Record Label: New Line Records
Genre: Film Score
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John Williams hasn’t composed the last couple of Harry Potter films and it shows. As much as the other scores have been decent, none of them have come close to Williams’ first three Harry Potter Scores.
Nicholas Hooper is back again to compose Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for his friend David Yates. Hooper did the score for The Order of the Phoenix and I couldn’t really tell you much about that score. It sounded good in the movie but as a standalone, it doesn’t really do anything for me. I think the score for Half-Blood Prince is a lot better and it has quite a few notable tracks.
The opening track starts off quiet, but “In Noctem” features a choir and is a nice piece. The John Williams’ Harry Potter theme doesn’t kick in until the 4th track with “Ginny.” That’s one thing that is definitely missing from the latest scores. That theme is very recognizable yet isn’t played as much as it should. I could understand trying to develop new motifs but the problem is I can’t really find something that is striking as “Hedwig’s Theme” or “Fawkes the Phoenix” or “Buckbeak’s Theme.” But with that said, this score is a lot better than Order of the Phoenix’s score or even Goblet of Fire’s score. The big band track “Wizard Wheezes” is a lot of fun but you only hear a smidge of that in the film.
Besides those tracks, “Living Death” is poppy classical track, as well as the track “Ron’s Victory.” “Into The Rushes” is a fast tempo & action packed track, and “Farewell Aragog” features a slow fiddle that’s similar to the traditional song “Danny Boy.” One thing I noticed with this film score by Hooper is the variety of music styles. It seems each track offers up something different musically. For instance, “When Ginny Kissed Harry” features just an acoustic guitar (or so it seems).
With the Harry Potter scores not composed by John Williams, I think you really have to see the movies to truly appreciate them. At first I wasn’t really that impressed with the score to Half-Blood Prince. After seeing the movie, I really liked the score! At times the music became too much like ambient noise but for the most part this is a much needed improvement on the last 2 scores.
Bottom Line: A better score than Order of the Phoenix but I hope John Williams can come back for the final movies.
Notable Tracks: In Noctem, Farewell Aragog, When Ginny Kissed Harry, Dumbledore’s Farewell, The Friends, The Weasley Stomp