nine minute journey and has all the qualities of a masterpiece. Terashima rarely fails to impress.
Terashima takes a diverse approach on the Ys V Orchestra Album such that many arrangements aren't truly symphonic. However, throughout he succeds in capturing he hearts of listeners with his subtle yet immersive orchestrations. It's also clear that Terashima understands the colours and emotions of the Ys V experience and he doesn't hesitate to emphasise them here. This album is my foremost recommendation for those curious about the music of the otherwise unsatisfying Ys V.