Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Musical Score By: Alexandre Desplat

Distributed by: WaterTower Music

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            To create the movie version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last novel in the Harry Potter series, the powers that be thought it best to split the 750 plus page book into two parts.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 follows Harry and his friends on his journey to destroy the evil wizard Lord Valdemortís secret to immortality and eventually Valdemort himself.  Part 1 is scheduled for release November 19, 2010. 

            Chosen to compose the musical score of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is French film composer Alexandre Desplat.  Beginning his music career at the age of five playing the piano, Alexandre Desplat eventually became proficient in the flute and trumpet as well.  Studying with quite a few reputable musicians and composers, Desplatís musical interests eventually became quite diverse.  Beginning in the early 1990s, Alexandre Desplat began composing scores for a great many movies, including The Girl With the Pearl Earring, Hostage, The Painted Veil, The Golden Compass, Julie & Julia, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and more. 

            The genres Desplat has composed music for are as diverse as his musical interests and each time he approaches a new film, he finds a new way of expressing the characters and the events taking place in the film.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the darkest adventure in the Harry Potter series and, as such, demanded a much darker musical score than most Harry Potter fans are used to.  This is also the most important and elaborate adventure in Harry Potterís life and thus, the music of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is a much more elaborate production. 

            Performed by The London Symphony Orchestra, the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Soundtrack features music performed by the expected horns, percussion, strings and woodwinds, but Desplat added a slightly exotic and unique musical feel by adding in solos performed on Recorders, ethnic percussion, a mandolin, a theorbo and a lute.  A choir featuring London Voices, the London Oratory Junior Choir and more added an even more dramatic feel to the musical score. 

            There is a sense of urgency and sadness that pervades this soundtrack, reflecting the moods of the character and the seriousness and dangerousness of their task.  Unlike the musical scores created for the earlier soundtracks, there is very little in the way of levity to be found in the musical score created for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, with the exception of the track entitled Polyjuice Potion.  Other than that one bright spot, this new soundtrack is unlike any other Harry Potter Soundtrack you have ever encountered.  Desplat, feeling that John Williams' Hedwig's Theme (found in earlier soundtracks) was essential to the films, used that theme subtly in Polyjuice Potion, Sky Battle and The Will, but nowhere else in the soundtrack.  The use of this theme in earlier tracks and not in latter ones gives the listener a sense that Harry Potter and his friends have finally lost all sense of innocence as they go continue on their quest.

            To say that the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Soundtrack is morose is an understatement.  However, there are quite a few intriguing tracks denoting action and adventure as the forces of good hunt down and are hunted by evil.  The scenes in which good battle evil are incredibly dramatic and exciting.  I found one track in particular to be quite touching - Hermioneís Parents just seemed to have a softer quality than the rest of the soundtrack and was a stand out track for me.

            All-in-all, Alexandre Desplat seems to have captured the essence and feel of the final Harry Potter adventure and perfectly translated it into a deeply dark and dangerous musical score.  The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Soundtrack may be darker than its predecessors, but it is the perfect example of a composer completely capturing the feel and mood of the storyline and the characters and translating that into music.  This album will make a perfect addition to any Harry Potter fanís soundtrack collection.


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