Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part.1
Music by Alexandre Desplat
WaterTower Music Digital Download
26 Tracks 73:58 mins

I doubt that you've been able to escape the enormous amount of hype surrounding the release of this the penultimate film in the Harry Potter series. Personally, I have never been that impressed with any of the films, though they all have their moments, and I certainly don't go out of my way to see them, but instead am perfectly content to wait for them to air on TV.
The music for the series has, unlike the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings Films, been placed in the hands of a variety of composers. Of course the great John Williams started the ball rolling, then William Ross set about adapting his themes. Patrick Doyle had a very creditable go, and then Nicholas Hooper was on board for the last two David Yates-directed episodes. Yates returns as director for this the first part of a two part adaptation of J.K. Rowley's final Potter book, but Hooper seems to have been dropped in favour of a "name" composer, Alexandre Desplat who is a hot property internationally. Fans were hoping Williams might be persuaded to close the saga, but I gather Desplat will also score next summer's concluding part.
There are various versions of Desplat's score to be found out there. Here, I am covering the WaterTower digital release, but there is also an iTunes release, which I gather has some bonus tracks, a standard CD release, and finally, there will be a special numbered limited edition collector's edition box set, featuring the soundtrack, a bonus CD with extra music, an exclusive poster, picture disc vinyl, a DVD including video interviews, the soundtrack in 5.1 Surround Sound, original Harry Potter film, cells, and autographed sheet music. So take your pick!
As the series has progressed so the tone has gotten increasingly darker, and this movie is hailed as the darkest yet but, though Desplat's score contains moments of threat and menace, and a few bursts of action, the overall feel is of poignancy and sadness, with some heart-warming and noble moments along the way, though there's a good questing feel to be found in the album's opening track, "Obliviate," and yet more energy in "Snape to Malfoy Manor," which moves along furiously, aided by choir. "Polyjuice Potion," harks back to the Hogwarts days, with its increasingly magical feel, with voices joining again, whilst "Sky Battle" is really the biggest action cue, "At the Burrow" offering light and shade in its aftermath.
A solo piano opens the poignant romance of "Harry and Ginny," which is followed by "The Will," which positively soars, before coming to earth and proceeding in subdued fashion into "Death Eaters," then picking up a sense of urgency. Another light interlude follows in "Dobby," before our heroes take flight again. There's a nice bouncy opening to "Ministry of Magic;" whilst "Detonators" has a surprising air of mischief about it.
The next highlight is "Fireplaces Escape," with its furious, if episodic, action. There's a sadness, yet nobility to the ending of "Ron Leaves," and a poignancy to "Godric's Hollow Graveyard" and "Hermione's Parents." Finally, "Ron's Speech" is heart-warming, and "Farewell to Dobby" emotional.
In conclusion, Desplat's music does not seem out of place in the Potter universe and serves its purpose admirably, it seems, though rarely coming close to matching the Williams (and even the Doyle) scores. "Hedwig's Theme" only makes a very brief appearance, which is probably right, as it speaks of more innocent days.
The final film in the series promises many slayings of well-loved characters, and let's hope Desplat is up to providing even more sorrowful moments than displayed even here.


Blogger Zolt├ín said...

I really liked the Deathly Hallows film. I, however, the book is much more informative.

11:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home