The symphony is played in unison with a video display, which shows footage from the specific “Zelda” game that corresponds with the music. The beautiful arrangements of “Zelda” games’ popular scores are enough to stand on a stage alone, but the footage aids in taking fans back to when they had the enthralling experience of playing the beloved franchise. The orchestral and vocal performances performed by the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh sparked enthusiastic cheers from the audience.
Heniz Hall was packed with "Zelda" fans of all ages. The crowd in attendance was likely an uncommon sight for the venue. Many were dressed in "Zelda"-themed costumes from the series. Others had props like Link's famed ocarina, or his wand-like Wind Waker. The audience was all smiles, as they awaited the sounds from some of gaming's most famous titles.
“Second Quest” began with the Overture: a medley of “Zelda” themes that spanned the series history. This opening gave the audience a taste of things to come. The Overture was followed by arrangements from the GameBoy’s “Link’s Awakening” and “Spirit Tracks” for the DS.
“Symphony of the Goddesses” Producer Jeron Moore admitted to the audience that “Spirit Tracks” isn’t the most popular “Zelda” game, but this arrangement showed that quality music is one constant in the series.
After this movement, arrangements from “The Ocarina of Time,” and “The Wind Waker” were next. These movements were included in the show’s last visit to Pittsburgh, but the “Wind Waker” footage was presented in its recent HD upgrade for the Wii U. This show was only the second performance to include it.
Image source: tikisaurus.com
“It was kind of a pleasant surprise,” Moore said about the inclusion of the footage. “[‘Wind Waker’ director] Eiji Aonuma contacted us and wanted to update the video with all the HD footage. I work very closely with Nintendo and we cut together a new segment with all the new visuals.”
The second act included the Gerudo Valley theme from “The Ocarina of Time,” themes from “The Twilight Princess,” and “Time of the Falling Rain” from “A Link to the Past.”
Encores brought an eerie suite from “Majora’s Mask,” proving that time has been better to that game’s music than to the actual game. In closing, the show revisited “The Wind Waker” with the theme of Dragon Roost Island, and “The Goddess’ Lyric” finale.
I spoke with Moore during the intermission about the show, its future, and what he’s been playing. Below is our unedited conversation.
Max: So this is the “Second Quest.” How’s the tour going?
Jeron: Great, we’re having a lot of fun introducing some new material along the way. [We’re] still doing some first season shows in cities we haven’t been to before.
M: So this is an extension of the first tour, as well as adding new stuff to the venues you visited the first time around?
J: Exactly. For cities that we’re revisiting, we want to give them something new and a reason to come back, so the “Second Quest” is that answer.
M: Was it always the intention to go on the “Second Quest” with this new material? Did you just have so much material that you wanted to get this out there?
J: Yeah. It was kind of always our intention to do a second season, and then add some new content and of course we couldn’t discard the four-movement symphony. That contains all the base, primary themes that make Zelda what it is.
M: You said this was the second show that had the “Wind Waker HD” video footage. How much is the tour changing from show to show along the way? Are there big changes that you’re adding?
J: You know, I think the HD footage is the last evolution of this season. It was kind of a pleasant surprise. [“Wind Waker” Director] Eiji Aonuma contacted us and wanted to update the video with all the [Wind Waker] HD footage. I work very closely with Nintendo and we cut together a new segment with all the new visuals.
M: Have you had time to play “Wind Waker HD, or have you been too busy with the tour?
J: I’ve played it a little bit. I downloaded it and being the nerd that I am I bought the physical copy with the Ganondorf figurine.
M: Are you impressed by it? Do you like the HD transition?
J: Oh, it’s beautiful. This is the way remakes should be done. And [HD remakes] usually aren’t done this way. [Wind Waker HD] is definitely an exception to the rule.
M: So you’re back in Heinz Hall. How does this kind of venue differ from other venues that you’re playing along the way?
J: There’s a lot of history here. It’s a beautiful venue. The Pittsburgh Symphony is one of the nation’s finest orchestras, so there’s a lot of prestige coming into a venue like this. It’s an honor to perform with these guys.
M: Do you prefer a venue like this, or do you prefer, like, the – I don’t know the style of venues you perform – but, like, an arena? Is there a different vibe?
J: I prefer there just to be smiling faces in the seats. It really doesn’t matter where we are.
M: I’m sure you’re getting that everywhere. Everyone seems to be really happy with the show.
J: Yeah. It’s a celebratory atmosphere, and that’s what we’re trying to create.
M: It seems like you’re doing that very well.
M: Looking towards the future, do you have an overflow of more material that you want to add? Will there be a “Third Quest”?
J: Of course there’s so much material that we could pull from. With the looming release of “A Link Between Worlds,” and then Zelda U coming out in 2015…tentatively… I think there’re a lot of possibilities. We’re kind of in a “wait and see” mode. We’re finishing out the second season, and I think we’re going to take a little bit of a break, and then revisit it.
M: Is this the tail end of “Second Quest”? How many more dates do you have after this?
J: We have quite a few dates left before the end of the year. We haven’t booked anything for 2014 yet. There are still lots of opportunities to see the show if someone hasn’t seen it.
M: It’s been a really good year so far for video games. This generation of console is starting to wind down. Have you had time to play games and what has really stood out this year for you?
J: I’m playing a little bit of “GTA V.”
M: Of course. What do you think of it?
J: It’s fun. I mean, it’s kind of more of the same.
M: Yeah, but it’s bigger, broader…
J: Yeah, but they didn’t really do a lot visually. [Pauses] it’s just more GTA. It’s just like an extension of “IV.” What else is there? [Pauses] I’ve been downloading a lot of games for the Wii U. I’ve been enjoying “Pikmin 3.” What else have I downloaded? Wind Waker HD, and “Wonderful 101.” Those have been a lot of fun. What else? I backed “Mighty Number 9” on Kickstarter.
M: Oh, nice. That looks awesome. So, you mentioned that “Wind Waker HD” is how HD remakes should happen. Are there any Nintendo classics that you would like to see get that treatment other than Zelda?
J: Well, in terms of Zelda, I’d love to see “Twilight Princess” done that way, if not made to look like that E3 demo we saw a few years ago.
M: Yeah, wasn’t that amazing?
J: Yeah. It was incredible. But what else would I like to see? [Pauses]
M: There’re a lot of characters. Nintendo has a deep bench.
J: Yeah. Actually what I really, really want is a “Star Fox” game. It doesn’t have to be a remake. Just give me some more “Star Fox.”
M: Do you want it to be something like “Star Fox Adventures” like an RPG, or like a dog fighting game?
J: I love both. We got some dog fighting in “Star Fox Adventures.” That was such an underrated game.
M: It was! I totally agree.
J: It appealed to the “Zelda” fan in me.
M: You’re right. It was more like that, just with Fox.
J: It allowed us to get to know the characters a little better. You latched on to a more meaningful story. It was a lot of fun. I would just dig a cool dog fighting game. I think the GamePad would allow for some cool possibilities.
M: Thanks for taking the time to talk. Can’t wait to see the rest of the show.
“The Symphony of the Goddesses” is a one-of-a-kind experience for serious fans of the series. It sounds like it could return to Pittsburgh for a third quest. If the audience’s reaction from this show is any indication, it would be yet another rousing success.