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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
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Composed, Co-Conducted, and Produced by:
Nicholas Hooper

Co-Orchestrated and Co-Conducted by:
Alastair King

Co-Orchestrated by:
Jeff Atmajian
Geoff Alexander
Simon Whiteside
Daryl Griffith

Performed by:
The Chamber Orchestra of London
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New Line Records
(July 14th, 2009)
Availability Icon
Regular U.S. release. An online 5.1 surround sound version of the album was accessible through the enhanced portion of the commercial album.
Nominated for a Grammy Award.
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you were among the few who were emotionally engaged by Nicholas Hooper's music for the previous film in the franchise and seek an even more conservative and reserved approach counterintuitive to the story's developments.

Avoid it... if you're hoping to hear Hooper transcend to provide a depth of gravity or memorable themes that can be favorably compared to John Williams or Patrick Doyle's previous Harry Potter scores on any level.
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WRITTEN 7/3/09
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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: (Nicholas Hooper) There are both advantages and disadvantages to franchises that contain as many films as that which swept onto the big screen in 2001 from J.K. Rowling's best-selling books. The Harry Potter franchise has had its fair share of production troubles, including the death of a lead actor, constantly rotating crews, and the perpetual shifting of release dates by Warner Brothers. At the same time, it endures into 2009 and beyond despite being the explosive fad of the moment in the early 2000's that caused its initial supersonic hype. The 2007 film directed by David Yates, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, earned $938 million worldwide in a summer debut, and due to the timing of a writer's strike in Hollywood, the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was held more than half a year to both take advantage of the same summer rewards in 2009 and fill a gap in Warner's line-up of offerings. Meanwhile, production of the final duo of films in the franchise, both inspired by Rowling's seventh book, was already well under way. At least, thankfully, the ridiculous religious protests spawned by these films have diminished significantly. The plot of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is one that turned off a fair number of readers, if only because it was the final confirmation that the innocent escapism of the early books in the series had been lost. The forces of Lord Voldemort are in full attack in this story, prompting Professor Dumbledore to spend his final days assisting the now fully hormonal Harry Potter in preparing for his final battle with his nemesis. While the inevitable confrontation and the permutations of magic associated with it are indeed fascinating, The Half-Blood Prince not only suffers from the tragedy of its ending but also the probably necessary but still somewhat obnoxious teenage love stories that slow the pace of the story considerably at times. That said, the tone of The Half-Blood Prince is one of darkness prevailing, announcing its wicked arrival with a harrowing fury. Returning to address the most distressing of entries in the franchise is composer Nicholas Hooper, who accompanied Yates into the realm of Harry Potter after a successful prior collaboration in British television and cinema.

To summarize Hooper's music for The Order of the Phoenix as disappointing is a disservice to the fact that his achievement for the franchise was adequately functional. But that score remains a disappointment because of the legacy created by John Williams and decently emulated by Patrick Doyle previously for the concept. Simply put, Hooper's score wasn't comparable to the emotional depth or orchestral mastery of the first four scores. His work was sufficient but not memorable. Large but not resounding. Careful but not precise. In short, Hooper earned his paycheck. When you're dealing with a franchise that is grounded in the sonic spirit of Williams, however, simply earning a paycheck is not enough. Doyle realized this dilemma when he expanded the scope of the soundscape in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and if only he had better integrated Williams' original material, he could have matched the maestro in terms of overall quality for the realm of Hogwarts. Hooper doesn't earn style points in either regard. He, for the most part, continues to disregard Williams' material and, unlike Doyle, doesn't replace it with a powerful enough new identity to compete with it or compliment it. Thus, in the end, Hooper's music has to be classified as a disappointment. This not only applies to The Order of the Phoenix, but to The Half-Blood Prince as well. Most of the same problems that inhabited the fifth score are pivotal factors in the sixth. These include the lack of truly dominant thematic presence, leaving this score as bereft of an identity as the previous one. It still underplays the dramatic depth of the story, rooting a significant number of cues in a treble region that never comes close to the impressive balance of power that Doyle achieved. It still addresses conversational scenes and others of lesser volume with sparse constructs that are as dull as they are lacking a magical element. It still lacks passion, betraying some wise choices in instrumentation and tone by relying upon a limp environment of too few layers and unengaging performances. All of the enveloping curiosity, the swirling whimsy, and the tangible sense of a growing threat is so marginalized by Hooper in comparison to his peers in the franchise that his two pedestrian scores are completely uneventful. They fill space but not memories. And let's not get started on the absence of "magic" in the ambient tone.

Ratings Icon
Average: 2.43 Stars
***** 189 5 Stars
**** 241 4 Stars
*** 405 3 Stars
** 520 2 Stars
* 596 1 Stars
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FVSR Reviews Harry Potter VI
Brendan Cochran - April 4, 2016, at 12:12 a.m.
1 comment  (493 views)
Harry Potter and the Nicholas Hooper
Vincent - July 26, 2015, at 1:53 p.m.
1 comment  (952 views)
Complete Score
Drew C. - July 15, 2012, at 9:41 a.m.
1 comment  (895 views)
A good choice for Zombies
Rebecca - January 27, 2011, at 2:45 p.m.
1 comment  (1125 views)
Lacks continuity, coherence and even accurate development
Luke22 - April 1, 2010, at 8:42 a.m.
1 comment  (1911 views)
Good score by Nicholas Hooper
Sunil - September 15, 2009, at 10:09 p.m.
1 comment  (2087 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 62:38
• 1. Opening (2:54)
• 2. In Noctem (2:00)
• 3. The Story Begins (2:05)
• 4. Ginny (1:30)
• 5. Snape & the Unbreakable Vow (2:50)
• 6. Wizard Wheezes (1:42)
• 7. Dumbledore's Speech (1:31)
• 8. Living Death (1:55)
• 9. Into the Pensieve (1:45)
• 10. The Book (1:44)
• 11. Ron's Victory (1:44)
• 12. Harry & Hermione (2:52)
• 13. School! (1:05)
• 14. Malfoy's Mission (2:53)
• 15. The Slug Party (2:11)
• 16. Into the Rushes (2:33)
• 17. Farewell Aragog (2:08)
• 18. Dumbledore's Foreboding (1:18)
• 19. Of Love & War (1:17)
• 20. When Ginny Kissed Harry (2:38)
• 21. Slughorn's Confession (3:33)
• 22. Journey to the Cave (3:08)
• 23. The Drink of Despair (2:44)
• 24. Inferi in the Firestorm (1:53)
• 25. The Killing of Dumbledore (3:34)
• 26. Dumbledore's Farewell (2:22)
• 27. The Friends (2:00)
• 28. The Weasley Stomp (2:51)

Notes Icon
The insert includes notes from the director and composer about the score. Yates' note dates back eight months prior to Hooper's. The CD itself contains none of the enhanced material it advertises, so availability of the online surround sound version, recording session material, and other features may not last forever.
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or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince are Copyright © 2009, New Line Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/3/09 (and not updated significantly since).
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