Harry Potter…An avalanche of thoughts and feelings overcomes me when mentioning this name. It’s the synonym for a magic world, for a magnificent story, for a sanctuary. I am a huge fan of the books, the movies, and it’s the favorite story for me and my wife. I cannot even begin to compare to how long she’s been a fan or how much she knows about the books, the characters, that world. There is one Harry Potter area though about which I can talk more in knowledge than her: the music of Harry Potter films.
For the first three movies, John Williams created an entire world with his music. The Harry Potter theme is another one of his timeless, immortal and stunning compositions and this magical world wouldn’t be the same without that theme and the sound the maestro created. For the fourth movie, Patrick Doyle stepped in, and, for me, it was a welcomed change. For those unfamiliar with the stories, book 4 is where it gets really dark. It’s the first book where fear and tragedy outweigh innocence and laughter. Right from the start, I love it that Doyle uses John Williams’ “Hedwig’s theme”, but in a darker, more ominous version.
Patrick Doyle’s orchestral style fits the mood and theme of the story like a glove. The music is beautiful, serious, but with playful inserts from time to time. The kids are older; the music has lost some of the innocence it had in the first movies. “Goblet of fire” has a few clearly defined themes….Rita Skeeter, the annoying and nosy newspaper girl gets an amusing and jolly theme. The “Sirius fire” cue is menacing and dark, and sounds almost like a Bond movie suspense theme.
But the key word for Harry Potter is adventure, and Patrick Doyle knows how to get his orchestra to play that. I would really love to assist once to some Patrick Doyle recording sessions; because I’m sure it would be an amazing experience. “Golden egg” is a perfect example of how adventure music should sound…It has joy, it has danger, it has triumph, and it has over six minutes to go through all these feelings. I see the scene clearly in my mind, the music sends me right back to when I watched the movie and gives me back the feelings I had then.
“Neville’s waltz” makes me smile because there’s no way I can separate this waltz from the clumsy and wonderful character of Neville Longbottom. The Ball was a very important part of the “Goblet of fire” story and we also get “Potter’s waltz” from it. I love remembering that Ball.
“Harry in winter” is a 6 star cue, one of the most beautiful tracks from all the Harry Potter scores. It has the vastness of winter, it flies over the characters, over Hogwarts castle, it flies through time and it’s an exaggeration from Patrick Doyle’s part…A display of his immense potential, a lesson in the beauty of orchestral music, and the best cue of this score.
The action cues from “Goblet of fire” are some of the best Doyle has ever written. They are dark, menacing and exciting (try “The Black Lake” or “The maze”) and the definitive switch in tone from the Williams scores. And then we get to the dark and tragic end of the movie…The score takes its time, the final section is 16 minutes long and it includes the Voldemort theme. “The maze” is as dark and creepy as this score can get. Patrick Doyle got what the maze was all about, how dangerous and frightening that place was, and poured it all in a cue that makes you want to hide under the covers. “Voldemort” follows: the theme for the villain of the story, Harry’s arch rival, the evil dark wizard. His 9 minute theme is at times more menacing than even Doyle’s Frankenstein cues. This is one of the darkest and most hopeless motifs Patrick Doyle has written. The melodic parts from it are amazing, perfect, and the frights are there each time you think the mood has a chance to turn. It sometimes gets so intense that it’s hard to listen to without being physically affected. And after all these scares, “Cedric’s death” comes and breaks your heart. The first really important death in the Harry Potter movies gets the weight it deserves and sets the tone for the following movies.
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is one of my favorite Patrick Doyle scores. It’s rich, dark and beautiful, a story in itself. It’s a journey for the brave, and fans of the movies and books will surely love this one and recognize every note.
Cue rating: 91 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 61 / 65
Album excellence: 94%
Cues to listen to:
The Story Continues
The Quidditch World Cup
The Dark Mark
Foreign Visitors Arrive
The Goblet Of Fire
Harry In Winter
The Black Lake
Death of Cedric
Another Year Ends