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  Comments about: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Nicholas Hooper)
 • Posted by: GK
• Date: Thursday, July 23, 2009, at 5:43 p.m.
• IP Address: pd9e5c267.dip.t-dialin.net
• In Response to: Re: Some interesting things about this score (Dan McDevitt)

  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.

Oh yes, I know.
But, you know, orchestrators can also just work with the sheet music they're given.

> 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.

I just checked. I confused it with "Harry and Hermione". But, alas, bear with me ...

> 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.

To me, it appears as if the whole track could be a good underlining counterpoint for a real theme ;P
Back to Hedwig's theme.
Check the sheet music of musicnotes.com! Check out "Ginny" from bar 7 (or also the bars before) onwards.
It is even more apparent in "Harry and Hermione", which is written in the same key as Hedwig's theme. Check it out from bar 12 onwards - Hooper just plays around with the notes of the theme.
And since the same variant on Hedwig is used for both, Ginny and Hermione, it can't really be a specific theme for either ...

> 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.

You could be right ... it sounds very Umbridge-y to me, but then, I never found her theme particulary noticeable.

> 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.

Yes, well, that's certainly right, but, even if it wasn't particulary appropriate ideologically, it was at least in the tone of the film. And Williams didn't start the credits with it, people had the chance to enjoy a vintage Star Wars ending, with the Binary Sunset music and the Star Wars main title, followed by battle Of The Heroes, and to wind down.
But in Hooper's case, the movie just ended on a very low note, the audience is still in there, and suddenly you hear this Fireworks cue.

But if Hooper's choice for the credits was "The Weasley Stomp", both pieces don't really give or take much.

> 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.

And I also think this, concerning the credits once more, and also the Wizard Wheezes cue: both cues, Wizard Wheezes and the Weasley Stomp, are so similar in tone to what ended up as tracked music in the film, that the producers/editors could as well have picked either piece. So, why didn't they? Why did they go for tracked cues when original music, in exactly the same tone, was available?

The answer, I think, is obvious. The producers wanted different music in those cases, but Hooper didn't think it would be right that way, and Yates sided with him. After all, a composer doesn't have the power to stand against the suits alone (well, some might, but certainly not TV Guy).
So, in the end, to send a clear signal to Hooper as well as Yates, the producer took control and decided that, "if YOU don't want to comply, NONE of your music for this film will be used." So they used some OotP, and the Quidditch music didn't even get written, or past the written/mockup stage.

Hooper apparently doesn't know why his music didn't end up in the film. So, in the end, it might have been a fight between the producer and Yates over the music, without Hooper knowing much about it, and it was made very clear to Yates that he's fighting a losing battle.

> 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.

But that is not really fair. You can't compare the music of CoS to possible music for DH - there are five books, and five years of development in between.
His approach to magic in CoS wouldn't fit the idea for magic in DH, simply because the kind of magic in CoS is not the same kind in DH.
You shouldn't compare a score Williams wrote in between a full schedule to a score he will write in the future, full time.
Those kinds of subtleties get lost in a hurry.

> 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.

I think Harry's theme in GoF is very good, it's just handled in such a dull way.

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

Yes. But there are people who think Williams shouldn't have done Harry Potter in the first place. And that was my point in favour of Williams. Harry Potter films and scores wouldn't be where they are without Williams' pioneer spirit.







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