|Album Title:||CLANNAD / Tomoyo After Piano Arrange Album “Piano no Mori”|
|Artist:||Magome Togoshi, Shinji Orito, Jun Maeda, riya, Ryo Mizutsuki|
|Release Date:||December 29, 2005|
|1. To the Same Heights||Magome Togoshi, Ryo Mizutsuki||3:54|
|2. Mag Mell||riya, Ryo Mizutsuki||4:53|
|3. White Clovers||Magome Togoshi, Ryo Mizutsuki||5:08|
|4. Tiny Palm||Jun Maeda, Ryo Mizutsuki||4:42|
|5. -Two Shadows-||Magome Togoshi, Ryo Mizutsuki||5:12|
|6. dear old home||Shinji Orito, Ryo Mizutsuki||4:44|
|7. rivulet||Shinji Orito, Ryo Mizutsuki||5:39|
|8. worth living||Magome Togoshi, Ryo Mizutsuki||6:14|
|9. harmony with sorrow||Magome Togoshi, Ryo Mizutsuki||7:31|
|10. love song||Jun Maeda, Ryo Mizutsuki||6:52|
Review: Clannad/Tomoyo After’s “Piano no Mori” revels in simplicity. The ornamentation that accompanies these piano arrangements are fairly orthodox; there’s nothing in this album that’s too surprising. Everything about this album is predictable; the tracks that were chosen, the manner in which they’re arranged, the list goes on. But for fans of the Clannad franchise, this album is exactly what they’re looking for. Nothing more, but definitely nothing less.
Even though the track selection and the creativity that goes into the arrangements leave a bit to be desired, the piano music does convey the sentiments of Clannad well. “To the Same Heights” starts this album off on a splendid note. Its soft introduction is tentative, but it exudes a growing optimism through a crescendo that radiates hope through its trickling, engaging melody. The glowing outlook and determination it conveys is wonderful and this piece does well in setting the tone for the tracks that follow.
To the Same Heights
“Isle of Joy,” an arrangement of the OP, “Mag Mell,” is even better than its source material, granted, I wasn’t too keen on the original because its melody has the feel of a generic, upbeat opener rather than a song that encompasses the scope of the anime and game (despite what the lyrics say). This version’s tones are warmer as the piano transitions smoothly from the energetic lead-in into the gentle verses complete with the brief moment where the piano takes to the higher registers to highlight the piece’s most heartfelt section. After that, “White Clovers” takes over with a slow, calming sound that moves along serenely at first. But the piece really shines once it hits the buildup where the happiness that’s been simmering emerges with confidence, and with it, delivers optimism, painted through an incredibly bright future.
But nothing nails the optimistic sentiments quite like the iconic “Tiny Palm” which exudes joy and happiness from every pore. The piece starts off softly, but little by little, it gathers strength, imbued by a wondrous sense of gladness that drifts in and slowly uplifts. Its initial calming ardor gels all of the scattered loving emotions into a greater whole, reflecting the strengthening of those familial bonds. These emotions really come to fruition once the piano enters the high registers. From there, the piece flows with comfort and hope, stirring my heart and soul as it affirms the unbreakable bonds formed before ending sweetly as the familiar motive from “Nagisa” sets in with its gentle, loving tones.
The Clannad chapter closes with “Two Shadows;” “Dear Old Home” opens the Tomoyo After story. The music used for this story arc is more somber and packs a tragic aura. “Dear Old Home” doesn’t quite go that far, but it does have a dab of the melancholy in the introduction before it gradually shifts to a tone of quiet determination. “Rivulet” follows suit in retaining some of that determination, but on the whole, the warm tones beckon and love remains the dominant theme, conveyed through the melody’s warm, reassuring fabric.
Beyond this point, the music is seeped in sadness and this is where the tragedy really makes itself apparent. The lonely sound coming from “Worth Living” is distressing as the introspective thoughts that flow forth do so forlornly. It is as if the subject of this track has lost their way and is struggling to find some direction to proceed and patch together a shattered life. The feelings it depicts are bleak, bordering on despair, as the problems grow ever more burdensome with each passing note. “Harmony with Sorrow” is even more despondent though listening to this becomes almost annoying because the piece repeats the same motives a bit too often for its own good without doing anything to adorn the melody in a way that will further plumb the piece’s emotional depths.
But the album wraps up nicely through “Love Song,” which slowly sheds the despair in favor of a blossoming happiness that remains quiet and subtle. Its tones are uplifting; not quite at the level of “Tiny Palm” perhaps, but its brightness is heartening, especially when it comes after two very gloomy tracks. To close, though this album is far from being the be-all-end-all of anime piano music, the tracks are competently arranged and highlight some of the more memorable moments in Clannad and Tomoyo After. It’s definitely recommended listening if you seek to enjoy the Clannad soundtrack through a different instrumental lens.