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Monday, January 02, 2006

CD REVIEW - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Music by Patrick Doyle
Warner Sunset/Warner Bros 49631-2
21 Tracks 75:57 mins

What - a Harry Potter film without a John Williams score? Well, for better or worse, depending on your point of view, it's true. But at least hearing that Patrick Doyle was to be his replacement and not, as first feared, Jarvis Cocker (though he and others does contribute some songs), set some minds at rest, though got us all wondering just what the results would be.
Well, I'm happy to say that Doyle hasn't let the side down, coming up with a very fine score for this latest instalement of the franchise, even if it isn't quite so consistently entertaining or thematically interesting as Williams' past work for the series. In fact, up until track 10 I was getting worried as, with the exception of the big, impressive Highland reel and action that follows in The Quidditch World Cup and Foreign Visitors Arrive with its anticipation-filled start and following Russian flavoured theme, I found proceedings up to that point pretty uninspiring. But things began to change with the impressive processional and exciting action of Golden Egg, even if the following Neville's Waltz appeared pretty lifeless. This was however followed by Harry in Winter, which I feel sure is destined to take its place alongside the best of Williams' best-loved Potter themes. It's a simply stunning theme for strings and celeste, quite operatic in feel. This is swiftly followed by the exuberant Potter Waltz and the interesting mix of tango and vocal refrain (by Doyle's daughter) in Underwater Secrets. The exciting The Black Lake follows, all turbulent action with a triumphant finish, and then we have the curious Hogwarts' March, scored for a typically Northern brass band, with a variation on Harry in Winter as its bridge. Plenty of dark, menacing conflict can be found in The Maze and Voldemort, with a moving lament following for Death of Cedric. Another Year Ends positively soars as the calm after the storm is duly celebrated, with another winning theme following, the noble strings of Hogwarts' Hymn. So all's well that ends well, after all, in that Doyle has done a fine job of following in Williams' footsteps. It now remains to be seen who will perform the duties on the next instalment.
By the way, do stop playing the album at track 21, because the Jarvis Cocker & co. material follows and totally spoils the mood of what's gone before. Thank goodness it's all saved for the end of the disc.


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