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  Comments about: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Nicholas Hooper)
 • Posted by: Dan McDevitt <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Thursday, July 23, 2009, at 1:07 p.m.
• IP Address: pool-71-172-233-90.nwrknj.fios.verizon.net
• In Response to: Re: Some interesting things about this score (GK)

  Re: Some interesting things about this score


I think it's important to note that Hooper didn't do the orchestration. Check the liner notes.

> I don't think that qualifies as a "theme", and not merely
> because it's a variant, yet again, on Hedwig's theme, only this time
> played more tenderly; you see, a theme, that is, purely by definition,
> something specific and characteristic, and recognisable.
> Hooper's harp/guitar tingling is anything but specific. It sticks out like
> that only because the orchestrations are so extremely dire.

I've listened to "When Ginny Kissed Harry" ad nauseum at this point, and I can't hear any trace of "Hedwig's Theme" in it. I've listened to them back to back, I've even mashed them up. If the former is a variant of the latter, it's beyond any way that I can detect. (Corey, The same applies to "The Whomping Willow and the Snowball Fight" from the PoA soundtrack. )

I think it's at least intended as a love theme, it appears briefly in "Ginny" before Hedwig's theme kicks in. "Harry & Herminone" is also very similar, possibly a variant. Maybe it's just a generic theme of teen love, I don't know. These are the best parts of the score, in my opinion. They certainly convey the emotions of the film at the time they appear.

> The musical placements
> completely out of the blue had me thinking immediately, before I read the
> news, that Hooper won't come back.
> I assume you mean "Dumbledore's Army" over the tryouts.
> And I wonder, there is Umbridge's theme in "Living Death" - why?
> Lack of ideas?

Sorry, yes, "Dumbledore's Army." I get those two mixed up. Also, I *think* that's "Room of Requirement" in "Living Death," but I'm not sure. Since Hooper used those chimes (or xylophone, or whatever it is) in both pieces, it's tough to tell which he's calling on. "Room of Requirement" makes more sense thematically, though, since it's about learning magic.

> However, given how the end credits piece starts, in a VERY delicate
> manner, and it was Yates' order, or anybody else's, to put the Fireworks
> track in there, then that someone certainly didn't have musical
> sensibilities as well, since it really drove the audience out of the
> theatre for its complete lack of reflective qualities.

Just FYI, Williams did this too, in Revenge of the Sith. The end credits prominently feature "Throne Room/End Titles" from Star Wars, which makes zero sense in that movie as the bad guys just won. I blame George Lucas in that case.

I think you're overstating the effect of the score on the picture, but you do raise interesting questions about the music selection. With this movie sitting in the can for 8 months, if there really was some disagreement about the music, there was certainly time to change it.

> I mean, I just thought about the magnitude of this the other day ... Just
> look at the tremendous opportunity for this guy!
> Here you are, a television composer. And all of a sudden, you are signed
> to score maybe the hottest movie series today, and you are given not only
> a world chock full of characters, drama, places and first rate imagery for
> inspiration, but also a sack full of tested and approved, even famous,
> music by the most decorated film composer of the past 50 years to work
> with.
> And then you come up with ... this? Surely not?

Well, that's where I go back to Yates. You ever heard him speak? He's the ultimate soft-spoken, reserved Englishman. The films reflect that. Harry was way too subdued in "Order of the Phoenix," he's supposed to be dealing with a major bout of teen angst compounded by the smear campaign that's being waged against him, yet in the movie he comes across as only mildly annoyed. That's Yates' nature I think and Hooper's music reflects it.

> And by the way, everyone against Williams should ask himself what
> Hooper's, as well as Doyle's scores would have sounded like if they hadn't
> had Williams' scores as a template.
> Would Hedwig's Theme, the way Doyle used it (assuming for a second he
> would have come up with it in the first place), with the generic strings
> and the harmonisation, have become as famous as it is now?
> Of Hooper's criminally underdeveloped use I don't even speak.

I'm not necessarily against Williams, but his scores for the first two movies were very "kiddie" in parts (so were the movies, of course), and his idea of "magic" seemed to be the hocus-pocus variety, not the subtle powers of the final book. His use of Voldemort's theme for the diary scene in "Chamber of Secrets" was about as unsubtle as it gets. That music didn't belong there. I have no doubt that Williams *could* do a fantastic job on Deathly Hallows. I'm just not sure that he would. On the other hand, I was really wish I could have heard Fawke's theme in the battle music at the end of Order of the Phoenix.

As for Doyle, I think if Hedwig's Theme hadn't existed his music would have been much better received. His themes for Harry ("Harry In Winter" in album form) and Voldemort are fantastic and very memorable and I think they could have become an identity for the series on their own, if it didn't already have one. Hooper, I kind of doubt it, although I want to say that Umbridge's theme is absolutely perfect for that character.

> Even in Doyle's surrounding of all new material, and even more so in
> Hooper's, Hedwig's Theme leaves the distinct impression of being more
> important than the others.

Well, yeah, it's the title theme. What would Star Wars sound like without the Rebel Fanfare at the beginning of every movie?




Dispatch 674






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