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Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1 by Alexandre Desplat

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1

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Harry Potter &  The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Poster and Memorabilia)

 

Harry Potter &  The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Poster and Memorabilia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter &  The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Soundtrack) by Alexandre Desplat

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1
Composed by ALEXANDRE DESPLAT
Water Tower Music (2010)

Rating: 8/10

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“[Alexandre] Desplat clearly intended to stamp his own identity on the score, and does so, often expertly. However, he unfortunately does not manage to give the film the standout theme it so clearly craves and surely deserves.”

Desplat on Hallowed Ground
Review by Richard Buxton


And so it comes to an end. The final chapter of the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series is nigh. The seventh and penultimate film adaptation of the series of novels signals the film franchise’s imminent 10th year in existence, and with it comes the inevitable and insatiable hunger for pure unadulterated fantasy and adventure. For a series approaching its eighth iteration, Harry Potter has shown remarkable endurance in an ever-changing and unremittingly demanding industry. One staggering measure of its success is the fact that over the course of the first six films, the gross revenue has amounted to approximately $5million, a figure that is over four times the total budget for the six films. Such financial returns are the result of a synergy of numerous people and circumstances. The immense popularity of the novels is a good start, but purely in terms of film, the way in which the themes and tone of the series has developed ensures audiences never grow weary of the magical adventures.

From the optimistic and upbeat tonality of the first films, the series has taken a gradual turn into darkness. As the audience has grown up with the characters themselves, they understandably demand a more complex narrative that is of a more mature nature when compared to the earlier films. With this evolution the score has similarly been transformed, out of necessity. ALEXANDRE DESPLAT's efforts heard in part 1 of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS continue the descent into darkness.

As with any score in the series, that of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS has been the recipient of continuous and fervent anticipation from the insatiable legions of score fans and film fans alike. The fact that director David Yates, being so impressed with the score immediately hired Desplat for work on the second part only heightens the already stratospheric expectations. Such pressure is only heightened when one realizes that the series began with John Williams and a collection of instantly recognizable themes. To the dismay of countless fans, the heights achieved by Williams in the first three films were never quite reached in the subsequent offerings. However, one indication that this score may be a return to form is the presence of Conrad Pope as the score’s orchestrator, as he was for the opening three films.

One fear that arises once a franchise takes the inevitable ‘dark turn’, is that the score will suffer as a result of this significant change. Often scores are justifiably labeled as generic and lacking in imagination once the mature themes take hold. The opening of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS makes no apparent effort to quell such fears, as demonstrated in “Oblivate”. While pleasing to the ear and fitting with the tone, the repeating string ostinato brings the likes of Zimmer’s “Batman” theme to mind, rather than that of Harry Potter. The following track, “Snape to Malfoy Manor” begins in a similar fashion, with the pulsing strings acting as the driving force, a force that later returns in the latter stages of “Death Eaters”.

Throughout THE DEATHLY HALLOWS it becomes difficult to establish exactly what Desplat intended the film’s main theme to be. Traces of a rising and inspirational theme can be heard in the previously mentioned “Oblivate” while a more traditional theme graces the opening moments of “Polyjuice Potion”.

While the opening tracks display Desplat’s obvious proficiency, it is in “Sky Battle” that Desplat really lets loose with a constantly shifting action piece. One of the standout pieces of the score, “Sky Battle” offers a statement of intent during its first forty seconds as the bold brass triumphantly enters the fray, before the cacophony of strings and brass begins moments later. The piece truly lives up to its name as it rarely lets up in its variety of tone and pace.

While the search for a true theme for the film continues, Desplat still manages to find ways to evoke the emotions that are required. It is true to say that the score struggles to establish its own identity, but it cannot be said that Desplat ever becomes entirely predictable. “Harry and Ginny” puts the breaks on the intensity as the softness of the piano and strings emphasize the more emotional side of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. This change seems to be instantly forgotten in “The Will” as the triumphant brass begins to stir once more, but this is quickly subdued as the tone returns to a more somber one as the most memorable of all of the series’ themes creeps in.

A much-needed foray into one of the film’s rare themes can be heard in “Dobby”. The brass echoes the suspenseful progression before the driving strings return. This theme returns in “The Locket” as the tension ramps up in the closing seconds. The suspense created in “Dobby” is quickly opposed by the mischievous tone of “Ministry of Magic”, another example of the stronger themes to be heard in the score. “Fireplaces Escape” ramps up the pace of the score in its opening and closing moments. The tumultuous and jarring strings and brass combination only momentarily lets up in the middle of the piece.

Desplat manages to provide THE DEATHLY HALLOWS with a prominent duality in its personality and does so in particularly impressive fashion in “Ron Leaves”. The subtle duel between somber strings and defiantly triumphant brass works well to evoke a simultaneous sense of loss and optimism. This duality continues in “Destroying The Locket”. The atmosphere in this track begins with the sense of adventure of adventure but this tone is quickly subdued by omnipresent unease before the dissonant and climactic close.

“Ron’s Speech”, a light and easy listening experience, is a foreshadowing of the events to come, acting as a final moment of optimism before the film descends into its conclusion, ending with the inevitable cliffhanger leading into part 2. “Captured and Tortured” begins the final approach towards the end with a strong reliance on percussion, before a subdued and suspenseful end that paves the way for “Rescuing Hermione”. The mere mention of the word “Rescue” evokes images of heroism and similar feelings within the music. However the piece never reaches heroic heights, rather it maintains constant tension in its strong variation. As part 1 leads into part 2, the propulsive strings heard earlier in the score make a return to accompany the characters descent into their ultimate fate in “The Elder Wand”.

Long-time fans of the Harry Potter films and in particular the scores no doubt be disheartened by the news that Desplat does little to hark back to Williams’ memorable themes heard in the genesis of the saga. This does not render THE DEATHLY HALLOWS redundant however. Desplat clearly intended to stamp his own identity on the score, and does so, often expertly. However, he unfortunately does not manage to give the film the standout theme it so clearly craves and surely deserves. For fans of Desplat, THE DEATHLY HALLOWS is strongly recommended, but for others it may serve as a reminder that replacing Williams is often a feat that remains unaccomplished.


 

Rating: 8/10

 

 


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Oblivate 3:02  ****
2 Snape to Malfoy Manor 1:59  ****
3 Polyjuice Poison 3:32  ***
4 Sky Battle 3:49  *****
5 At the Burrow 2:35  ****
6 Harry and Ginny 1:44  ****
7 The Will 3:39  ***
8 Death Eaters 3:15  ****
9 Dobby 3:49  ***
10 Ministry of Magic 1:46  ***
11 Detonators 2:24  ***
12 The Locket 1:52  ***
13 Fireplaces Escape 2:55  ****
14 Ron Leaves 2:36  *****
15 The Exodus 1:38  ***
16 Godric's Hollow Graveyard 3:15  ***
17 Bathilda Bagshot 3:55  **
18 Hermione's Parents 5:51  **
19 Destroying the Locket 1:11  ****
20 Ron's Speech 2:17  ***
21 Lovegood 3:28  ***
22 The Deathly Hallows 3:18  ***
23 Captured and Tortured 2:57  **
24 Rescuing Hermione 1:51  ***
25 Farewell to Dobby 3:44  ****
26 The Elder Wand 1:37  *****
  Total Running Time (approx) 74 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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