The Chrono Trigger Orchestra Extra Soundtrack is a promotional album for the Chrono Trigger DS remake. It was given to those who pre-ordered Chrono Trigger. It features Yasunori Mitsuda's original compositions arranged and orchestrated by Natsumi Kameoka, who also arranged most of the music on Drammatica -The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura- and Echoes of War: Music of Blizzard Entertainment. There is an orchestral rendition of the main theme and an orchestral medley featured.
In order to really get into the feel of Chrono Trigger, one must always consider the main theme. Very cinematic and epic in approach, the orchestration highlights the strengths of the original. The strings carry the melody excellently, while the lush brass and percussion helps to fortify it even further. Overall, it's a very nice translation of the original. It doesn't really push any new ground and is rather short, but it definitely brings a lot more color to the original music.
The other piece on this small promotional album is a medley featuring a variety of popular themes from the original soundtrack. Starting off with "Premonition," the listener is greeted to a mysterious sounding piece that is full of flute flourishes and some brass. The piece that follows is "Guardia Millenial Fair" and is another piece that retains the high spirits of the original, mainly due to the exquisite woodwind work. Continuing on with a woodwind focus, "Wind Scene" follows after a harp gliss with a nice focus on flute and strings. It definitely adds to the mystery heard in the 600 A.D. piece. Following that is my favorite piece, "Frog's Theme". Unfortunately, it is way too short. The dramatic nature is retained, but it barely even gets going before it transitions to "Battle with Magus". This is another dramatic piece, and once again, it barely gets going. The focus on brass fits, but I really do wish these two pieces were fleshed out a bit more.
After such a dramatic few tracks, the peaceful string-led "Epilogue ~To Good Times~" greets the listener and retains the simplistic beauty heard in the original. As one would expect, the medley ends with "To Far Away Times," a brass led piece with some string accents. Personally, I think the brass takes a bit too much away from the delicacy of the original. My one huge gripe with this entire medley comes in the form of the transitions. Many of them are nonexistent with abrupt changes in tone and pace. Furthermore, the lack of development on some of the most popular themes on the medley is rather discouraging. When featuring seven themes, the running time of 4:11 is rather short. If it was longer, many of the pieces could have had a longer run time, while at the same time, allowing people to enjoy the more popular themes.
For a small promotional album, I can't really complain too much about what was offered. While Chrono Trigger is far from my favorite Yasunori Mitsuda soundtrack, it does hold a special place in my heart for being an extremely effective tool while playing the game. The orchestral arrangement of the main theme is nice, even if it doesn't really break any new ground. The big disappointment comes in the form of the medley. A lot of popular pieces are featured, but some barely even get a chance to get going. It's a real shame too. I will compliment the musicians though. Their performance far outshines those that have performed Chrono Trigger music in the past and I suspect Mitsuda may have had a hand in this. The string work is superb, thanks to the Kanno Strings, who have worked with many popular musicians in Japan, including my favorite, Sound Horizon. On the whole, it's a decent album for what you get, and since it comes included with the game if you pre-ordered it, you really don't have too much to lose.