At art school my friend and I once listened to Hook and I told him, "THIS is what Harry Potter should sound like!" We were both delighted when we found out that John Williams was going to be scoring the first film and when I heard the opening notes from the first Harry Potter soundtrack I was completely enchanted. I loved it and listened to it quite a bit. It didn't take long to notice though that in pretty much every cue he was just doing a riff on Hedwig's theme...over and over and over and over.
It was classic John Williams stuff...but pretty lazy John Williams stuff.
He expanded that theme out admirably and added others for Chamber of Secrets and Alfonso Cuaron REALLY pushed Mr. Williams for Prisoner of Azkaban. The final overture is lazy...he just took the main themes and cobbled them together but Aunt Marge's Waltz as well as Buckbeak's Ride are particularly fun and soaring.
I was surprised...(but not overly so) when I found out John Williams would NOT be scoring Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and despite many howls of protest from devoted Williams and Potter fans I felt like it was a pretty good move. In GOF Harry Potter takes a decidedly DARK turn and with a new director and a darker turn, I felt like it would only lend itself to the proceedings to have a new composer for it.
Enter Patrick Doyle.
I'm a fan I freely confess. I have Much Ado About Nothing and enjoyed the alternate bombast and whimsy of Secondhand Lions. His themes soar and dip and have a wit that you don't really hear from other composers who are overly fond of the cute and the bombast. (I'm talking to YOU James Horner!) Still, he hasn't had a huge breakout hit and while he gets respect from soundtrack nerds like me, it's usually names like Williams and Goldsmith (le sigh) and Horner that more Joe Schmoe nerd off the street knows.
Anyway Patrick Doyle took over the Potter score.
And it's up on MUSIC AOL
I LIKE IT.
It doesn't sound like Williams which makes me happy. I was afraid instead of using his own voice he would simply try to ape JW but he definitely holds his own. Unlike the first score, which as I said felt like endless variants of Hedwig's theme the soundtrack as a whole covers a whole emotional gamut. "Potter Waltz" which I am assuming is for the Yule Ball is fun and romantic and sweeping and yet has some darkness as does all things Potter. It is so well phrased...I'm waiting for the Potter pundits to come out with lyrics.
"Voldemort" is DARK. I mean...DARK and creepy and menacing and gets me oh so anxious to see He Who Must Not Be Named in action in the Riddle graveyard.
The whole soundtrack is just...listenable. Not sure if that's a word but there you go. "Golden Egg" is a delight and lest you think John Williams has been dropped entirely ... Hedwig's theme DOES get quoted...just not enough to be sick of it.
Potter is growing up and since he's an early teen and love and romance and hormones are in the air there are also a few pop numbers...but they have their own spin for the Potter verse as well. Do the Hippogryph has a stupid title but it's a fun number and I'm almost embarassed at how much I like Magic Works. Of course I AM a bit of a sucker for ballads with full orchestra.
Hopefully this score will get Patrick Doyle the recognition he deserves and won't be known as the guy who took over for John Williams. It's a fine score and is probably my second favorite after Prisoner of Azkaban in the Harry Potter series. I'm looking forward to buying it when it gets officially released.