But honestly I don't really care anymore. PJ is obviously making his own brand of The Hobbit with enormous liberties. I guess the best attitude is to go along for the ride. This will never be as satisfying as the LotR trilogy was (even with its deviations from the source material). If I want my original nice Hobbit I will read the novel.
I feel those are two separate conversations though. We discussed this a little bit before. I don't argue that the composition is new or fresh or innovative, however you want to put it. I'm speaking specifically about the utilization of the drum circle and how it adds more depth and nuances to the percussion. How Zimmer makes it the highlight of the action material rather than the supporting rhythm underneath. I know, it's probably just my Zimmer love bleeding through. I really like the theme and added layers to the percussion. The score as a whole doesn't do much for me though. To add more balance to FFM's 5 star rating, personally I'd give it a 2.5 or 3.
So, here are pretty much all the themes I have identified:
Main Title Theme Misty Mountains Theme Erebor Theme Thorin Theme Azog's Motif Shadow over Mirkwood Motif Bilbo Fussy Motif Bilbo's Adventure Theme Baggins/Took Theme Gandalf's Theme #1 Gandalf's Theme #2 Radagast Theme #1 Radagast Theme #2 Warg Theme Falling Motif Goblin Theme #1 Goblin Theme #2 Thorin Faith Theme Bilbo Fate Theme And here is the scorepedia page where I (well anybody can of course) will update this list if I notice any more themes: http://en.scorepedia.org/wiki/The_Hobbit:_An_Unexpected_Journey
Well it is finally done and I am glad that I can present this in the honor of our Maestro John Williams' 80th anniversary. As always input, critique and comments are more than welcome in every regard. I hope you enjoy this rather lengthy analysis.
EDIT: The analysis has been updated on 17th of December 2018 after La-La Land Records' Harry Potter: John Williams Soundtrack Collection was released after 27th of November 2018.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
A Magical Masterpiece
A Complete Score Analysis
by Mikko Ojala
Auspicious beginnings – The birth of a modern fantasy classic
When J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter children’s book series had gradually taken phenomenal flight after the release of the 1st novel in 1997 and continued its rise with the sequels that came in steady flow in 1998, 1999 and 2000, Hollywood took interest. This was obviously becoming a popular children’s franchise and a literary phenomenon that appealed to readers of all ages and was taking the world by storm. The film studios saw the potential in this colorful and compelling story which had a great mix of humour, adventure and danger and more than a sprinkle of magic and that would be ideal to make it into a hit film. In 1999 Rowling sold the rights to the first four books to Warner Brothers who immediately began to plan a series of films based on them, with the first film’s release set initially for the summer of 2001 but later postponed due to production delays to the fourth quarter of the same year.
The first novel of the series Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (HPPS for short) tells the story of the eponymous protagonist, a young English orphan boy living with his aunt, uncle and cousin in Surrey, England. The relatives treat him terribly and have housed him in a cupboard under the staircase. His life is quite miserable but he seems to have unexplainable abilities that manifest when he is in trouble or angry, that makes strange things happen around him. Thanks to these mysterious occurences his stuffy and ordinary relatives shun and fear him even more, being as they are the paragons of normality, a virtous image of British suburban life and as a consequence coming off as thoroughly dull and conventional.
But suddenly on his 11th birthday Harry receives a letter from an unlikeliest of places, Hogwarts, a school of Witchcraft and Wizardy, informing that he has been accepted there to study the magical arts. The revelation that he is infact a wizard opens a whole world of magic, wonder but also of danger to him. He goes to this strange school, leaving his dreary life with his relatives, the Dursleys, behind him and diving headlong into the new and exciting world of wizards and witches that co-exists with the world of normal people or Muggles as wizards call them. At school he makes two inseparable friends, Ron Weasley , a red headed, loyal and good humored boy and Hermione Granger, a studious, clever and serious girl, with whom he shares his adventures. During his first year Harry also befriends the Hogwarts’ half-giant Groundskeep Hagrid and the Head Master Albus Dumbledore but also makes a few enemies, the chief among them a teacher, Magic Potions Master Severus Snape and a fellow student Draco Malfoy who continue to be an obstacle in his adventures throughout the book series. In the backdrop of the story looms the shadow of Lord Voldemort, the greatest dark wizard of all time who, as we find out with our protagonist, killed Harry’s parents yet the boy by some miracle survived and Voldemort himself was mysteriously destroyed. Harry received a lightning shaped scar on his forehead from this tragedy and this earned him the enigmatic title of the Boy Who Lived.
Harry’s first school year is full of new exciting things, magic, broom flying lessons, Quidditch (a wizard sport played while flying with broom sticks through the air, a sort of mix of rugby, cricket, basket- and baseball), extraordinary encounters with monsters, ghosts and curious events and people. More than that Harry gets involved in solving a mystery surrounding Voldemort’s possible return and the Philospher’s Stone, a magical artefact, that this dark wizard covets. In the end the three friends succeed in stopping the dark lord from returning (for the time being) and keeping the precious miracles performing stone safe from the clutches of his evil. Through magic, honesty, friendship and most of all simple courage our small hero overcomes nearly insurmountable obstacles and defeats his foes and at the end of the school year returns home to Dursley’s for the summer, the final lines of the book promising his return to the world of magic next year (and the inevitable sequel novel).
The Movie makers
Rowling sold the film rights to the Warner Bros. for a sum of 1 million £ (US$1,982,900) and made additional stipulations regarding the production, including an all British/Irish cast (exceptions for foreign characters were allowed) to keep the cultural integrity of the film and she retained the right to inspect and approve the screenplay. The film production began in 2000, with Chris Columbus being chosen to create the film from a short list of directors that included among others Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner. Columbus had a lot of experience in working with children having such movies as Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Mrs. Doubfire and Stepmom under his belt, each with children in major roles and the work on these family pictures was cited by the Warner Brothers as one of the main reasons for their decision to hire him. And Chris Columbus was no stranger to fantasy genre either, having penned a number of fantasy/adventure screen plays in the adventure film’s heyday in the 1980’s including e.g. The Young Sherlock Holmes, Gremlins and Goonies, which also featured children or teens in lead roles and contained an ample amount of fantasy elements.
The screenplay for HPPS was written by Steve Kloves who went for Rowling for approval and she received a certain amount of creative control over it. As already mentioned she also retained some degree of creative control over other aspects of the production, an arrangement that the director Columbus did not mind and by including her insured that her creation was treated with respect. The film was shot at Leavesden Film Studios in England and numerous historic buildings and sites around the United Kingdom.
Chris Columbus’ vision for the world of Harry Potter was to present the Muggle or ordinary world as drab and devoid of colour and in constrast the magical world of Hogwarts would have a stronger palette of vibrant colour and detail. The Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry receives a highly British veneer from extensive location shooting at various historical sites and buildings, the castle becoming a sprawling and varied cultural backdrop for the story to unfold. The colorful and whimsical cinematography captures a story book atmosphere reaching for inspiration in the most luminous architectural and design ideas of various historical periods mixed with modern sensibilities, evoking at the same time somewhat Dickensian spirit throughout.
The British (and Irish) cast included the young newcomers as the protagonist trio, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, who were found only after an extensive and difficult casting period involving auditions of thounsands of children. The top tier British thespians lending their talent to this first instalment of the story include Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley, Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley, Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Ian Hart as Professor Quirrell, John Hurt as Mr. Ollivander, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, John Cleese as the ghost Nearly Headless Nick and Julie Walters as Molly Weasley only to name a few. In time the series would feature nearly all major names of the acting talent of British Isles in roles large and small from Kenneth Branagh of the Shakespearean fame to Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton.
One small but none the less curious aspect of the production was the name of the movie. The film was titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Europe just as the novel was but in USA it was dubbed as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This was due to the fact that the original US publisher Scholastic Corporation had thought that no child would want to read a book with the word "philosopher" in the title and, after some discussion, the American edition was published in October 1998 under the title Rowling suggested, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a decision she later regretted. As a consequence of the change of the film’s American title all scenes that mention the philosopher's stone had to be reshot and/or dubbed, once with the actors saying "philosopher's" and once with "sorcerer's". This also affected all the publicity material and merchandise, including the soundtrack CD, which was to have two different incarnations, one for Europe and the rest of the world and another for USA.
The film was released in the United Kingdom and United States in November 2001 and received positive critical reception, made more than $974 million at the worldwide box office, and was nominated for many awards, including the Academy Awards for Best Original Score, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design (although it lost in all 3 categories). As of June 2011, it is the ninth highest-grossing film of all time. It also went to start one of the most succesful fantasy film series of all time and remains as one of Warner Brothers’ crown jewels.
Choosing the right composer
To complement his visual style and the scope of the story director Columbus by his own admission had only one composer in mind, John Williams. Having worked previously with him on the phenomenally succesful surprise hit Home Alone (1990) and its sequel (1992) and the small intimate family drama Stepmom (1998) Columbus had established a good working relationship with Williams, who not only had adored his movies (Home Alone being the prime example) but also seemed to have a great affinity and understanding of them. Of course Williams was also known for his larger than life adventure and fantasy scores for films like the Star Wars series, Indiana Jones trilogy, Superman, E.T. and Jurassic Park, where his music had played a large and integral role, and he had through the decades created a whole host of memorable themes for them that have become part of the cultural lexicon of the movie going audiences. Harry Potter seemed something right up Williams’ alley. It would continue the series of large symphonic, bold and colorful scores, that had begun two years prior in 1999 with George Lucas' Star Wars Episode I the Phantom Menace and would go on all the way to The Adventures of Tintin the Secret of the Unicorn in 2011, in which Williams would score one major action and adventure filled score after another in the Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises and several films for Steven Spielberg.
Williams admits that by pure chance he had to deviate from his normal working procedures for this film. Usually he prefers to know very little about the subject beforehand so as to have as few as possible preconceptions about the matter before he starts his work. This way he can react to the film much as a member of the audience and use this reaction and feeling as part of the compositional process. This is why the composer does not usually read scripts nor the novels if a movie is based on one, but this time he had already done so because in his own words "In this case, because my kids were all reading the books, I read the first Harry Potter book," he says. "I never even imagined I would be writing a score for the film. I didn't even know they were planning to make a film when I was reading it."
So Williams was happy to take on The Sorcerer's Stone because J.K. Rowling's work had multi-generational appeal in his family. "I have grandchildren who read them (the Harry Potter books) and love them. I have children who read them and love them. In my family, there are three generations of American people enjoying Rowling," he told The Times of London. He also stated that his score for Philosopher's Stone was to be, naturally, "theatrical, magical and to capture a child's sense of wonder in the world." 
John Williams was hired in the autumn of 2000  and in November Columbus and the producers asked him to compose music for the upcoming teaser trailer they were putting together . And later in June the next year he provided music for the official full length trailer as well. The music in the trailers was based on his impressions of the novel and the footage he had seen and Williams responded to the imagery with a whimsical waltz theme in which he tried to capture feeling of magic and flight. This little over minute and a half composition for the teaser received the name Hedwig’s theme after Harry’s pet Snowy Owl, and because of the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the film makers, Williams decided to incorporate this material into his score. As it turned out this musical motif was to become the corner stone of the score and in time the central theme for the whole franchise. It has indeed become the most enduring element of the musical lexicon of Harry Potter and has since received wide recognition, been re-recorded countless times since 2001 by various orchestras and attained near pop culture status and a place among Williams’ most iconic themes.
The music for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was composed during the spring and summer of 2001, mainly at Tanglewood and in Los Angeles and recorded in London between August 28 and September 12.
The orchestrations were prepared by Conrad Pope and Eddie Karam and the score is performed by a studio orchestra on which reportedly there were members from both of London’s most distinguished symphonic ensembles, the London Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra. The choral talent was provided by the famous London Voices under the direction of their founder and musical director Terry Edwards, who also had two years prior worked on Williams’ Star Wars Episode I the Phantom Menace. The score was recorded and mixed by Simon Rhodes, and Ken Wannberg, Williams' long time collaborator, returned once again to the duties of the music editor. Randy Kerber, a Los Angeles based veteran musician of countless soundtrack recordings and a frequent keyboard player on John Williams' soundtracks, performed the numerous celesta solos in the score. And as it tends to happen with the biggest movie phenomena, the music became a part of the publicity efforts of the film not only in the form of trailer underscore but with Williams' contribution to the annual Tanglewood on Parade benefit concert on July 31, 2001, where the composer unveiled a preview of his music for the film, a performance of the full-fledged concert version of "Hedwig's Theme." 
The Musical Tapestry of Harry Potter
For such a colorful and multifaceted children’s story and fantasy film Williams had a rich source from which to draw inspiration for the music. Columbus’ colorful images, the magical atmosphere and faithful adaptation of the source material with input from the author herself created a film very much in sync with the novel, which again would provide another source for ideas.
These musical ideas seemed to flow from the Maestro’s pen with as exuberant force as he professed his enthusiasm for the project to be. The music is permeated by a unique spirit. Williams says following about his approach in a USA Today interview: I wanted to capture the world of weightlessness and flight and sleight of hand and happy surprise. This caused the music to be a little more theatrical than most film scores would be. It sounds like music that you would hear in the theater rather than the film. This is very much the feel of the music when wedded with the images that it fills undeniably to the brim but still retains suitable subtleties where needed.
The Owl’s Flight and Sounds of the Celesta Hedwig’s theme as inadvertently as it came to be the central element of the score, captures the heart of the whole story with precision. Complementing this musical motif is the nearly ubiquitous instrumental sound of celesta which was featured already in the trailer music. This sound became emblematic of the music of Harry Potter outside the theme as well and the glowing, whirling series of notes now instantly evoke the wizarding world and wonderment even when separated from the images. This musical instrument was a deft choice since its history and connections were complementary to the theme of the film and to the genre of the music, also linking Williams’ score to a larger symphonic tradition. Whether this is just a happy conincidence born out of the composer’s personal ideas of how magic is expressed through music or by deliberate design, the choice of celesta has proven to be a stroke of genius.
With the holiday season coinciding with the release of the film (even though the original release date had been in the summer of 2001) the music contains a subliminal and most likely unintended Tchaikovskian atmosphere, the style of the music recalling his famous ballet, the Nutcracker, in its tone and style that are Romantic, colorful, melodic and full of childish whimsy and heart. Especially the central Hedwig’s theme played on the aforementioned signature instrument of the score, a celesta, was compared by some to Tchaikovsky ballet music since the central and famous Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy utilized this instrument as well. The bell-like tones and the instrumental usage of celesta are no doubt similar, conjuring magic and wonder, but Williams’ score remains as individual as anything he has done. In this case the celesta compositions demanded finesse and deft playing, not just magical and light soloing, while retaining the glowing clear notes which this instrument in the hands of a skilled musician could provide, linking the sound subconsciously to the ideas of flight and weightlessness.
John Williams and the keyboard and celesta player Randy Kerber created a special sound for the film, the celesta timbres constructed on synthesizer to achieve a unique tone for the instrument, that was more powerful, sharper and singular than of its acoustic counterpart’s. In the score the celesta is usually complemented by the string section weaving their complex and fast figures into the music, providing a basis from which the orchestra takes flight but Williams keeps the fragile tones of the instrument in mind, never drowning its soft tread in the sea of other musical sounds. But the use of the instrument is not limited to solos and it often provide essential colouring to many key scenes in the film.
An often quoted musical influence, another Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, could be also said to loom good naturedly over the music of Harry Potter. Williams’ fondness for colorful marches, highly recognizable melodic writing and excellent, inventive orchestration has always been compared with Prokofiev’s and stylistically the score definitely shares these qualities even though it does not directly or consciously quote anything from the composer’s repertoire but this comparison rather illustrates one of Williams’ many influences as a composer. And even though the two composers above are mentioned as possible stylistic influences there is no sense of pastiche in the score, although Williams’ detractors might readily point out the contrary, but rather of musical allusion, one of Williams’ fortes, an ability to evoke a certain mood or style, classical or popular and enhance the experience of the film by suggesting something already familiar in the experience of the listener/viewer. The music seems accessible just for that reason, as it should if a film composer knows anything about the conventions of form although good composers like Williams, know how to use this allusion while creating something new.
As mentioned before the ensemble of the score is fully symphonic with the London Voices choir complementing a large symphony orchesta and few selected specialty instruments adding their unique timbres into the mix. The word “magic” is the oft repeated key to what Williams was trying to and did achieve in his music, a modern counterpart to the grand operatic and ballet tradition of old, the music carrying itself with self assured grace even without the images, all the while retaining a child’s sense of awe and wonder in its notes.
More Musical possibilities – The Children’s Suite
Williams was so genuinely inspired by this film project that he ended up writing musical miniatures based on the story and in a most unusual style set aside time at the end of each day of the recording sessions to prepare and record what was to become a 9-movement concert work he finally dubbed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Children’s Suite for Orchestra. He comments on the genesis of this work in the program note of the published sheet music:
When I wrote the full orchestral score for Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone, I hadn’t planned to write the 8 miniatures presented here. The film’s score didn’t require them, and our production schedule, usually very difficult in the film world, made no provision for their arrival. However, if I am permitted to put it a bit more colorfully, each piece seemed to insist on being “hatched” out of the larger body of the full score.
This was essentially a series of musical vignettes in the spirit of Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra of Benjamin Britten, that not only presented the central thematic ideas of the score but also highlighted different orchestral and instrumental sections and combinations in each movement with the final piece titled Harry’s Wondrous World drawing together several thematic threads and utilizing the entire symphonic ensemble for a grand finale. The music of the suite gathers up all the major musical ideas of the score to form self-contained pieces of music, that offer a unique take on the material, often expanding the themes or melodies, fleshing out or embellishing their orchestrations and connecting them in original ways. They showcase soloists and performers from all the orchestral sections and present the whole score itself in almost a miniature, a condensed programme of 25 minutes.
Originally Williams wrote these pieces to be recorded at the film's scoring sessions but later revised them and these revisions the officially published versions available as sheet music from Hal Leonard publishing. But the suite recorded at the original scoring sessions has been made fully available for the first time on the La-La Land Records' Harry Potter: John Williams Soundtrack Collection boxed set. I will discuss the Children’s Suite in further detail after the analysis of the actual film score.
The Magic made manifest: The Themes of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The HPPS score is build in a classic Wagnerian Hollywood style upon several recurring themes for various elements of the tale. From the start the composer saw the film as an opportunity to create a whole host of themes to illustrate the story, which would then in leitmotivic fashion be developed and varied through the movie as the events unfold. It could be said that more than any of his modern peers Williams has relied on and emphasized strong themes to carry the message of the film and to help the audience to identify with the characters and the story. This very much applies to the world of Harry Potter as well: So much of successful film scoring relies on a gratifying melodic identification for the characters," Williams says. "I try to draw on something that marries very well with what I'm seeing.
His skill at writing clear and easily identifiable musical ideas is one of his greatest strengths and for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone he composed no less than 7 major thematic ideas and several smaller motifs, which many interrelate with each other forming small thematic families as they share some common musical traits, another strong and typical feature in Williams’ thematic constructs.
MAJOR THEMES 1. Hedwig’s Theme
Despite its name this theme could be said to be a musical depiction for the whole world of Harry Potter and its magic, not just for Harry’s pet snowy owl , though it may have been in the composer’s mind the initial inspiration for the musical idea as he was particularly impressed by the image of the owls delivering the mail in the story. The celesta is the central instrument of this theme, which as much as it describes pure magic, conjures thoughts of flight. This whimsical waltz, slightly mischievous and projecting childlike wonder but also a hint of danger, receives numerous variations throughout the story, each time offering another accent to the events, the action reflected in its myriad orchestrations. And although the theme contains one elaborate long lined melody, it can be divided into two distinct sections with individual narrative purpose:
The A phrase presents the main melody of the waltz (example OST CD track 19 Hedwig’s theme 0:00-0:17), lilting on celesta with an air of mystery, magic, mischief and anticipation. It works as a sort of musical trigger that announces to the audience that something extraordinary is about to happen, the scene where owls begin to bring letters from Hogwarts being a prime example of this, the music rising into a grand statement of the full Hedwig’s theme after the A phrase opening.
Frank Lehman expounds on the musical idea in his thematic analysis thus:
In its first guise, this theme begins on a pickup on the fifth scale degree, which moves to the tonic, and proceeds up to third scale degree, outlining a minor chord in 2nd inversion. The second guise begins with a pickup on the third, and sways between the fifth and the third of the minor tonic chord.
The B phrase (example OST CD track 19 Hedwig’s theme 0:18-0:36) continues the waltz idea with a rising and falling back-and-forth figure and a sense determination and closure, the phrase being regularly used e.g. for various transitional and approach shots in the film. This section finishes the melody began by the A phrase and thus completes the whole main melody of the theme.
As parts of a longer theme these phrases are most frequently used in conjunction but with two-part melody Williams has provided himself with musical idea that can be quoted as a long lined melody and also in smaller sections, the theme retaining a highly recognizable persona in either guise.
Frank Lehman further describes Hedwig's Theme's musical form and harmonic structure: Harmonically, Hedwig’s Theme is almost always minor, and highly chromatic. (A highly reduced version of the progression goes something like this: i – Vish – i – biii – bii – iv -bVI Fr aug6 - i. Note the extremely exotic use of the French Augmented sixth to tonic, which, in conjunction with the successive minor chords creates a very magical, off-kilter sound.
The way the composer assigns celesta for this theme is very apt, the instrument creating an atmosphere of magic that is at once recognizable, luminous, delicate and mysterious. The string accompaniment propels the material to flight, swirling like a flock of owls with avian sounding chattering woodwinds in tow, the theme playing in a bed of slightly off-kilter seesawing string figures, suggesting perhaps the darker or more mischievous forces at work. Most of all the music corresponds to the magic happening throughout the film, be it owl’s sudden flight, arrival at Hogwarts or the protective magic of love. This main theme of the score also has a close connection to the Flying theme.
2. The Flying Theme (Nimbus 2000)
Williams has often stated that depicting flight and weightlessness, the sense of defying gravity, being one his favourite film scoring challenges. In addition and to support Hedwig’s theme he wrote another melody which is closely connected to it, so closely infact that it forms the middle portion of the concert suite of the aforementioned theme. This idea he calls Nimbus 2000 after Harry’s magical broomstick but in the film it is applied not only to flying on broom sticks and stunts of dexterity and agility (Quidditch most prominently) but also to more humorous and quirky moments of magic and wonderment. As with Hedwig's theme this leitmotif also has two distinctive sections:
The A phrase (example OST CD track 19 Hedwig’s theme 1:35-2:00) presents a rhythmic playful melody which is often carried by the woodwind section and the brass. It has a sense of powerful forward motion when needed, though the string and celesta variation seems to represent again agility and flying prowess of the main characters. In woodwind setting the melody quite often takes a quirky comical stance, bubbling and skipping forward in anticipation as our protagonists are doing something exciting or magic is happening around them. At its most dramatic the whole orchestra performs it as a full bodied waltz which usually flows into
The B phrase (examples OST CD track 19 Hedwig’s theme 2:46-3:01 and again at 3:25-3:45) which ascends dramatically higher and higher mimicking the aerial exploits in the film, painting images of rushing wind and forward surging motion, the excitement and possible dangers of flight which are underlined by the unsteady and threatening sounding up-and-down motion at the beginning of the phrase. Hedwig’s theme and the Flying theme are as thematic constructs very much connected, one usually following the other, allowing Williams for a fluid switch from one idea to the next, keeping the score alive and moving. The Flying theme has also the celesta in common with Hedwig’s theme which is occasionally called to perform fast and difficult passages of the A Phrase at high speed again closely associated with the owls and magic.
Frank Lehman describes the connection between Hedwig’s Theme and The Flying Theme thus: As for the theme itself, its chord-progression is nearly identical to "Hedwig’s Theme," only slightly more busy (fewer non-chord tones in the melody – lotsa parallel block chords supporting the melodic line), but sharing the same reliance on biii, bii and aug6 chords. It is more malleable than Hedwig’s theme, and Williams enjoys spinning it through numerous odd modulations.
3. Harry’s Theme/The Family Theme
Harry Potter’s theme is a youthful melody which is frequently used for his most personal moments in the film and ranges from melancholy and sad to sweepingly optimistic (example OST CD track 2/18 Harry’s Wondrous World 2:04-2:50). It carries some of the inherent but at first subdued heroism of the protagonist and receives it’s grandest reading in the finale of the film (Leaving Hogwarts), but this music is more connected to Harry’s emotional life than overtly heroic deeds, so it very rarely reaches for flashy orchestration or fanfarish writing remaining at its most sweeping anchored to yearning romanticism. This nostalgic and warm musical idea also very importantly works as a theme for Harry’s family and is woven throughout his first year at Hogwarts reminding us of his past, his love for his lost family and the affection he feels towards his new circle of friends.
4. Harry’s Wondrous World Theme
This is a thematic depiction of Harry’s new found place in the magical world he discovers at and through the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, appearing when he starts to slowly find his courage and self-worth and triumphs over obstacles. The major mode melody (examples OST CD track 2/18 Harry’s Wondrous World 0:26-0:39, 1:20-1:46) is lyrical and expansive with a hint of yearning at its most emotional moments, the music ranging from wistful and nostalgic as the Boy Who Lived slowly starts to find his place in his new life to glowingly warm, triumphant and radiant at victory and success Harry meets during his adventures. The material is related to the principal Harry’s/Family Theme much the same way Hedwig’s Theme and the Flying Theme are linked together, often used in conjunction with each other but Harry’s Wondrous World is reserved for the most significant turns in the story, always appearing at moments of special meaning for the character and his development.
Harry’s Secondary motif/Harry's Wondrous World End Cap
Williams also attaches another melodic phrase to the character of Harry Potter and the Wondrous World theme, a swaying childlike rising and lilting motif which usually follows or complements the main Wondrous World Theme almost like a musical afterthough offering a comment on Harry’s situation and finishing the musical sentence Harry's Wondrous World Theme began. It (examples OST CD track 2/18 Harry’s Wondrous World 0:20-0:26, 0:40-0:53) also links with his triumphs during his school year, his determination and heroic actions all captured in the optimistic, forward questing motion of this motif.
5. Hogwarts’ Theme (The Gryffindor Theme)
The School of Witchcraft and Wizardry receives its own musical identification (example OST CD track 7 Entry into the Great Hall and The Banquet 2:43-3:10), a proud scholarly hymn that still at times succeeds sounding somewhat bumbling and befuddled as it good naturedly underscores many of the school activities from the sorting ceremony to Quidditch. The theme can sound playful, solemn or fanfarish as the situation requires, being highly malleable in its relatively simple progression.
This thematic idea also doubles as a theme for Gryffindor, one of the four houses into which the students are divided at the start of their schooling. The other houses do not receive themes of their own, and most likely since our heroes come from this house the composer wanted to emphasize this particular aspect, and so the warm major mode melody follows Gryffindor pupils to Quidditch matches and dormitories announcing as much their house allegiance as it does a general school pride.
Frank Lehman comments on the theme's contruction in his analysis thus: In its most straightforward form, it basically consists of a lot of motion between I and IV, and during the most fanfaric rendition during the Quidditch match, with a modulation on the tritone sending it modulating into the key of the lowered mediant.
6. The Philosopher’s Stone
The eponymous Philosopher’s Stone at the center of the plot is characterized by a simple three note motif, an up-and-down figure that in equal measure exudes fateful mystery and foreboding (example OST CD track 5 Diagon Alley and Gringotts Vault 2:54-end). The story treats this wondrous substance in gloomy terms instead as a marvel of magic and source of longevity and Williams obviously sees the magical substance as a source of both mystery and danger, the minor mode theme announcing this clearly from the beginning. The basic phrase of the motif is 3 notes long but the composer sometimes extends it further creating a repeating but continually growing melodic row of 3, 4 and 5 notes that ends with a return to the 4 note phrase so Williams can quote an extensive range of variations on it throughout the story from short exclamation to a long melodic line.
The Philosopher’s Stone motif changes very little during the story and this development is quite subtle, the magical substance being one of the main mysteries of tale, gradually growing in importance. The motif repeats numerous times with different orchestrations but fundamentally stays the same in form and message. The weight and frequency with which it is quoted as the story moves towards its resolution illustrates its importance, the renditions becoming more pronounced and nearly ever present by the end. The repetition of this motif, the three notes continuing ad infinitum also deftly depicts the obsession of some characters to possess the artefact, becoming in the finale of the film an oppressive snarl as Voldemort through Quirrel tries to steal it, emphasizing his twisted lust for the magical object that could return him to power.
Musically the Stone is closely associated with Voldemort’s own musical material, the plot element being so integrally linked with the Dark Lord.
For the villain of the story, albeit most of the time a dark shadow looming in the background, Williams conjured up a suitably dark and menacing thematic depiction. The music for the most powerful dark wizard of all time is a brooding melody which like Hedwig’s theme is divided into two parts even though here the parts are so distinctive that they could be called two independed motifs. I have given these two musical ideas separate names for easier recognition in the analysis.
A) The first phrase Voldemort Revealed is a dark, angular and maliciously progressing melody, short, direct and nearly exclamatory in its form (example OST CD track 17 The Face of Voldemort 1:25-1:54). It accompanies his most evil deeds in the film as told by the other characters and in scenes, where he reveals his power or presence. There are certainly subtle hints to the classic monster music of old in some of the more aggressive readings of the theme as it announces the dark lord almost like a growling wicked fanfare exuding imperious malevolence. Frank Lehman analyzes it's structure:In this case, beginning on the first scale degree, it would proceed to the 7th below, up to a flatted 2nd, back to the seventh and so forth. Harmonically, it sometimes follows this demonic progression: i – dim v6 – i – vii – bvii – i) 
B) The second idea Voldemort’s Evil seems to allude to the reptilian, scheming persona of the character and his evil plots (example OST CD track 17 The Face of Voldemort 1:55-2:16). The long melodic line literally slithers forward with languid malice, winding snake-like up and down a minor scale, part seductively hypnotic part ominously evil. It is at first used to describe Voldemort’s unseen presence and finally the character himself as he makes a bid for the Philosopher’s Stone at the end of the film.
It could be surmised that since Voldemort's Evil is more developed of the two, it is the true Voldemort’s theme although Williams uses these two melodic ideas most often in conjunction and complementing each other much like Hedwig’s theme and The Flying theme and the he utilizes both parts of Voldemort’s musical identity quite fluidly, quoting one or the other depending on the needs of the scene or moment, not strictly or clearly assigning either one as the primary motif for him. Noteworthy is that nearly always Voldemort Revealed precedes the Evil theme, the dark lord announcing his entrance in ominously grandiose manner before slithering into view in person. Moreover as it was stated above the Philosopher’s Stone motif is often linked with these two themes and woven into the orchestration and used as a counterpoint especially to the Voldemort’s Evil theme.
Some of the elements in the story seemed to warrant singular musical set pieces and identifications of their own and thus Williams composed a few independent motifs for locations and events in the film that would be out of necessity keyed to only a few scenes. Some might argue at the validity of identifying the following material as themes but through studying the music in the film I would certainly assert that they are quite clearly musical depictions of specific places, persons, ideas or objects and thus leitmotivic themes of their own right.
For the wizard and witch high street and shopping district in the heart of London secreted away by magic the composer provides a unique theme and instrumental colouring (example OST CD track 5 Diagon Alley and Gringotts Vault 0:00-1:15). He envisioned a small wizards’ band with Medieval/Baroque instruments providing a suitable melodic and playful ambience for the merchant district of the Diagon Alley. Recorders, strings, woodwinds and a wizard’s fiddle propel Harry through magical marvels on display in the shop windows in this fantastical locale.
The great Quidditch game in the middle of the film offered Williams a chance for some pomp and circumstance, the scene being colorful and exciting, full of spectators with flags and the teams competing on a grand arena. To enchance the feeling of the occasion the Quidditch game receives its own heroic fanfare (example OST CD track 2/18 Harry’s Wondrous World 3:07-3:35) both announcing and closing the event and appearing in snippets throughout the underscore of the game. This musical idea complements and relates to the Hogwarts theme exuding similar proud and courageous feel.
The Great Hall
A small festive march ushers the characters into Hogwarts’ Great Hall for a welcoming feast as they arrive to the castle. This musical idea is then used in the underscore for the Sorting Ceremony and similarly flavoured celebratory music continues in the subsequent banquet scene.
The Invisibility Cloak
The enchanted artefact receives an eerie motif with suspenseful layers of sighing hollow toned synthesizer effects which follows Harry through the school, the hollow, ghostly tones of the musical idea appearing when he uses the cloak to get to the Forbidden Section of the library unseen.
Aside from recurring themes the score for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is full of incidental melodies, rhythms and textures that fill not only the music but the cinema with colour and magical ambience. There is a constant flow of musical ideas alongside the major themes, Williams often juggling many of them side by side in the scenes, the individual set piece melodies giving away to the character themes at suitable moments. Not since his inarguably most ambitious and expansive fantasy score for Hook has Williams been inspired to create such a colorful and varied musical tapestry for a single film.
Track-by-Track Analysis of the Film Score
The track titles used in the analysis are gleaned from Williams’ original cue names found on the sheet music. This is followed by the soundtrack album counterpart if the music is featured on the CD. The Original soundtrack album was released 30th October 2001 in the United States and United Kingdom on Atlantic/Warner Sunset/Nonesuch Records label. This CD contained little over 73 minutes of music from the film, including nearly all major highlights of the score but, since the whole composition is so expansive, left out more than an hour of music. Finally on November 28th 2018 the La-la Land Records released the full film score as part of the Harry Potter – The John Williams Soundtrack Collection: Limited Edition containing the complete scores for the three John Williams scored Harry Potter films.
Another curious aspect of the album production is that Williams included on the soundtrack CD not only music from the original score but also parts of the Children’s Suite mixed with the score cues, resulting a true concept album, but this also meant that more of the original score was left off the CD. The one difference besides the title of the movie in the European release was the placement of the track Harry’s Wondrous World as the 2nd track after Children’s Suite piece Hedwig’s Flight (retitled on the OST as Prologue) whereas it was placed to the end of the American album pressing before Hedwig’s theme where it would belong during the actual end credits.
In my references to the OST I will be using the European pressing of the CD and its track numbers and the Harry Potter – The John Williams Soundtrack Collection: Limited Edition for the complete score presentation track numbers and track titles (if they deviate from the original cue titles), abbreviated HP JWSC.
1. WB Potter Logo Lead-In (Version 1) (1M2)- 0:17 (Unused, HP JWSC: CD 3 track 15 Logo)
The movie opens with the Warner Bros logo and the solo celesta performs the A Phrase of Hedwig’s theme, the short segment ending in lightly tremoloing anticipatory strings that usher us to the film itself. This was the first version of the cue and was never used. In its place Williams composed another variation
WB Potter Logo Lead-In (Version 2)(1M2) - 0:18 (Film Version, HP JWSC, CD 1 track 1 The Prologue and Privet Drive 0:00-0:16)
In this version the Warner Bros logo appears to a swirling of string section ghosted by celesta and a determined rendition of the A Phrase of Hedwig’s theme on French horns opens the main story with a hint more darkness and mystery than the celesta solo of the first version.
In the Making
As might deduced from the slate number 1M2 the Warner Brothers logo was supposed to follow the Prologue in some early incarnation of the film but it was later switched to its final place at the start of the film. Perhaps it was this that necessitated the rewrite of the Hedwig’s Theme for the logo.
2. The Prologue (1M1)- 4:15 (OST track 3 The Arrival of Baby Harry 0:00-1:44, 2:44-end, HP JWSC CD 1 track 1 The Prologue and Privet Drive 0:17-end)
As director Chris Columbus reverently re-creates the first chapter of the novel on-screen, presenting the opening of the book shrouded in mystery and magic, Williams had an opportunity to present his main theme in a near overture fashion in the Prologue.
Steady deep double bass and celli sonorities and light, glinting (synthesized) celesta create an enigmatic atmosphere (performance marked aptly Magico on the score), the instrument stating a brief melody, not yet a theme but establishing a tone for the score as the movie opens with images of the night time Privet Drive and an owl perched on the street sign is seen flying off into the inky night. Strings and harp slide up and down in an excited manner as mark tree shimmers and oboe offers a brief solo, expanding on the just heard celesta melody when a man in red robes appears from the woods. This is professor Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris) who steps into view and pulls out a gadget looking like a large cigarette lighter, a Deluminator, and with it extinguishes the lights of the nearby street lamps one by one while a women’s choir enters over strings and loudly glinting mark tree and twirling woodwinds and reaches a deliberately paced crescendo, each orchestral accent signifying another streetlight snuffed out (0:43-1:04).
The wizard closes the Deluminator and the horn section announces the first hint of the A phrase of Hedwig’s theme in a slightly ominous manner since we do not know exactly what is happening but the theme at the same time makes note of Dumbledore’s magical feat. As the Headmaster of Hogwarts offers a few words of acknowledgement to a black and grey streaked cat who happens to be standing nearby, it transforms into a woman, professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith). Here the choir, sparkling mark tree and strings return, gradually rising on a scale capturing the transformation from a cat to a woman in their gestures, the phases of the quick metamorphosis underscored by a triangle’s clear accents.
With a twirl of string section, oboe and celesta the orchestra begins a full reading of Hedwig’s theme at 1:50 as baby Harry arrives on the back of Rubeus Hagrid’s flying motorcycle, the ensemble’s slightly mischievous strings reaching the end of the A phrase of the melody that is then quickly repeated by the woodwinds as the pair lands and Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), a half-giant keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts, offers the little bundle that is baby Harry to Albus Dumbledore. Strings and clarinet present here a sympathetic yet comical phrase as the giant of a man handles his tiny parcel with a gentle touch.
A more slowly paced reading of Hedwig’s theme on oboe, violins and violas accompaniment and interspersed bass and celli pizzicati and accented by orchestral bells joins the deliberations of Dumbledore and McGonagall. Hagrid’s worry and sadness for leaving the baby on the door step of Muggles is expressed by the forlorn women’s choir and strings, flutes soon following their lead. Finally Harry is set down on Dursleys’ doorstep and as the headmaster of Hogwarts presses a letter addressed to Mr. and Mrs Dursley into his lap a solo celesta sings out the theme’s melody again. Hedwig’s Theme’s A phrase continues when the camera pans closer to the lightning shaped scar on the sleeping baby’s forehead and the main title appears. Here the swelling choir and orchestra take up the B phrase of Hedwig’s theme and surge upward in a grand exclamatory statement which ends with a fluttering woodwind and celesta coda and a single crystalline glint of the triangle as we now see sleeping near 11 year old Harry Potter in his cupboard room under the stairs waking up to a light turned on outside the door.
Soundtrack Album VS Film Cue
On the OST album Arrival of Baby Harry corresponds to the 1M1 Prologue for the most part but with one major difference. On the album some of the original music has been cut and replaced, specifically the section running from 1:49 to 2:29 and augmented with music from a completely different source. This additional material is a piece composed and recorded at the recording sessions for a Coca-Cola commercial meant to be used to promote the film and Williams named the piece Hedwig Tries a Coke or Coke Add 60s (naturally it has no cue number). This piece, approximately one minute long, is used in its entirety on the OST. It is inserted into the music at 1:44 of the OST track Arrival of Baby Harry and runs up until 2:44.
Hedwig Tries a Coke contains a different celesta opening compared to the woodwinds and strings of the Prologue and opens up to a full choir and orchestra rendition of the A Phrase of Hedwig’s theme. This is followed by a descending flute figures that can be heard in Harry’s Wondrous World that lead into a statement of Harry’s/Family Theme and ends with a robust statement of A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme on french horns that flows to a quick celesta coda. This is nearly seamlessly edited with the ending portion of the original Prologue. It is a curious editing choice for the sake of listening experience but illustrates the often different nature of the soundtrack album production compared to the actual film score.
After breakfast Harry is dragged to the zoo in honor of his cousin Dudley’s birthday and before they step in the car, Harry’s uncle Vernon (Richard Griffiths) warns him against any “funny business”. He will not tolerate any strange behaviour while they are celebrating Dudley’s special day.
3. The Friendly Reptile (1M3) - 2:59 (OST track 4 Visit to the Zoo - Letters from Hogwarts 0:00-1:48, HP JWSC CD 1 track 2 Visit to the Zoo)
At the zoo Harry and the Dursleys are watching a large Burmese Python in its habitat and Dudley, who finds the inanimate snake boring, is trying to make it move by tapping on the pane and shouting at it, his father quickly joining to assist him. Harry comes to the snake’s defence saying that it is asleep and that they should not bother it. He receives only sneer from his cousin for this and as the Dursleys loose interested and move on, Harry apologizes to the snake. To his surprise it seems to stir and understand what he is saying.
At this moment Williams’ music stirs to life as well, small triangle opening the piece with a single sharp glint, high register strings tremoloing expectantly and oboe presenting a shy but curious melodic phrase. Celesta and string pizzicati express Harry’s further amazement, a hopeful little motif rising upwards as he asks what the snake’s home country and family are like. When the boy notices that the snake was bred in captivity and remarks that they both are orphans a somber celli section captures this realization in melancholy tones.
Now Dudley spots the python moving and shoves Harry aside to oggle at the reptile, calling his parents to see. As Harry casts an angry glance at Dudley, who is now pressed nose against the glass in excitement, the orchestra animates. A sparkle of a mark tree at 0:44 announces a moment of magic when Dudley finds that the pane has miraculously vanished and he plunges head first into the snake habitat’s pool. Rhythmic string figures dance and woodwinds follow as we hear the first rendition of the A phrase of the Flying theme rearing its head to make a humorous comment on the situation, the music bubbling with mirth and mischievous magic, celestra, flutes and bassoons particularly expressive here as the snake escapes, causing a panic. Dudley who thinks it is safe to climb out of the pool now notices the the glass pane is back in place, his baffled look and the magical transformation captured in the A phrase of Hedwig’s theme performed by the horn section, the rhythmic woodwinds continuing their comical stance, underscoring aunt Petunia’s panic and Harry’s amused expression. This is counteracted by a sharp low burst from tuba and double basses when uncle Vernon gives the boy a withering look which does not promise anything good.
The rhythmic quirky woodwind writing derived from the A phrase of the Flying theme continues when the family gets back home. Vernon is furious and demands to know what happened, Harry protesting, saying that it was like magic. Uncle does not believe him stating that “There is no such thing as magic!” while shoving him into his cupboard under the staircase. And as if to prove him wrong Williams’ score continues with a strings, woodwinds and celesta reading of A phrase of Hedwig’s theme which repeats twice when on the next day an owl lands on the chimney at Privet Drive and we see Harry picking up the day’s mail and finding a letter addressed to him among it. As he walks to the kitchen the string section winds down from its playful sewsawing figures to an expectant ending on celli.
Soundtrack Album VS Film Cue
This piece is presented heavily edited and combined with cue 1M5 Mail Delivery, on the Original soundtrack album under the title Visit to the Zoo - Letters from Hogwarts.
4. Don't Burn My Letter (1M4) - 2:04 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 3)
Clear flutes open the cue as the baffled Dursley family looks at Harry’s letter with concern and first the double basses and celli perform a rhythmic motif that is again derived from the opening of the A phrase of the Flying theme, almost like an unanswered question, stopped horns then joining in and adding their weight to the matter, the flute section continuing their searching melodic line as the family seems to contemplate what this could possibly mean. And so the letters start arriving, first in ones, then in threes and then by the bundle, a muted trombone phrase and triangle transitioning into a reading of the A phrase of Hedwig’s theme on strings and celesta as we see owls and letters arriving. This is cut short by a short bassoon interlude, pizzicato section on violins, violas and celli underscoring the comical moment of uncle Vernon nailing the mail box of the front door shut so there can’t be anymore letters by that way to Harry.
When owls are getting unusually numerous and near all-pervasive on the Dursleys’ front yard and too much for Vernon’s and Petunia’s liking the B section of Hedwig’s theme on french horns accompanied by the playful seesawing string and flute motif makes it plain something supernatural is happening on Privet Drive and magic is in the air. Bassoon lines once again flow from the string material and as uncle Vernon is burning Harry’s letters with certain degree of glee, a slightly ominous cold string melody is heard but the quick bassoon and oboe duet which ends the piece promises a spectacular end to Dursleys’ obstinance and Harry’s ordeal.
5. Mail Delivery (1M5)- 1:39 (OST track 4 Visit to the Zoo - Letters from Hogwarts 1:49-end. HP JWSC CD 1 track 4 Letters from Hogwarts)
And what follows is one of Williams’ self professed favourite scenes from the film and a major musical moment where the main theme receives its most expansive reading thusfar. After boarding up the house completely the Dursleys and Harry sit inside on a fine Sunday, uncle Vernon gloatingly happy while he is drinking his tea when Harry answers his question, why is Sunday the best day of the week, and confirms that there is no post on Sundays. Just as Vernon happily repeats Harry’s answer a dull rumble fills the room and down the chimney and out of the fire place sails a lonely letter straight into his face. At that moment music opens slowly to an extended reading of Hedwig’s theme in its entirety, first gently on celesta, the strings and woodwinds soon joining the orchestration, weaving up-and-down patterns heard in the previous cue, the seesawing string motif playfully anticipatory.
As more letters start billowing from the fire place and break through the mail slot, air filling with sealed envelopes, the music continues to build and with glissandi from harp and billowing swishes of suspended cymbal, the whole orchestra, bolstered finally with the weight of the brass section, rises to the magical waltz melody of Hedwig’s theme. In the midst of the theme Williams cleverly uses the flutes to present bird call like flourishes to subconsciously tie the music to the avians that carry the letters. And with a quick winding melodic phrase the celesta, strings and woodwinds bring the cue to a finish as Harry, still deprived of his letter is whisked away by uncle Vernon into his cupboard, the final shot of light going out underscored by a rising flute and celesta figure and a thump of single double bass pizzicato note.
6. The Beach and the Arrival of Hagrid (2M1) - 1:22 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 5 Harry's Wish and Hagrid's Entrance)
A gloomy rendition of the B phrase of Hedwig’s theme on horns and high strings underscores an establishing shot of a small cabin in a raging storm on a forlorn islet somewhere on the coast of Britain. It is here that Dursley’s in their desperation have escaped the owls and their magical letters.
It is midnight and the family is sound asleep but Harry, who is still awake and remembers that it’s now his birthday, draws happy wishes to himself in the dust on the floor, the wistful and sad moment underscored by the score’s first appearance of Harry’s/Family Theme on oboe and flute backed by strings clearly stating our protagonist’s wish escape his current life and his feeling of isolation.
This moody rumination is interrupted by an eruption from the french horns, tuba and trombones, the brass belting out deep ponderous chords as the woodwinds scream and skitter in fright in the background when the door of the ramshackle house first shakes and creaks violently as if someone was beating it down and is then literally hoisted from it is hinges and something emerges from the lightning wreathed night. The Dursleys wake up and cower in fear, uncle Vernon waving a shotgun at the intruder. Woodwinds continue their wild flailing as horns blast staggered bursts while the piccolos deftly insert a quick quote of the B phrase of Hedwig’s theme into the chaos subtly informing us that magic might be at work. Deep and dramatic rhythmic brass exclamations continue as the towering figure steps slowly in, the music reaching a crescendo as the tall, large creature is revealed to be Hagrid.
In the Making
The first 25 seconds of opening transitional Hedwig’s theme material was not used in the film and the film makers let the sound effects of storm and waves usher us to the island instead. In the film the music opens with Harry’s theme as we see him forlorn on the floor drawing on the dust.
The half giant nonchalantly apologizes for knocking down the door and starts to fix the situation. Vernon is livid and orders him to leave but Hagrid just bends the barrel of his shotgun into a twist and sits down. He then reveals to Harry that he is to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the boy listening astonished. Then comes the greatest revelation as he announces
7. You're a Wizard, Harry (2M2) - 3:29 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 6)
As Hagrid tells the truth a delicate but clear rendition of B phrase of Hedwig’s theme is heard on tremoloing high strings, assorted woodwinds and solo celesta, the music offering hushed astonishment at the revelation. Airy woodwinds and strings present a curious searching melody derived from Hedwig’s theme and the seesawing string material that often accompanies it. Hagrid continues his story, Dursleys protesting and Harry listening intently, and finally he hands Harry the mysterious letter that has been trailing Dursleys and him for days and Harry reads his invitation to Hogwarts. A warm melody of Hogwarts’ Theme on stately strings with woodwinds adding slightly comic effect appears to announce the school’s proud and noble heritage.
As Dursleys protest and deny Harry a chance to attend this school and Harry learns that his mother and father died in an explosion and not a car crash as he was led to believe, colder and darker up and down winding woodwind and string underscore, much like the one used for Dursleys in the previous cues, appears adding tension to the dialogue. When Hogwarts’ Keeper of Grounds mentions Albus Dumbledore as the finest headmaster the school has ever had Hogwarts’ Theme echoes his statement in hymn style that once again gains a slight mock serious tone from woodwinds and double basses.
Vernon Dursley then makes the mistake of insulting Dumbledore and Hagrid grows all the more irritated by the Muggles. Tremoloing strings kindle as he glares at Dursleys but suddenly he gets an idea and aims his umbrella/magic wand at Dudley who is gorging himself on the birthday cake that the half-giant had brought Harry. With a glimmer of celesta and strings Dudley sprouts a pig tail, the parents panicking and frightening the boy, starting to run around the hut, A phrase of Hedwig’s theme on strings dancing mischievously around the scene.
As Hagrid looks at his watch and starts to depart, a bright and optimistic string backed oboe and flute melody rises in the orchestra and when Harry follows his gigantic guide out of the door, they are off to London, the happy turn of events and transitional shot underscored by breezy Harry’s theme on strings, celesta and brass as his life has taken a sudden turn for the better.
In the Making
In the film only parts of this cue are used. The opening Hedwig’s theme and the the following dialogue underscore (0:00-0:50) are in place but when Harry receives the letter a short passage of Hedwig’s theme is tracked in place of the Hogwart’s theme. The music for the subsequent dialogue (1:00-2:20) about Harry’s past is dialed out as is the second rendition of Hogwarts’ theme as Hagrid praises Dumbledore. The music then continues as written when Hagrid threatens the Dursleys and plays out all the way to the end of the cue as intended (2:21-end).
8. The Wizard's Pub (2M3) - 1:10 (HP JWSC CD 3 track 11 The Leaky Cauldron)
Harry and Hagrid arrive to London and make their way through the city to find school supplies for Harry. To the boy’s puzzlement they enter an old pub which seems to be frequented only by witches and wizards.
Williams presents here a short piece of diegetic source music emanating from some shadowy corner of the establishment. Mandolin, 2 part percussion (cymbal played with a brush) and accordion (or musette) form a wizardly trio that provides off-kilter entertainment in the form a folksy, sea shanty styled melody. The piece ends abruptly in the middle of a phrase as the whole pub is ushered into an awed silence when Hagrid mentions Harry’s name to Tom, the proprietor of the Leaky Cauldron. To Harry’s further astonishment a number of pub patrons seem to know him by name and reputation.
Williams’ cue was written to end suddenly and trail off. This is perhaps the less used practice since in general diegetic source music is written out in full and as rounded pieces and then edited to conform to the needs of the film. And in this case only the ending of the piece is used in the film.
On the Harry Potter: John Williams Soundtrack Collection the ending of this piece of source music is faded out before its abrupt ending, probably with the listening experience in mind.
9. Diagon Alley (2M4) - 4:36 (OST track 5 Diagon Alley and The Gringotts Vault 1:15-end. HP JWSC CD 1 track 7 Diagon Alley and The Gringotts Vault (Extended Version)) Hagrid then takes baffled Harry to the empty back alley of the pub where they stop in front of a brick wall. The half giant taps several bricks with his umbrella and the wall parts to reveal a strange and exotic wizardly shopping district of Diagon Alley magically tucked away in the heart of London. As the wall disappears an airy rendition of A phrase of Hedwig’s theme dances on woodwinds and strings with gossamer harp glissandi adding their magic to the moment of revelation. Mark tree shimmers and strings take up a seesawing boisterous rhythm that leads suddenly into a lively recorder solo. The theme for Diagon Alley has a slightly Baroque and folk tune feel in its melody and instrumentation, the recorder, tambourine and fiddle on top of the orchestral sounds propelling Harry through the marvels of the shopping district and the throng of people all dressed in colorful wizardly garb. The score adds a whimsical, awed and a quirky comment on the surroundings and bestows a unique coloring to the scene.
A flute led melody that whirls under a veil of all kinds of orchestral chimes announces their arrival to the imposing but slightly askew facade of Gringotts Bank where Hagrid has some business to attend to. As he names the bank a horn fanfare adds a touch of stately weight to his statement and the music continues rich and warm as they enter the chandeliered main hall. Soon the mood turns probing when Harry spots Goblins handling the banking, a solo oboe line in a bed of slowly paced pizzicato strings peering curiously over the scene, joined by other woodwinds.
Hagrid states his business and darker colours appear in the music, a rising and falling string motif hinting at mystery, the ominous music also scoring Harry’s close encounter with the Goblin clerk whose suspicious visage frightens him. As Hagrid produces Harry’s vault key a small hint of Hedwig’s theme on chimes appears which is followed by ominous low brass and strings when the half giant hands the clerk a letter from Dumbledore. The Goblin takes a glance at it, with tremoloing strings and a clear eerie flute solo making its significance clear, and allows them entrance to the vault with the previously heard mysterious up-and-down string motif returning briefly.
Down in the underground vaults a rhythmic woodwind, brass and string idea derived from the preceding mystery motif underscores the duo and the Goblin clerk opening Harry’s vault. All of a sudden a new thematic idea appears as our protagonist peers inside, baffled by how he suddenly has such a pile of money of his own. Interestingly Williams introduces here the 3-note incarnation of Philosopher’s Stone motif on flute over the glinting shimmer of a mark tree as Harry sees his fortune. Perhaps here the composer draws a connection between the gold and the power of the legendary stone to turn base substances into gold but it also works as a precursor to the music of the following scene.
Horn takes over the 3-note variation of the Philosopher Stone motif as the trio arrives at vault 713 where Hagrid claims a small parcel. The 3 notes build and build and gain melodramatic weight, choir adding an icy and fateful tone and ominous significance to the small package in a very operatic way.
In the Making
In the film the opening of the cue remains intact until 0:16 when Diagon Alley is revealed. In the place of the specifically written thematic material for recorder, tambourine and fiddle the film makers used a festive march from a later cue Entry to the Great Hall (3M5) (0:56-end) that underscores the whole promenade through the district up until the reveal of the Gringotts Bank where the original cue with its horn fanfare returns. Further in the scene the original cue is dialed out just as Harry and Hagrid are going to go down to the vaults (2:47) and the rhythmic motif for their vault opening activities is left unheard. The score returns when Harry sees his fortune in the vault (3:22) and continues as written to the end of the scene.
The opening of this cue was also revised a number of times during the recording sessions with several attempts at recording an insert for the Baroque/Medieval section and the fiddle solo but sadly in the end the whole passage was discarded in the film.
Soundtrack Album VS Film Cue The OST version of the music is a curious hybrid of its own. The opening of the film cue for the disappearing wall is omitted and the Diagon Alley material at the beginning of the track (0:00-1:16) is derived from the Children’s Suite movement of the same name, not the film cue. The film cue continues at 1:17 with the last flourishes before the Gringotts horn fanfare and continues to the end as written. It could be speculated that the composer thought that the film take on the Diagon Alley material was not striking enough so he used the Suite movement instead which does contain a considerably slower and more developed statement of the material.
10. Harry Gets His Wand (2M5) - 2:04 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 8) Harry looks at his shopping list for his first year and the only thing remaining is a wand. Hagrid points him to Ollivander’s, the most famous wand seller in the world. As Hagrid goes off to settle some business Harry enters the Dickensian looking shop alone. He encounters the owner Mr. Ollivander (John Hurt) who proceeds to find him a suitable wand. After a few failed attempts that send things flying and shatter a vase he comes across one particular wand while rummaging between the shelves. As he states his musings out loud the music opens with a slight string tremolo. A delicate lilting celesta waltz full of magic and mystery, a close cousin to Hedwig’s theme melody, dances forth as Ollivander hands the magical artefact to Harry. When he grasps it a women’s choir rises and falls in waltz time celebrating the moment as the wand seems to accept Harry and he is surrounded for a brief moment by a nimbus of light. Ollivander seems impressed and dismayed at the same time, the celesta melody repeated by a solo cor anglais with a string backing as he starts to explain the history of the wand.
As he mentions that it had a twin with a phoenix feather inside it and it was the one that gave Harry his scar, Voldemort Revealed sounds out for the first time in the low snarling brass and sinister woodwinds wedded now with the earlier celesta melody and the wicked sounding theme is repeated in the same malicious manner as the wand maker says that the owner of the twin wand, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, did also great things, great but terrible, and that he expects great things from Harry as well. But the evil Voldemort Revealed melody is dispelled almost as soon as it has appeared when Harry sees Hagrid through the window holding up a cage with a white snowy owl the music lightening up with strings, flutes and triangle climbing up to end in a joyous trill when the half-giant wishes Harry a happy birthday.
11. Hagrid's Flashback (3M1) - 2:52 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 9) With the shopping finally done Harry and Hagrid sit around a table in the Leaky Cauldron and Harry braves a question about his past from Hagrid and asks how his parents died. A somber passage for flute and strings plays out as Hagrid, a bit emotional, begins his tale, Harry’s/Family theme blossoming into a gentle oboe reading, once again reminding us of his past and his longing for a family. This warmth is short lived as a solo clarinet takes the melody to a sudden reading of Voldemort Revealed on tenebrous horns, the strings and celesta playing skittering seesawing passages underneath when Hagrid reminisces how Voldemort attacked the Potters. In this flashback a hooded figure attacks Lily Potter and baby Harry and the strings and chimes rise threateningly, clarinet crying in upper register and low menacing brass and woodwinds with a sheen of synthesized choir presenting a slow reading of Voldemort’s Evil that grows stronger, now bedecked with harp and string figures. Here Williams interestingly links Voldemort to woodwinds, the often mentioned reptilian nature of the villain connected with the composer’s most common instrumental section to depict such creatures in his scores.
The Voldemort material subsides for a brief moment as celesta and flutes create sympathy for Harry but soon the deep and dark orchestrations returns when Voldemort is mentioned once more, Voldemort Revealed crawling slowly to the fore again on horns and tremoloing strings when Hagrid tells Harry that he thinks Voldemort still lives. The half-giant adds that Harry by some miracle survived when his parents did not and also defeated the Dark Lord, earning himself the lightning shaped scar in the process and the name, A Boy Who Lived, the revelation eliciting a melancholic but sympathetic reading of the B phrase of Hedwig’s theme on celesta that quietly but ominously ends in low tremoloing celli and basses, adding a hint of grim mystery and magic to Harry’s past.
In the Making In the film the opening of the cue with the statement of Harry’s Theme and the first appearance of Voldemort Revealed were dialed out, the music opening at 1:18 as we see Voldemort entering the Potters’ house.
12. Platform Nine and Three Quarters (3M2)- 2:38 (OST track 6 Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters and Journey to Hogwarts 0:00-1:10. HP JWSC CD 1 track 10) Hagrid is off to see Dumbledore and leaves Harry at King’s Cross Station and hands him a ticket that says 9 ¾. As the half-giant disappears as if by magic the boy is left to fend on his own and to find the mysterious platform. Luckily he hears talk of Muggles and follows a family of red headed children in hopes of finding the right way to the train.
A bouncy little march on woodwinds and brass underscores the Weasley family arriving at the magical wall where three of them disappear while Harry looks on in amazement the music catching his unbelieving blink and shaking of the head with a triangle and woodwind trill. The same good-natured little march continues as Mrs. Weasley (Julie Walters) gently directs the boy to the wall and a rising string and chime phrase underscores him approaching the brick wall with his trolley, A phrase of Hedwig’s Theme on celesta depicting magic at work. Another gradually rising woodwind and high register string phrase plunges Harry through the wall and to the other side onto a platform hidden from Muggles, the orchestra blossoming into a grand and regal horn fanfare for the shot of Hogwarts Express train as our main character marvels yet another miracle of the wizarding world.
The shot of the most unusual platform number on the sign is captured by a playful off-kilter waltz figure that quickly flows into a full string and woodwind reading of Hedwig’s theme as we see the Express on its way to Hogwarts through green meadows and forests and as Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) appears at the cabin door and the slightly awkward waltz figure returns, the music fading slowly in deep strings while Harry invites him in.
13. Escaping Frog (3M3) - 0:44 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 11 Chocolate Frog Escapes)
Williams provides a short musical interlude in the train as a chocolate frog makes its sudden escape from its wrapper and jumps out of the window. High tremoloing strings, flutes and glimmer of the mark tree capture the frogs movements. Woodwind led light and humorous orchestral underscore continues as Harry notes the collectible Dumbledore card and Ron presents his pet rat Scabbers, music ending just as Hermione (Emma Watson) appears at the compartment door.
14. Arrival at Hogwarts (3M4) - 1:57(OST track 6 Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters and Journey to Hogwarts 1:11-end. HP JWSC CD 1 track 12 The Journey to Hogwarts)
The Hogwarts Express finally arrives to its destination, tolling tubular bells and triangle heralding the train’s appearance through the night to the Hogwarts’ stop, A phrase of Hedwig’s theme playing on lonely celesta over tremoloing strings that have a hint of suspense about them but the nervous excitement is dispelled by the appearance of Hagrid who is waiting for the 1st year students on the platform and hurries them along to the tune of a warm and slightly comic orchestral passage highlighting woodwinds and tuba.
At this point the film opens up to a magnificent wide shot of the 1st year students in small boats floating towards the Hogwarts castle that looms above them in the night beautifully lit and Williams allows the score to blossom into a majestic and broad statement of the B phrase of Hedwig’s theme with flutes and up-and-down surging string figures building under the dramatic wordless women’s choir, the brass section eventually adding their magnificent burnished voice to the performance as the children approach the castle. Hedwig’s Theme is soon overtaken by a small festive welcoming march for the orchestra, the clear heraldic trumpets accompanied by all kinds of sparkling instrumental colours, glockenspiel, marimba, triangles and sleigh bells among them, expressing awe and giddy anticipation in equal measure, making also a subtle connection to the festive melodies of the following cues.
Suddenly the atmosphere changes as we see a shot of a hand on a balustrade, the music presenting a slight red herring as a sinuous solo violin line with subtle harp trills appears when the children encounter professor McGonagall and she proceeds to instruct them in precise and no-nonsense fashion. Here Williams presents a small nod to the idea of witch’s fiddle and scores the scene through the children’s eyes who obviously think she is a bit frightening with her frowning face and sharp stare.
15. Entry Into the Great Hall (3M5)- 1:48 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 13 Through the Doors)
As McGonagall proceeds into the Great Hall to prepare it for their arrival, the children are left unsupervised for a few moments. A rather vain and proud looking boy with platinum blond hair recognizes Harry and introduces himself as Draco Malfoy and without a pause goes on to belittle Ron Weasley’s poor family. He would also like to make friends with the Boy Who Lived extending his hand to our protagonist. Deep brass and strings give a musical hint that this boy is perhaps not the best company, woodwinds sounding troubled and apprehensive, descending phrases on bass clarinets joined by a warning nasal sound of cor anglais. This brief tense moment passes as McGonagall returns to interrupt the boys and deep string tones climbing slowly up into the next passage as she leads the 1st years into the Great Hall.
With anticipation the orchestra bursts into a new melodic idea, part jaunty part regal festive march (naturally marked alla marcia in the score). The Theme for the Great Hall is full of pageantry, capturing the sumptuous surroundings of the ensorcelled grand hall of the school. Chimes, sleigh bells bell tree triangles and glockenspiels join the orchestra in celebration as the mischievous march ushers Harry and his friends to the back of the hall where the Sorting Ceremony is to take place. Williams continues here the warm and luminous orchestrations of the previous arrival cues, embellishing the melodies with the sparkling sounds of the above mentioned instruments to achieve a welcoming atmosphere of awe and wonderment.
In the Making
The opening 20 seconds have been dialed out in the film, the music coming in as Malfoy extends his hand to Harry.
16. House Selection (3M6) - 3:28 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 14)
With a twirl of flutes and pensive clarinet solo the sorting ceremony starts as McGonagall raises the Sorting Hat. Strings rise tentatively to an oboe and clarinet duet presenting a brief variation of the A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme as Hermione is sorted to Gryffindor, the choice earning a recorder and orchestral chimes and bells rendition of the Great Hall Theme. As Draco steps under the hat dark woodwind and lower string chords and gloomy horns announce his allegiance to Slytherin but also continue to underscore a dark stare between Harry and Severus Snape across the hall. Something is not quite right here. This moment of uneasiness is interrupted by a slightly comical little melody as Ron Weasley is sorted, his obvious nervousness captured by the light tremoloing upper strings that quickly flow to a relieved rendition of the Hogwarts Theme on the same recorder and chimes that just welcomed Hermione, here the theme representing Gryffindor for the first time.
Now it is Harry’s turn to be sorted. Nervous yet light orchestrations usher him under the Sorting Hat when a rather reptilian clarinet solo, cold strings and harp appear out of the blue, illustrating both Harry’s fear of ending in Slytherin and the suspense of the important moment. Rising flute figures underline the magical artefact’s deliberations but it is finally swayed by Harry’s fervent wish and as it announces its verdict the joyous Hogwarts Theme again on recorder and all kinds of chimes rejoices with the Gryffindor house that they have received such a famous student into their ranks.
17. The Banquet (4M1) - 3:40 (OST track 7 Entry Into The Great Hall and The Banquet. HP JWSC CD 1 track 15 Entry Into The Great Hall and The Banquet)
Professor Dumbledore announces “Let the feast begin!” and with these words a magnificent banquet appears on the tables of the Great Hall. Likewise the music bursts to life, Williams spinning another festive march which underscores the opulent scene with trumpet solos, warm brass, pizzicato strings and orchestral chimes of all description coloring the proceedings. Here the tone is much in line with the previous cues, offering a happy and light atmosphere to the scene and arrival at Hogwarts, but adding a hint of humour to the lighthearted discussion of the students.
An orchestral flourish at 0:50 announces Nearly Headless Nick’s arrival through the table, scaring Ron, and an appropriately ghostly and ethereal women’s choir scores the arrival of the house ghosts of Hogwarts. Comedic light strings colour the conversation with Sir Nicholas and as Hermione innocently asks how he can be called Nearly-Headless, the ghost shows them, the flutes offering a quick ascending phrase as he, to the dismay of the girl, gives a view of his nearly severed neck.
After the feast Hogwarts Theme on stalwart horns with woodwind punctuations ushers Gryffindors out of the Great Hall and into the Moving Stairs, the magical contraption earning an ethereal swell from the orchestra. Hogwarts Theme continues good natured and welcoming on strings as the students pass through the portrait gallery and finally to the Gryffindor House tower where Percy, Ron Weasley's older brother, a prefect student of Gryffindor, gives the password to the portrait of the Fat Lady and as the door opens the piece ends with a slight flourish from flutes and strings.
In the Making
In the film this cue appears in slightly edited form, removing a darker section at 1:31-1:54 which was to underscore Harry feeling a sudden burning sensation on his scar as Severus Snape gives him a dark look. In the cue as recorded and on soundtrack album the piece can be heard in its full form.
18. Lonely First Night (4M2) – 1:05 (Unused, HP JWSC CD 1 track 16)
Next we see Harry in the night time settled on a window sill of the Gryffindor dormitory with Hedwig at his side, looking contently out of the window. Williams weaves a graceful and thoughtful clarinet and harp duet supported by delicate chimes for this calm moment that melts gently to a flute and oboe rendition of Harry’s Theme, expressing his quiet joy. For the following transitional shot of Hogwarts Castle in the morning light the composer offers a rich and noble brass and string reading of Hogwarts Theme, here further augmented by the majestic sound of tubular bells as Harry and Ron are seen hurrying to class.
In the Making
In the film this piece went unused, replaced by tracked music from 9M2 Leaving Hogwarts. Interestingly the film makers still used a cue that utilized Harry’s Theme for the scene although they were obviously going for a more openly emotional rendition of it than what is presented in the original cue. This material from the opening of Leaving Hogwarts is edited into the last few seconds of the original piece in the film as Harry and Ron arrive to McGonagall’s class.
19. Mail Drop (4M3) - 1:32 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 17 The Daily Prophet)
The next morning as the trio of new friends is eating breakfast the mail arrives, carried by owls of every description. Trilling flutes, celesta, swirling harp and triangle accompany their descent from the windows, with muted trumpets and clarinet offering support underneath, performing Hedwig’s Theme, conjuring a light whimsical mood. The orchestrations here provide a subtle connection to the previous owl scenes in the film, the fluttering flutes especially similar in their portrayal of these avians. Strings join the proceedings as part of Hedwig’s Theme and the same light and positive orchestrations for the whole ensemble continue as Ron receives a news paper, the Daily Prophet, which Harry opens and begins to read. A solo clarinet performs a short melodic line which ends in a sudden trill as he finds out that there has been a break in at Gringotts last night. The B phrase of Hedwig’s Theme rises uneasily on muted trumpets and queasy rising and falling high strings when the trio expresses their suspicions about it. Harry mentions that he had just been there with Hagrid and a low croak of woodwinds and the final deep note of the double basses transitions to the next scene with a sense of foreboding.
20. Mr. Longbottom Flies (4M4) - 3:32 (OST track 8 Mr. Longbottom Flies. HP JWSC CD 1 track 18 Mr. Longbottom Flies)
The first lesson of the day is flying under the tutelage of Madam Hooch. The pupils are just practicing the control of their broomsticks when Neville Longbottom looses control and is whisked off to the sky. The cue starts as the boy begins to rise alarmingly higher from the ground, tremoloing strings and harp subtly building tension, cor anglais, oboes and trumpets opening into an almost formal statement of the A Phrase of the Flying Theme, strings and celesta joining them as the boy takes to the air. Swirling orchestrations speed up alarmingly, muted horns, pinched and panicked trumpets and cymbal crashes follow his unfortunate flight through the training grounds, the fall from the broom and getting caught on a spear of a roof top statue and finally toppling down to the ground via a torch bracket that catches his cloak in midway and partially dampens his fall. A downward surge of violins, lower strings and harp catch this last plunge, tense timpani pounding a steady rhythm quietly adding a sense of danger to the moment.
As Madam Hooch inspects the boy, a relieved but a subdued reading of Hogwarts Theme lets us know that Neville will survive, clarinets ghosted by other woodwinds, the celli and basses underscoring Hooch’s last stern instructions before she departs to escort Neville to the hospital wing. There is to be no flying before she gets back.
At 1:40 a new section starts as Malfoy, who found Neville’s Remebral, a magical bauble, on the ground where he had dropped it in the commotion, steps on his broom and decides to play a cruel trick on the Gryffindor student by hiding the ball somewhere high up in the castle. Harry comes to the defense of his fellow Gryffindor and demands the sphere back. A chase ensues and rapidly tremoloing strings backed by deep trombones presage a dramatic horn reading of the A Phrase of the Flying Theme as the two boys take to the sky. The theme flows into a tension filled full orchestra reading of the
B Phrase of the Flying Theme that underscores their exchange in the air, the strings swirling majestically underneath.
Malfoy refuses to give in, and instead of giving the remebral to Harry, throws it away with a sneer. The tension mounts as Harry speeds after it, the surging string lines of the B Phrase, like the wind swirling around Harry, culminating in a blazing brass led reading of the A Phrase of the Flying Theme as our protagonist saves the ball just before they both hit the castle wall, right under McGonagall's window. As he descends in triumph to meet a cheering group of Gryffindors the magnificent reading of the B Phrase of the Flying Theme celebrates his success by ascending higher and higher in poignant lyricism but is suddenly silenced by the approaching dour looking McGonagall, the moment underscored by deep brass notes from tuba and horns. She bids Harry to follow her much to the amusement of the Slytherins but the musical air clears as they walk through the corridors, clarinet with woodwind and string accompaniment quoting briefly but reassuringly the Hogwarts Theme as McGonagall and Harry arrive at the door of Professor Quirrel’s class room.
In the Making The Hogwarts Theme that underscored Madam Hooch inspecting Neville was dialed out of the film, the music continuing as Malfoy and Harry begin their aerial chase. Also the second rendition of Hogwarts Theme as McGonagall and Harry walk through the school was left unscored and the music ends at 3:05 in the film. This was probably done to give the audience a few moments of trepidation for Harry’s fate which the Hogwarts Theme might have dispelled with its generally optimistic tone.
McGonagall to Harry’s relief takes him only to meet Oliver Wood who is the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and announces that she has found him a Seeker. It appears Harry’s flying skills earn him the place of a Seeker, a player in the Gryffindor house team for Quidditch, a peculiar wizard ball game played while flying on broomsticks. And soon everyone knows that the Boy Who Lived will be on the team, the youngest player in a century.
21. The Moving Stairs (4M5) - 1:57 (OST track 9 Hogwarts Forever! and the Moving Stairs 1:55-end. HP JWSC CD 1 track 19)
As Ron still marvels Harry’s flying skills and acceptance to the team Hermione in know-it-all fashion announces that it is in his blood and takes the pair to an old awards cabinet where on a shield stands proudly James Potter, Seeker, meaning that Harry’s father was also a Quidditch player. Harry’s proud and amazed look at the gilded award plaque earns a warm horn reading of the Hogwarts Theme with synth celestra backing, expressing both house pride and personal connection Harry feels to the school and even more importantly a connection to the past and his parents.
Celli and basses transition our trio to the stairwell of the Moving Stairs, ghostly women’s choir, ascending flute phrases and harp creating an eerie magical atmosphere with a hint of danger. Suddenly our heroes realize that they are lost, stairs having deposited them in a wrong corridor which is bleak and black, the score taking a dark turn as the Philosopher’s Stone motif on flutes and edgy violins materializes to greet them, offering a quiet hint of their location.
Hermione soon puzzles it out and exclaims in horror that they are on the forbidden 3rd floor and cold synthetic choir effects, tam tam scraped with metal stick and skittering strings enhance the gloomy revelation, bassoons and bass clarinets joining in and repeating the Philosopher’s Stone motif ever more ponderously.
At 0:54 quick piano notes and tremoloing high strings cut the ruminations of the three friends short as Filch’s cat, Ms. Norris appears, announcing that the ill-tempered and malevolent caretaker of the castle can’t be far behind, inducing panic and as the children run through the dark hall in fear of getting caught in the forbidden area of the school rhythmic strings and muted snarling horns and trombones propel them forward as much as express their anxiety. Finally they arrive at a door which is locked, Harry trying desperately to open it to no avail but suddenly Hermione steps forward decisively and casts an opening spell and the woodwinds flow into a bell tree enhanced statement of the A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme to comment on the magic happening on-screen. Just as the trio has closed the door behind them the A Phrase is repeated, now cold and uninviting on low brass and high whining strings as Filch arrives to inspect the now empty corridor but as he departs empty handed the piece winds down with tense brass and string chords.
Soundtrack Album VS Film Cue
On the soundtrack album Williams presents the whole Moving Stairs sequence but combines the cue with music from the Children’s Suite, a piece called Hogwarts Forever, scored for French horns, basically a long development of the Hogwarts Theme, which is heard on the OST in its entirety as well. This is another example of how music is moulded into the soundtrack experience the composer wants to create for the listeners.
The encounter with the three headed dog behind the door is left unscored and the children escape at the last minute after waking the gigantic canine, shutting the door just in time before it can get out.
22 . It's Guarding Something 4M6 (Rev.) - 0:34 (Unused, HP JWSC CD 2 track 11 Neville Stiffens 0:19-end)
Harry, Ron and Hermione get back to the Gryffindor tower after meeting a three headed dog behind the locked door, all three shaken by the experience but Hermione worrying more about expulsion from the school than the life danger they were just in. She also points out to Ron that the creature was obviously guarding something. Here rising and falling low string harmonies quickly flow into a woodwind and horn rendition of A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme that is subtly ghosted by synth celesta, the music posing a question which is left ominously unanswered.
In the Making
This cue went completely unused in the film, Hermione’s pondering left unscored entirely. Williams apparently wrote two versions of the short cue of which there is the evidence in the sheet music as the title on cue sheet is marked Rev. (= revised).
The Harry Potter: John Williams Soundtrack Collection combines this short piece with another unused cue Troll in the Dungeon! into a single piece titled Neville Stiffens, which also happens to be the scene this unused piece of music was partially tracked to in the finished film.
23. Introduction to Quidditch (4M7) - 1:29 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 20)
Next Harry tries to get his bearings on Quidditch with Oliver Wood and the older boy explains the different equipment and rules involved in the game. When he releases one of the Bludgers, a small magically self propelling ball, that try to harass the players during the game, and it flies off into the air solemn horns and trombones underscore Harry’s attentive gaze. Ascending women’s voices, ethereal alto flutes, fast violin figures and celesta underscore the upward flight of the ball and the orchestration is further enhanced by busy low woodwinds and assorted brass for Harry’s succesful hit of the Bludger with a club as it hurtles back down towards him through the air. Celesta and bell tree introduce him to the Golden Snitch, a ball that Harry as the Seeker is supposed to catch, Williams creating with flutes and trilling high strings an atmosphere of light and airy marvel as the golden bauble unravels its wings in his hand and jumps into the air.
24. Hermione's Feather (5M1) - 0:40 ( HP JWSC CD 1 track 21)
This short cue underscores a lesson under Professor Flitwick as Hermione succesfully levitates a feather. Williams’ music catches the movements of the feather with high register ghostly violins, mark tree twinkle and celesta as it rises into the air. As unfortunate Seamus Finnigan in his usual style makes the feather explode rueful horns, celesta and harp humorously comment on the situation and the smoldering feather.
25. Troll in the Dungeon (5M1X) - 0:22 (Unused, HP JWSC CD 2 track 11 0:00-0:18)
It is time for the Halloween party and all the students have gathered in the Great Hall (the shot of the hall featuring tracked statement of Hedwig’s Theme from 3M4 Arrival at Hogwarts) when Professor Quirrel suddenly bursts in to interup the feast, shouting for help as a troll is on the loose in the dungeons. After delivering this piece of news he promptly faints. String section provides rising menacing chords underpinned by low brass and woodwind colours, the piece abruptly ending in metallic rumble of deep notes from contrabassoons and clarinets, grand piano and cong rubbed with a mallet to enchance the of meaning Quirrel’s alarming message.
In the Making
This piece went entirely unused in the film and might have lent the scene a bit too heavy cast if it had been used.
26. Fighting the Troll (5M2) - 3:22 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 22)
Ron and Harry notice that Hermione is not in the Great Hall and soon find out that she was last seen in the girls’ toilets, where she had hidden upset as Ron had inadvertendly insulted her the previous morning. As the boys remember that the toilets are close to the dungeons, they hurry to rescue Hermione who they suspect is in danger. For their premonition tension filled contraclarinets and -bassoons, celli and double basses present a slow winding menacing melody which is joined by violins spinning a faster fateful sounding figure amidst the low end sounds, horns augmenting the suspense with determined blasts.
The pair flits through the corridors to rhythmic and agitated sounds of the woodwinds and nervous strings until at 0:36 ponderous chords blast from tuba, trombones and horns, scraped tam-tam adding its sizzling voice to this texture while violins and violas buzz in higher register and celli and basses augment the brass with sul ponticello effects, all underscoring the troll arriving to the toilets where Hermione is hiding. Now timpani and bass drum echo the brass blasts that capture the heavy set movement and terror of the creature and after a couple moments of tense near silence of subtly tremoloing strings the monster notices the girl who has hidden in one of the stalls. The club wielding mountain troll swings his weapon and the heavy plodding writing continues. Harry and Ron arrive at the scene and see Hermione scurrying for cover under the waterfountains as Williams’ sizzling music topples the toilet stalls in rhythmic bursts from different sections of the orchestra.
At 1:30 a new melodic action motif begins as Harry and Ron try to attract the attention of the enormous creature so that Hermione could get away. Despite its brassy orchestrations this motif is reminiscent of Williams Home Alone scores in its balletic dance-like charm. Brass section continues to perform this frantic and busy musical idea, containing a hint of Voldemort's Evil in its contours and thus subtly revealing the true source of the evil behind the scenes, as the boys do battle, all orchestral layers contributing to the mayhem, timpani setting a relentless drive. Williams gradually injects heroic brass into this rhythm, trumpets singing victoriously with crashing cymbals as Harry finally ends up on top of the creature and it tries to shake him off. Harp, chimes and celesta underscore with tense and luminous strings the moment when Ron succeeds in his levitation spell and saves Harry in the nick of time from ending up squashed by the troll’s club, sending the weapon floating into the air. Mark tree, high tremolo strings and solo piccolo color this moment of weightlessness, the A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme on celesta celebrating a succesful magical feat but soon the ungainly and frantic string figures drop the club on the head of the troll and the same dramatic brass blasts that announced its arrival now topple the monstrosity and send it out cold on the floor, string figures and clarinets taking their lurching notes from the brass and slowly fade into a relieved silence.
27. Nimbus 2000 (5M3) - 1:13 (HP JWSC CD 1 track 23 Owl Delivers Nimbus 2000)
It has come time for the first Quidditch match of the season and Harry sits with his friends at the breakfeast table feeling anxious and with lost appetite. Severus Snape the potions teacher who seems to hated Harry for some reason from day one passes by to offer a few scathing remarks, limping away oddly. Harry notices this and deduces that Snape set the troll loose in the dungeons as a diversion to get to the trap door guarded by the three headed dog and got bitten. His suspicions are enhanced by the fateful and menace of Philosopher’s Stone motif which is heard on eerie flutes, celli, violins and ghost-like synthesized voices as the trio ponders the meaning of these events.
But they don’t have time to concentrate on this puzzle because an owl appears carrying a parcel and drops it in Harry’s hand, Hedwig’s Theme sounding in its most traditional guise on celesta and strings, their seesawing michievousness intact. Our young hero is a bit perplexed as he never receives mail and when the three friends quickly unwrap the package it reveals a broomstick. Williams spins a new playful coda to Hedwig’s Theme extending the melodic line, mark tree sparkle and woodwinds leading to a brief but graceful oboe solo underscoring the revelation of broomstick’s name, Nimbus 2000, before elated string chords close the piece on a positive note, catching McGonagall’s reassuring smile to Harry from the teacher’s table, suggesting she must have a hand in supplying Harry with his broom. This leads immediately to
28. The Quidditch Match (5M4 Parts I-IV) (OST track 11 The Quidditch Match. HP JWSC CD 1 track 24)
This elaborate action sequence in the middle of the film runs for exciting and fast paced 8 and half minutes which is all punctuated by Williams colorful and energetic music. As per usual film scoring practice the whole scene was divided by Williams into smaller sections and recorded as separate cues at the recording sessions and then assembled editorially later into a full finished piece, which can be heard on the OST album as one unbroken track. This is common way to deal with long, complex and fast paced pieces of music which have to be recorded by the orchestra with very little preparation and rehearsal time. This is done to minimize the effects of possible mistakes and flubs made during the recording and this way a few imperfections in the performance do not mar the whole long sequence that would have been otherwise perfectly played. This recording practice also facilitates the whole process for the scoring crew in general.
Williams divided the Quidditch Match into four consecutive sections which will be analyzed separately here: a) Let the Games Begin (5M4 (Pt I)) – 2:12
A march on double basses and celli accompanied by a field drum evokes an atmosphere of determination, excitement and ceremony in almost military fashion as it ushers the Gryffindor team into their stall before the match. A woodwind led melody of equally militaristic nature colours Harry’s and Oliver Wood’s brief exchange before the gates are opened and the teams, Gryffindor and Slytherin, fly into the arena accompanied by glorious burst of pomp and circumstance, a bright and regal Quidditch Fanfare sounding on heraldic brass, trumpets first and foremost displaying their burnished splendour, all kinds of orchestral chimes, tambourine and cymbals creating a feel of grand spectacle. The rest of the orchestra joins in as the fanfare is taken over by the Hogwarts Theme, now triumphant and noble, dazzling with the Quidditch Fanfare’s orchestrations, Williams adding tremoloing strings and trilling woodwinds to inject the music with anticipation as the match is about to begin. Deep lean chords from celli and basses sound expectant as Madam Hooch throws the Quaffle into the air, the aforementioned woodwinds and strings rising to catch the movement of the Golden Snitch flying off into the air, the orchestra gathering strength and with a cymbal crash the game starts.
b) The Scoring Begins (5M4 (Pt II)) - 1:37
The match kicks open with a determined and energetic rendition of the A Phrase of the Flying Theme, strings performing similar figures that are found in the B Phrase of the theme underneath, cymbals crashing and woodwinds bubbling to support the action. Muscular and rhythmic brass section drives the daring flight and aerial exploits, complemented by the A Phrase of the Flying Theme that captures the wickedly fast game as opponents circle each other and fight for the ball, trying to score goals. Soon the score celebrates as the Gryffindor scores the first goal of the game, the Hogwarts Theme again performing its double duty as the Gryffindor Theme here, returning to the triumphant tones of the opening of the sequence as Angelina Johnson lands a goal. But soon the intense strings and brass drive the game forward and another cymbal crash transports the music to the third phase of the game.
c) Slytherin Scores (5M4 (Pt III)) - 2:26
Trumpets, crashing of cymbals and swirling harp glissandi continue fast and furious, steady string and brass rhythms propelling the teams, the Slytherin now gaining the upper hand, woodwinds adding panicky tones to the happenings. The pace of the music turns relentless as desperate Harry witnesses how his team mates are mauled one by one by the ruthless opponents, Williams’ orchestrations favouring high register woodwinds and strings in dazzlingly swirling and kinetic series of runs as brass and gradually growing percussion add constant weight and drive to the furious match taking place in mid-air.
Harry spots the Golden Snitch and begins to pursue it but suddenly shaky, sharp and nervous strings and percussion intervene, his broomstick getting suddenly out of control, shrill woodwinds, manic harp glissandi and alarmed horns all describing panic and trouble as Harry hangs on to his broom for dear life, the orchestra accenting the queasy movements of Nimbus 2000.
Hermione with her binoculars spots Snape on the other side of the arena, obviously casting a spell and keeping his eyes on Harry. She acts without delay and hurries to stop him before Harry gets hurt. Here from the erratic movement of the shrieking woodwinds, strings, harp and horns emerges suddenly a chilling musical motif, the theme of Voldemort’s Evil, which is performed by imperious brass, followed by flutes and clarinets over rhythmic pattern of double basses and eerily rising women’s choir, cymbals adding further weight and drama to the rendition. The composer hints at the true source of Harry’s troubles even though the Dark Lord is nowhere to be seen and at the same time the score offers a red herring about Snape and his allegiance. The theme is repeated twice while nervous and fast string figures speed Hermione to the spectator stand where Snape is apparently jinxing the broom, woodwinds performing a subtle variation of B Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme as she casts a fire charm on his cloak and sets in ablaze.
d) Harry's Great Victory (5M4 (Pt IV)) - 2:24
Trilling piccolos, alarmed brass and tubular bells evoke the panic that is started by the fire in the stand, Snape toppling a good number of people, Professor Quirrel among them, as he tries to stamp the fire out. Rising brass harmonies announce that Harry has gotten the control of his broom back and as he continues to battle the Slytherin Seeker and his pursuit of the Golden Snitch, the Quidditch Fanfare sounds heroically on trumpets again, fast paced string runs, forward hurtling brass fanfares and intensifying percussion add tension and momentum to his flight as he tries to outfly the Slytherin boy. As Harry in his final attempt rises to stand on his broom the trumpets supported by the rest of the brass reach a gloriously triumphant yet tense climax and with cymbal crash he topples off his broomstick and leaps towards the Snitch, the music coming to a sudden halt at this point, the flutes giving out a surprised yelp.
A quick searching and curious phrase from the celli as if asking a question rises up to a flick of a triangle as our hero rises up and seems to be feeling ill, holding his stomach and with a swirling flute gesture spits the Golden Snitch from his mouth into his hands, the bauble depicted by a the glittering sounds of the mark tree and ethereal flute rendition of the B Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme. Madam Hooch announces the Gryffindor as the winner and the orchestra erupts into an elated variation on the Quidditch Fanfare when Gryffindors celebrate their victory. As camera circles happily grinning Harry we hear for the first time Harry’s Wondrous World Theme on warm sweeping strings, the Boy Who Lived feeling pride and sense of fullfilment for the first time, the character coming to his own, trumpets and swirling chimes performing the optimistic and childlike Harry’s Secondary Motif in support,bringing the exciting action sequence to a satisfying,jubilant conclusion.
29. Hagrid's Christmas Tree (6M1) - 0:55 (OST track 12 Christmas at Hogwarts, 0:00-0:22. HP JWSC CD 2 track 1)
Hagrid and our three heroes are walking outside the castle and the children confide their suspicions about Snape to the half-giant. Deliberately ponderous statement of the Philosopher’s Stone motif rises on horns, woodwinds and lower strings to announce mystery, hint at the artefact as the three headed dog, Fluffy, is mentioned and illustrating the children’s concern. Hagrid lets slip that a person called Nicholas Flamel is also somehow tangled up in this strange business, the score giving a clear clue to his connection to the magical substance as well.
A quick cut takes us to Christmas time and as sleighbells ring flutes with orchestral backing sing out a happy festive jule tide melody as Hagrid is seen pulling a large Christmas tree through the snow covered castle grounds.
30. Christmas Music Box (6M1A) – 1:06 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 2 Cast A Christmas Spell 1:28-end)
For the subsequent Christmas scenes when we see Hermione leaving for holidays and Harry and Ron playing wizard’s chess in the school hall and spending their holidays at Hogwarts Williams composed two alternate pices of music. The first take on the scene is a Christmassy melody on music box, performed on synths (marked in sound and style as 19th century music box in the sheet music) which creates warm background music for holiday season of Hogwarts.
Cast a Christmas Spell (6M1A Alt.) 1:18 (OST track 12 Christmas at Hogwarts, 0:22-1:33. HP JWSC CD 2 track 2 Cast A Christmas Spell 0:00-1:27)
This alternate take on the same scene is a piece of ghostly diegetic music, a Christmas carol sung by the group of Hogwarts ghost carolers floating around in the corridors. The melody is the same as for the music box music but this time Williams himself penned lyrics for it as he told to Richard Dyer in a Boston Globe Interview in 2001 as a result of being unsatisfied by the original idea of using Deck the Halls as source music for the Christmas scene, wanting to give the world of Harry Potter authentic holiday ambience of its own (WILLIAMS CASTS SPELL FOR ‘POTTER’ SCORE By Richard Dyer – The Boston Globe, published November 15, 2001).
The music is written for alto, baritone and bass singer, ghosts each performing a brief solo section. This music was originally written unaccompanied but the eerie electronic sheen (similar to that of the Invisibility Cloak) was later added and the voices of the singers, who are already singing in a spooky ghostly fashion, were manipulated achieving a suitably ethereal effect. This version ended up used in the film and on the original soundtrack album.
Cast a Christmas Spell Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, ring the Hogwarts bell, Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, cast a Christmas spell.
Have a Wondrous Wizard Christmas, have a Merry Christmas day, Move around the sparkling fire, have a Merry Christmas day. Find a broomstick in your stocking, see the magic on display, Join the owls joyous flocking on this Merry Christmas day.
Ding dong, ding dong, ring the Hogwarts bell, ding dong, ding dong, cast a Christmas spell. Ding dong, ding dong, make the Christmas morning bright, Fly high across the sky, light the Christmas night.
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, ring the Hogwarts bell, Merry Christmas, merry Christmas, cast a Christmas spell.
It is unclear whether it was the original intention of the film makers to use both or just one of the pieces in the scene but in the end both versions of this Christmas music were used in the film, the ghost carolers heard briefly in the corridor and the music box music playing shortly after in an equally short statement as Hermione steps into the Great Hall to say goodbye to Harry and Ron before leaving for the holidays.
On the Harry Potter: John Williams Soundtrack Collection both version of this piece are combined into a single track titled Cast A Christmas Spell which begins with the caroling ghosts followed by the music box material.
31. Christmas Morning (6M2) 2:08 (OST track 12 Christmas at Hogwarts 1:27-end. HP JWSC CD 2 track 3 Christmas Morning and The Invisibility Cloak 0:00-2:08)
Glittering piano and all kinds of chimes and sleighbells along with string section opens to a musical depiction of giddy surprise as on Christmas morning Harry to his delight finds that he too has gotten presents, a merry and excited melody soon joined by the woodwinds as the boys open their packages. Strings perform long expectant chords as Harry pulls out a cape from one of the parcels but also a note that came with it, the mood quickly turning suspenseful and over tremoloing high strings oboe and harp appear to perform a question of their own as Harry dons the cape.
All of a sudden these organic musical devices fall silent (at 1:23) as ethereal and cold sounding synthesizer effects take hold, wafting through the soundscape mysteriously (the synthesizer effects marked on the score as like a hovering presence and ghostly wind effect and their performance direction airy) creating a musical depiction for the Invisibility Cloak as Ron recognizes the artefact and Harry disappears under the garment except for his head, which floats comically through the air. Williams makes here a clever departure from highly melodic style of his leitmotifs for Harry Potter and presents one of pure sound design which is no less effective in portraying in its hollow, unsettling tones the magical artefact Harry has received as a present from an anonymous benefactor.
Now the heroes have their means of entering the Restricted Section of the library where Hermione hinted they might find more information on Nicholas Flamel. As we cut to the library soft high strings and harp return to the score, double bass figure taking us without a pause to the next cue.
Soundtrack Album VS Film cue
Williams combines the Christmas music from the film into a suite on the OST. This consists of the Christmassy music of 6M1 Hagrid’s Christmas Tree (0:33-end), 6M1A Cast a Christmas Spell and edited down version of the 6M2 Christmas Morning which omits the Invisibility Cloak music (the music running from 0:00 to 1:22 of the film cue)and contains different ending chords, editorially inserted to finish the piece on a resolved note.
32. The Library Scene (6M2A) - 5:15 (OST track 13 Invisibility Cloak and the Library Scene, edited and truncated. HP JWSC CD 2 track 3 Christmas Morning and The Invisibility Cloak 2:08-end)
Harry sneaks to the Restricted Section of the library to search for information on Nicholas Flamel and so the music for the Invisibility Cloak continues, floating eerily in the darkness, the score enhancing both Harry’s invisibility and the suspense of the moment. Harry proceeds to read the names of the volumes on the shelves and subtle flutes, cold sliding violins and harp intone the Philosopher’s Stone motif, again indicating indirectly that Nicholas Flamel is clearly connected to the magical stone. A silvery shimmer of mark tree underscores Harry flicking the cape off his back to more easily peruse a book, the Philosopher’s Stone motif sounds once more on flutes coloured now with a hint of danger by the muted horns.
As an ensorcerelled book suddenly lets out a scream rattling percussion rings out alarmingly and Harry drops his lantern. Argus Filch appears to the sound of sharp orchestral jab and and the music reverts back to the hollow toned whispering Invisibility Cloak motif as Filch walks through the library and Harry hides under his magical vestment, a brief quote of the A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme appearing on celesta to inform him that the coast is clear and Filch gone for the moment. But soon the gradually quickening pace of celesta, vibraphone and strings illustrates Harry’s escape from Ms. Norris when he encounters the cat in the corridor and quickly backs away and the slight crescendo on suspended cymbal indicates his sudden and accidental brush with the teachers.
The music halts here for a moment as Harry witnesses a brief tense exchange of Professor Quirrel and Snape in the nightime corridor, the latter threatening the former. Filch arrives to announce that someone is running about in the Restricted Section at night, sending both teachers to investigate. Meanwhile Harry slips through a door and down a corridor and the music resumes, the Invisibility Cloak’s eerie accompaniment following his steps and at the other side of the door he arrives to a deserted hall. Mysterious expectantly alluring strains of B phrase of Hedwig’s Theme on strings with mark tree dazzling in the background appear to greet him and with celesta and harp performance of the A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme the Mirror of Erised is revealed.
When Harry gazes into the mirror, glint of sorrowful harp and forlorn women’s choir, heartbreakingly lonely and echoing oboe and clarinet phrases express the boy’s longing as he sees himself surrounded by his parents in the silvery surface. Wistful and warm harp, celesta and chimes reading of Harry’s/Family Theme above string harmonies dances forth in gentle waltz time, a musical portrait of nostalgic yearning the boy feels for his family in this moment.
But sudden jolt of rhythmic scurrying figures from the whole string section lead us back with Harry to the Gryffindor common room where he tells of his find to Ron, the nervous music capturing his excitement as he drags Ron in front of the magical mirror.
In the Making
In the film the quick vibraphone, celesta and string motif after Harry has evaded Ms. Norris (at 2:35 of the cue) is followed by rumbling ominous basses, celli and brass, which is tracked from elsewhere in the score as sneaking invisible Harry witnesses the exchange of professors Quirrel and Snape. This celesta, vibraphone and string idea that underscored the previous ethereal escape appears again when Snape senses something intruding on his discussion and makes a suspicious grope in the dark but the rendition is tracked from that previous section of this same cue. More tracked music follows (among it dramatic tubular bells from 8M1 The Chess Board) as Filch appears to alert the teachers and they go off to find the student in the library. The cue as written would have proceeded with the ghostly synthesized music for the Invisibility Cloak at 2:35 after the teachers and Filch left. Harry's/Family Theme in front of the Mirror of Erised is also shortened slightly in the film to conform to the cut.
Soundtrack Album VS Film cue
On the soundtrack album Williams has truncated this cue considerably. This version omits the opening renditions of the Invisibility Cloak and Philosopher’s Stone motifs and begins at 1:19 into the cue. There is a small edit in the middle section which cuts out the brief Hedwig’s Theme rendition of celesta and the choral interlude for the Mirror of Erised is edited out as well (3:39-4:15 of the cue), the music returning with the Harry’s/Family Theme and plays to the end as written.
33. Dumbledore's Advice (6M3) - 2:28 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 4 Mirror of Erised and A Change of Season 0:00-2:23)
Harry takes Ron to the mirror in which he sees a great future for himself. As he hopefully asks if the mirror is showing the future a small snippet of Hedwig’s Theme on oboe and a harp flourish seem to evoke optimism the red haired boy feels but a darker melancholy turn in the melody underscores Harry’s mournfully doubtful answer. The mirror can’t be showing the future since his parents are dead.
Next Harry is seen sitting in front of the mirror alone, staring into its depths, delicate and yearning harp and chimes singing out his longing for his mother and father. A gentle harp trill and flute gesture reveals Dumbledore who has been watching the boy and proceeds now to tell him of the mirror’s powers and a luminous oboe and string passage flows from the orchestra, lyrically supporting the wisdom the old wizard imparts, Hedwig’s Theme once again appearing fleetingly, a comforting musical message. And finally as he warns Harry of the mirror's empty promises, grim deep chords in string and brass sections underline the importance of his message.
In the Making
The opening seconds with the subtle quote of the first notes of Hedwig's Theme on oboe for Ron's amazed question and the following brief grim passage for Harry's sorrow are dialed out of the film, the music coming in as we see Harry in front of Mirror of Erised again.
34. Owl's Flight (6M4)- 1:10 (Unused, HP JWSC CD 3 track 16 Owl's Flight)
Next Harry is seen in the wintery castle courtyard holding Hedwig on his arm and releasing her into the sky. Tubular bells ghosted trumpet melody with harp interjections provides a gentle yet slightly sad tone as he walks through the snow before flutes carry the melody into a full rendition of the A Phrase of the Flying Theme on solo celesta as we see the owl take wing, strings picking up the theme nimbly and weaving a quick variation on it before the piece closes with a single glint of triangle, transitioning us from winter to spring. This version of the music was never used for the scene and Williams wrote a new version with different approach.
Hedwig's Time Transition (6M4 Alt.) - 1:13 (OST track 10 The Norwegian Ridgeback and The Change of Season 1:35-end. HP JWSC CD 2 track 4 Mirror of Erised and A Change of Season 2:23-end)
This is Williams’ second take on the scene and the one used in the film and the version that ended up on the OST album as well. It begins straightaway with Harry’s Wondrous World Theme and Harry’s Secondary Theme sprightly accompanying it and finally rising to a gradually building flowing rendition of Harry’s/Family Theme as Hedwig rises to the sky, the theme developing to its grandest reading yet as winter turns to spring. The piece has a sort of romantic yearning quality that suggests melancholy but also contentment, perhaps telling that Harry is gradually finding his place and identity in this wondrous world of his.
In the Making
It can be deduced that the first version of the music for the scene might have been considered too lively and whimsical by the film makers, the A Phrase of the Flying Theme indeed quite suitable to underscore Hedwig’s flight but somewhat too light and playful for the tone of the scene. Williams’ second version captures the heart and emotion, the warmth and sense of lyricism inherent in the images on screen, focusing purely on Harry’s character and emotional content rather than the magic and whimsy.
35. Hermione's Reading (6M5 (rev 2)) - 1:06 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 5)
Hermione has finally found the answer to the question of Nicholas Flamel’s identity when she was doing a bit of “light” reading, producing a hefty tome eliciting Ron’s bafflement at her definition of “light”. Flamel is the only known maker of the Philosopher’s Stone and as the girl begins her explanation Williams produces a gloomy reading of the said Stone’s motif on woodwinds ghosted by synthesizers and harp and accompanied by cold strings and as the trio hurries to Hagrid’s hut to warn him, a bit of repurposed music from the Prologue, a whimsical melodic line and up and down rising and falling string figures (1M1 Prologue 0:19-0:30) usher them to his door and are greeted by bassclarinets as the half-giant reluctantly lets them in only when they reveal they know all about the Philosopher’s Stone.
In the Making
Williams’ original intention is unknown since the sheet music is unavailable but the sheet music for the revisions indicate that he has written at least two further versions of this cue after the original, the film version being the 2nd rewrite. The latter half of the revised cue is quite clearly repurposed almost directly from the Prologue so most likely Williams replaced the ending with this material but the opening with the Philosopher’s Stone motif might be the one he originally conceived for the scene.
36. The Norwegian Ridgeback (6M6)- 1:37 (OST track The Norwegian Ridgeback and The Change of Season 0:00-1:35. HP JWSC CD 2 track 6)
Bubbling bassclarinet solo and resounding thump of pizzicato violins opens the piece as Hagrid’s secret, a dragon egg, is about to hatch and a small dragon stumbles out of the shell, the score capturing the comical uncertainty of the creature’s movements with a solo melody for cor anglais accompanied by jaunty bassclarinets and bassoons. Rhythmic tug of string section further enhances the clumsiness of the tiny creature whom the enamoured Hagrid quickly names Norbert before it sets his beard on fire, triangle and horns accenting the event. But quickly the mood turns ominous as someone is seen in the window, the children briefly spotting Draco Malfoy before he disappears and the music presages trouble in worried high and low string harmonies. As the trio returns to the school they are apprehended in the hall by Ms. McGonagall and smirking Draco who obviously is glad to see them in trouble and deep woodwinds colour his moment of triumph and victorious expression with malice.
37. Filch's Fond Remembrance (7M1) - 1:30 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 7)
McGonagall reprimands the three Gryffindors for being out of bed at night time, takes 150 points from their house and sends them to detention. To his dismay Draco is also punished and sent with them. Celli perform deep and ominous chords as McGonagall announces her verdict and with alto flute and bassoon bubbling underneath we transition outside Hogwarts where Filch is accompanying the four children in the night on their way to Hagrid’s hut where they are to serve their detention. Williams provides travelling music and atmosphere as a faux medieval sounding melody on harp, synth instruments (marked antique plucked sound and cymbalom on the sheet music) plays when Filch reminisces the good old days, recorders duetting briefly and the rhythm of the medieval melody continues underneath until they arrive at the hut and discuss Norbert's fate with Hagrid.
In the Making
The duet of the recorders has been removed from the film, the cue edited so that it cuts just before the solo starts and jumps right to the ending.
38. The Blue Forest (7M2)- 5:14 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 8 The Dark Forest)
Hagrid takes the four children with his guard dog Fang into the Dark Forest (Williams’ cue name is either a slip up on his part or he might have intuitively named the forest blue because of the bluish lighting of the scene) to look for something. A searching, mysterious and eerie melody for the Dark Forest in lower strings and woodwinds wafts slowly forward, the group making their way deeper into the woods full of shadows. At 0:36 woodwinds and glistening sounds of a bell tree underscore Hagrid’s discovery of unicorn blood, silvery substance with magical powers. He explains that someone has wounded a unicorn in the forest and that they are there to find it and the Dark Forest motif continues to develop but subtly a rendition of Voldemort’s Evil on bassoons and bassclarinets with a sheen of whining high strings slithers forward, informing us of the horror of wounding a unicorn and heralding the menace which is to be revealed in the following scene.
Hagrid continues his explanation which prompts the appearance of a sad waltz melody, somewhere between the Dark Forest material and Voldemort’s music that grows to a deep horn statement as the half-giant splits the group to search a wider area, Hagrid, Hermione and Ron forming the other group, Draco, Harry and Fang taking another path.
Shimmering harp follows the transitional shot as we now follow Harry, Draco and the dog, the ebbing and flowing musical depiction of the Dark Forest receiving more pronounced variations, high and low strings performing counterlines, harp and woodwinds bubbling below them. After a while the trio spots something moving amidst the tree roots in the pitch black bowels of the forest. Malfoy and Harry, whose scar suddenly starts to hurt intensely, are almost transfixed by an eerie sight of a dark figure in a hooded cloak bending over a dead unicorn, silvery blood of the creature colouring its mouth as it turns to face them. Orchestra bursts gradually to a relentless crescendo, brass screaming, flutes chirping in terror, clarinets keening in high register, timpani pounding aggressively while Draco and Fang flee in panic and as the terrible creature faces the boys Voldemort Revealed growls forth with thunderous might, ascending voices of wordless women’s choir augmenting the terse brass and blood curdling cold strings.
Harry stumbles on tree roots as he backs away while the cloaked figure approaches, the trumpets belting out an operatic and majestically cruel variation of Voldemort’s Evil in the midst of an ever ascending choral wail as the Boy Who Lived comes face to face with his nemesis for the first time. But in the midst of the thematic phrase the progression is suddenly cut short, heroically blazing and determined brass fanfares deposing of the cruel instrumental tones as a centaur comes to Harry’s defense and drives the dark figure into the shadows. The valiant creature, Firenze, explains to Harry that he is in danger in the forest and should go but as he describes how terrible crime it is to kill a unicorn and how its blood will prolong and sustain life an ennobling string elegy appears capturing both the mythical creature’s wisdom and sanctity of the unicorns in its soothing, beatific notes. As the centaur asks, does the boy know who would want to use unicorn’s blood for evil purposes, Voldemort’s Evil returns ominously on tenebrous tuba underpinned by cold strings and ghostly thrumming of a suspended gong to answer the question and it is repeated again on croaking lower woodwinds as Firenze hints that Voldemort wants the Philosopher’s Stone for himself. Lighter and relieved string chords rise as Hagrid and the rest of the group arrives and as Firenze departs and the camera shifts to a close up of the dead unicorn gloomy orchestral strains fade to an uncomfortable silence with a shimmer of a mark tree.
In the Making
In the film a section of the Dark Forest search music and the first rendition of Voldemort’s Evil are dialed out as Hagrid discovers the unicorn blood (0:43-1:40). The music continues as written when the scene transitions to follow Harry and Draco through the blue tinted forest and continues throughout the rest of the sequence. Perhaps Voldemort’s Evil was thought to come in too early with the first rendtion, the film makers wanting to save the appearance of the theme for the actual encounter and not giving away the following scene in the music.
39. Three Note Loop (7M3) - 3:39 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 9 The Stone)
Back in the Gryffindor dormitory the trio of friends discusses the meaning of the events in the Dark Forest, Harry quite certain now that Voldemort is alive and was feeding on the unicorn blood and is trying to steal the Philosopher’s Stone through Snape. The children decide that they have to warn the teachers and Hagrid. The music continues as next morning the heroes walk through the school, Harry’s scar again hurting strangely. Suddenly the boy realizes how Voldemort might get into the school. The children rush without delay to Hagrid’s hut to warn him. Williams spins an extended variation on the Philosopher’s Stone motif (to which the title of the cue Three Note Loop refers to) passing the entire melodic line through different sections of the orchestra augmenting it with both women’s and synthetic choir, the theme growing steadily into a cruel and dramatic crescendo around 2 minute mark after which more hushed variations on the motif slink slowly to silence of dark and doom-laden double bass chords.
In the Making
The music starts at the end of the discussion between Harry, Ron and Hermione in the Gryffindor tower (2:27 into the cue) and continues up until they are seen outside the castle next day and as Harry realizes that the half-giant might have accidentally given their enemy information they race towards Hagrid’s hut. Interesting detail here is that the cue is much longer than the scene itself and the tone of the ever expanding orchestration and building melodramatic rendition of the Philosopher’s Stone motif is far too powerful to underscore these moments of dialogue. Could be that Williams composed this concert version styled piece so that any passage could be used for this particular scene (or possibly other scenes) as needed, the piece containing enough variants for nearly every level of dynamics. In the end the passage approximately from 2:27 until the end of the piece was used (but again with some editing and truncation involved), leaving a lion’s share of the cue unused.
40. Hagrid Plays the Flute (7M3A) - 0:41 (HP JWSC CD 3 track Hagrid's Flute)
Another piece of diegetic music plays as the children approach Hagrid’s hut, the half-giant sitting on the steps and playing a recorder, performing Hedwig’s Theme which abruptly cuts off when the trio arrives and asks Hagrid, what did he know about the mysterious stranger who sold him the dragon egg. Williams again refrains from the more common practice of recording diegetic music and has the recorder player actually cut his performance abruptly in the middle of the theme instead of recording a complete piece and then editing it afterwards as need be, which would be a more common way to deal with source music. This way the music retains a more natural and realistic feel in the performance and on-screen.
The version released on the Harry Potter: John Williams Soundtrack Collection is a slightly different take that is both a longer and a complete reading of the Hedwig's theme melody (running 0:55) without the abrupt ending and has been recorded with noticeably more reverb that gives the performance a clearly echoing spacious sound.
41. Running to McGonagall (7M4) - 2:12 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 10
As Hagrid lets slip that music can calm Fluffy the children run off to warn Dumbledore, running to McGonagall’s class room and ask to see the headmaster. The foreboding realization at Hagrid’s hut is score with horns and bassoons voicing concern before agitated, rhythmic strings hasten the children to McGonagall. As she informs that Dumbledore has been called off to London to the Ministry of Magic clarinets and other woodwinds colour the children’s frustration and the feeling of danger. When Harry reveals that they know about the Philosopher’s Stone, a clarinet reading of the Philosopher’s Stone motif ghosted by cor anglais in a bed of icy cold strings speak of McGonagall’s surprised alarm and underlying fear when she assures that Snape nor anyone else is going to steal the stone nor is it in any danger, being under strong guard.
The trio walks away thwarted, celli first annoucing their momentary defeat in a dour little melody, a variation of the Philsopher’s Stone motif appearing again as they bump into Snape in the hall, dark and throaty woodwinds colouring the rest of their encounter, the teacher suspecting that the children are up to something. These darker orchestral musings spring suddenly forward to a transitional shot of the Hogwart’s castle when Harry announces that they return to the trap door that night, the B Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme on majestic horns providing dramatic momentum, celli and bass lines taking us to the Gryffindor tower rooms where our heroes are preparing to go out and stop Snape’s and Voldemort’s plans.
42. Petrified Neville - 0:38 (Tracked music. HP JWSC CD 2 track 11 Neville Stiffens)
As the trio is sneaking out of the dormitory to stop Snape from stealing the stone Neville Longbottom tries to stop them so they do not get the Gryffindor house into more trouble or make them lose more points. As a last resort Hermione uses a petrification charm and Neville freezes in place and hits the floor with a bump. An orchestral thump and somewhat grim reading of the A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme is heard underscoring this moment as our heroes reluctantly subdue their friend.
No sheet music available indicate if original music was ever intended for this scene. In the final film the music has been tracked with most of the material taken from 4M6 (Rev.) It’s Guarding Something and Troll in the Dungeon which went unused in the film for the scenes they were supposed to underscore. So this way a piece of unused music found its way back to the film through another scene.
43. Fluffy’s Harp (7M6) - 2:29 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 12 Fluffy's Harp Lullaby)
The heroes arrive to the 3rd floor corridor at night and hear peculiar ethereal and soothing music wafting through the air. When they come to the trap door they find Fluffy dozing off to the sweet sounds of an enchanted harp, standing in the corner playing all by itself a delicate and peaceful lullaby to keep the dog docile. Someone has obviously been here before them and has passed the guardian dog. When the group ponders this and tries to move the dog’s gigantic paw from the trap door, they suddenly become aware that the harp has stopped playing.
Williams composed a self contained piece for solo harp as source music for this moment. Unlike other source music this piece was recorded in full. In the film only a portion of it was used and then subtly faded away. The same piece worked as a template for Fluffy and His Harp, a movement in the Children’s Suite.
Here begins the last segment of the film where Williams provides varied, inventive and colorful underscore for each of the trials the children have to go through to reach the Philosopher’s Stone. The composer creates unique set piece themes and motifs for each challenge and ties them together with the main thematic material as opportunities to highlight magic and heroism present themselves.
44. In the Vinesnakes (7M7) - 2:29 (OST track 15 In the Devil's Snare and The Flying Keys 0:00-0:56. HP JWSC CD 2 track 13 In the Devil's Snare)
At that instant the three headed hound awakens, contrabassoons and bassclarinets along with dire growling low brass announce trouble. Alarmed jittery ascending strings and brass moans prompt the trio to a head long jump through the trap door and into the darkness below and they land in a bed of thick vines.
Ron is glad of the dampening effect but as soon as they start to move the wriggling roots begin to wind around them tighter and tighter. Hermione realizes that the plant is called Devil’s Snare (Williams calling the obstacle vinesnakes in the sheet music, an equally apt description) and will only strangle you faster if you move. A new motif for Devil’s Snare takes hold of the score as the vines start to animate further, stopped horns and muted trombones and trumpets performing cyclical snarling motifs on top of each other, whining repeating string figures wrapping the protagonists further into the dark folds of the deadly plant.
Hermione offers the survival advice to the boys just before she herself drops out of sight, released by the carnivorous plant. Harry controls himself as well, stops moving and soon falls under the plant roof but Ron panics in his nervousness and gets more and more enfolded in the vines, the music continuing threatening, repetetive and suffocatingly obsessive.
Hermione tries desperately to remember how to defeat the writhing monstrosity. Equally desperate and nervous oboe solo in a bed of criss crossing low string figures accentuates the perilous moment until she remembers that the plant is afraid of light and quickly sends a light spell from her wand, sparkling orchestrations surrounding a brass exclamation, freeing Ron from the predicament, a relieved flute solo and tentative strings bringing the cue to its conclusion as the trio heads toward another challenge.
In the Making
The cue runs as written up until 1:56 after which the relieved flute solo for Ron’s rescue and his comical boast of not panicking is dialed out along with the rest of the cue.
45. The Flying Keys (7M8) - 1:57 (OST track 15 In the Devil's Snare and The Flying Keys 0:56-end. HP JWSC CD 2 track 14)
Harry and company approach a lofty hall where a flock of odd looking winged creatures float languidly through the air. Hermione wonders at the strange looking birds to which Harry answers that they are not avians but keys with wings, ensorcerelled to fly. As the children step into the open space they find a broomstick standing in mid-air, the magical atmosphere earning the sounds of fluttering strings, harp and a wordless treble female choir expressing airy wonder. Harry figures out that they have to catch the key fitting on the lock in the door on the other side of the room. Suspenseful woodwinds and strings weave slow apprehensive and doubtful phrases, piccolo and string trills catching Harry’s observation of a key with slightly bent wings, the boy guessing that to be their mark. Bassclarinet, contrabassoons and brass finally underline his resolve as he jumps on the broomstick and flies to catch the key.
At this moment the orchestra bursts into chaotic chase, the keys starting to swerve and whirl and flock around Harry, sizzling string figures, glinting percussive hits, mark tree sparkles and sharp brass battling to catch him while he approaches the key. Ever quickening pace and busy buzz of the lofty orchestrations follow the boy as he first tosses the key to Hermione and then flies like the wind to lead the pursuing keys away and then himself flits through the door, just in time for his friends slam it shut before the keys reach them, the score catching the winding twists and turns with music similar to the most frenetic passages of the Quidditch match to illustrate this feat of masterful and exciting flight.
Soundtrack Album VS Film Cue
Williams combines music from In the Vinesnakes and The Flying Keys on OST track In the Devil's Snare and The Flying Keys but both cues are presented in highly edited form on the album, omitting about half of each cue.
What follows is the last challenge, the friends coming upon a giant chessboard. Williams scores this long scene with one continuous piece of music but it is written in three parts and recorded separately but again assembled for the film into one long musical sequence.
46. The Chess Board (8M1) – 1:58 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 15 The Chess Game (Extended Version) 0:00-1:58)
This cue is full of earthy, dusky and atmospheric orchestral tones as the young heroes face the final challenge. Rumbling and churning low brass, grand piano, double basses and celli usher the children to another dark cavernous hall, Williams subtly introducing squirming, jittery solo woodwinds above the dark timbres and higher string tones emerge from the gloom as light increases and the group proceeds through the eerie funereal atmosphere where towering figures, gigantic chess pieces, slowly appear from the darkness. Ron’s realization that this chamber is a giant chess board elicits a clangorous brass fanfare bolstered by fateful knell of orchestral chimes.
Nervous orchestral writing continues when Ron, Harry and Hermione all wonder what they should do and try to cross the board only to be barred by the line of soldier pawns statues, whose scimitars appear from their sheaths to bar their way, low tam-tam burst, rising staccato trumpets and orchestral bells catching the moment but also the implied danger of continuing across the chess board.
There appears to be no other option but to play wizard’s chess. Ron devices a strategy and deep strings and brass, rumble from timpani with determined, paced clarinet solo underscore the preparations, anticipatory subtly heroic brass phrases and steady double bass rhythm accompanied by counterpoint of tense high strings announce that
47. The Game Begins (8M2) - 3:45 (OST track 16 The Chess Game. HP JWSC CD 2 track 15 The Chess Game (Extended Version) 1:59-5:29)
Williams fashions brutal sounding and mechanically paced musical battle of wits and brawn on the chess board where the gigantic metallic chess pieces go at each other. Steady snare drum beat opens the chess montage, snarling, threatening low horns and high militaristic trumpets exchanging phrases as the game begins and battle is joined. Slowly rising tense high strings lead to rhythmic motif for bassoons interspersed with low thumping from grand piano, snare drums and brass returning ever more aggressive to highten the excitement.
Rhythm from the percussion of all description, among them xylophones, bass drum, antique drums, anvils and snares and the brass section exchanging militaristic phrases push the piece forward with relentless drive as the game progresses and we see various pieces from both sides destroyed brutally by the enchanted statues, barrages from the percussion underscoring the heated confrontation.
At 1:38 suspenseful sustained high strings lead to a ghostly and ominous flute solo. As the game is almost at an end with few moves left, various woodwinds, violins and violas lend an air of tragedy to the moment when Ron announces, against the protests of his friends, that he has to sacrifice himself so that Harry can checkmate the opponent’s king. Horns and trombones rise nobly and full of emotion, trumpets, supported by strings finally emerging on top of them, their heroic timbres honoring his decision to selflessly aid his friends.
A fateful staccato march rhythm on strings and snare drum takes over as Ron makes his final move, the chess piece gliding silently across the board to the music, muted horns performing a grim and determined variation on the A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme. The rhythm keeps intensifying,racheting up the tension, as gradually the woodwinds and the brass section join in the performance with high, pinched trumpet sounds climbing atop of the soundscape as the march reaches in a climax of suspended cymbal and bass drum rumble. Out of this crescendo blooms a brief intense double bass and celli tremolo as the chess piece stops in front the the enemy queen. As it suddenly lifts its weapon and mercilessly plunges it into the horse on which Ron was sitting and topples him down on the chess board apparently unconscious, a sharp, fateful trumpet led brass blast fades to an ominous grim cadence on horns.
48. Checkmate (8M3) – 1:58 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 15 The Chess Game (Extended Version) 5:29-end)
Worried Hermione is about to run to Ron’s aid but Harry reminds her that the game is not over yet and proceeds to make his move to checkmate the king. Suspended cymbal rumble and intense, pained brass blasts flow into the staccato rhythm of the previous cue as Harry approaches the king, the relentless grave brass and string orchestration now bedecked with ethereal women’s choir as a moment of decision is reached.
Expectant high violins and violas give away to a resigned fanfare as Harry announces “Checkmate” to the king, horns, sharp flute figures, aggressive brass and choir underscoring the falling of the sword from the chess piece’s hands, a moment of bittersweet victory.
Rhythmic celli figures underscore Hermione’s concern as she and Harry rush to Ron to see if he is alright. As she says that she will take care of Ron but Harry has to continue alone as he is the one meant to stop Snape, a lovely, warm and tender reading of Harry’s/Family Theme plays first on flutes and is then passed to oboe and strings, the music illustrating both the bonds of close friendship that Harry has formed with Ron and Hermione and also celebrating the simple courage and determination which makes him the unlikely hero.
The theme gives way to a suspenseful probing and rhythmic clarinet, celli and bass strings motif as Harry is now seen descending a shadowy flight of stairs, towards the resting place of the Philosopher’s Stone. Slight harp flourish reveals the Mirror of Erised, accenting Harry's surprise when he sees Professor Quirrel in front of it.
49. The Mirror Scene (8M4) – 6:11 (OST track 17 The Face of Voldemort. HP JWSC CD 2 track 16 The Face of Voldemort)
A short moment of dialogue follows, Harry puzzling out Quirrel’s involvement in all the strange events during the school year. But as the professor with pained expressions announces that he is never truly alone a quick flourish on piano, tremoloing strings and stopped horns flows to cool tones of oboe, cor anglais and flute lines as he faces the mirror giving a hint of revelation to come, synth voices, harp and flutes intoning the Philosopher’s Stone motif in ethereal, cold tones, the 3- and 4-note variations alternating. Double bass rumble as Voldemort’s ghostly voice is heard leads to the Philosopher’s Stone motif repeated more forcefully on horns, swirling oboe and cor anglais lines, vibraphone and chimes, Quirrel commanding Harry to approach the mirror. As he gazes into the steely grey surface glinting of harp, piano, bell tree and orchestral bells spell out paced version of the Stone motif, almost half way becoming a variation on Voldemort’s music but is interrupted by A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme on the signature instrument, celesta, when Harry sees his mirror counterpart producing the Philosopher’s Stone from his pocket and then placing it back there with a wink, slight crescendo of woodwinds underscoring Harry’s realization that it is now actually in his pocket as the music comes to a brief halt.
Throaty, slow and ominous reading of the Philosopher’s Stone motif by the whole woodwind section underscores Harry’s lie as Quirrel demands to know what he saw in the mirror but the whispered advice from Voldemort’s immaterial voice earns an appearance of Voldemort Revealed on dark horns which is repeated more elaborately as Quirrel peels away his turban, the revelation of Voldemort’s face at the back of his head eliciting a cruel imperious fanfare from the whole brass section based on the first phrase of the theme.
As the dark lord has been revealed Voldemort’s Evil slithers to the fore on languid and evil brass, exuding malice and imperious confidence, the strings in counterpoint, the theme winding up and down as the villain pontificates. As he suddenly demands the Philosopher’s Stone which Harry has in his pocket the boy tries to run but a nervous burst of strings and brass evokes magical flames that spring in front of him, blocking his way out.
Funereal arrangement of the Philosopher’s Stone motif on fateful brass, ethereal women’s choir and tolling tubular bells underscores Voldemort’s attempt to threaten and beguile Harry to his side, Williams weaving the focusedly repeated Philosopher’s Stone motif together with Voldemort’s Evil which winds up and down snake like on solo clarinet, seductive and evil. As he promises to bring Harry’s parents back from the dead in exchange for the Philospher’s Stone, a lost and lonely sounding variation on Harry’s/Family Theme appears amidst of tremoloing string layers, colouring this moment of hesitation while Voldemort’s Evil on reptilian clarinet continues its seduction, cold strings adding even firmer sense of falsehood to these empty promises.
Rising, hesitant string chords underscore Harry’s refusal which explodes into a blazing inferno of panicky woodwinds, raging harp glissandi and brass growls as Voldemort commands Quirrel to kill the boy and take the artefact, the Philosopher’s Stone motif achieving supremely oppressive and obsessive force, the whole orchestra and choir joining in performing variations on it as the mad wizard leaps on Harry in rage. Thunderous orchestral battle ensues, Williams depicting the conflict in the brass, timpani and operatic strings as Harry finds out that Quirrel can’t abide his touch, his hand first crumbling to dust as he tries to assault the boy.
Intensifying momentum of the orchestra and chorus illustrates both the horror of the events on-screen and Voldemort’s obsession and desperation to get his hand on the Philosopher’s Stone as he again commands Quirrel to get the stone, quick and subtle variations on Voldemort’s Evil appearing fleetingly in the middle of the performances of the Philospher’s Stone motif. Harry steps between Quirrel and the magical stone and lifts his hand on Quirrel’s face causing it to burn and crumble, the repetition of Philosopher’s Stone motif ending in mounting brass and string phrases that reach a tumultuous and operatic conclusion as Quirrel disintegrates and falls to dust, downward swirling orchestral gestures following his demise, the final shot of the empty robes and ashes underscored by fateful and ominous rendition of Voldemort Revealed. The villain is vanquished.
Harry then looks for the Philosopher’s Stone, the close-up of the artefact accented by the A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme on celesta, the delicate magical sound of the instrument reaffirming after such an ordeal. First strings and then the rest of the orchestral sections begin a sudden climbing phrase, celli and double bass arpeggios leading to a violent and swirling moment of horror as we see the ashes behind Harry rising into the air and coalescing, a choir backed but suitably incomplete rendition of Voldemort’s Evil on brass howling his rage as his spirit flees the dungeons, knocking Harry over in the process as it passes through him, another downward slanting string run following the boy's fall. As we see him lying unconscious next to the Philosopher’s Stone the A Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme on sympathetic woodwinds is heard to confirm his success but the final word is left for the Philosopher’s Stone motif, a 3-note variation on synth celesta and orchestral bells with triangle accents repeating 3 times, full of closure but also eternal foreboding inherent in the musical idea.
50. Love, Harry (8M5) – 1:41 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 17)
Harry wakes up in the hospital wing of Hogwarts and Professor Dumbledore is there to greet him and assures him that the Philosopher’s Stone is safely destroyed. When the headmaster informs the boy that even though the artefact was destroyed Voldemort might find ways to return the B Phrase of Hedwig’s Theme on gentle solo oboe appears, the professor proceeding to explain that the reason Quirrel could not bear to touch the boy was because of Harry’s mother had sacrificed herself to protect him. This is the greatest magic, love, he says and warm and comforting strains of Harry’s/Family Theme on flutes further affirm this notion before a comical and befuddled recorder melody underscores Dumbledore’s bad luck with Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.
Later when the Boy Who Lived is released from the infirmary and he meets Ron and Hermione in the stairs, the reunion of friends is scored by a reassuring and glowing reading of Harry's Wondrous World Theme, their friendship reaffirmed.
51. Gryffindor Wins (9M1) – 2:38 (HP JWSC CD 2 track 18 Gryffindor Wins the House Cup)
During the end of term feast the House Cup is awarded and the Gryffindors listen sullen and disappointed as Dumbledore tallies the score, their house coming last, Slytherin earning the highest points. But the headmaster to everybody’s surprise starts awarding extra points, celesta singing out an expectant new melody when Hermione earns more points for Gryffindor, the tone of the music now turning positive and excited. Oboe solo and lilting, playful celesta celebrate Ron’s success and when Harry is mentioned flutes support the oboes in a warm and gentle reading of Harry’s Wondrous World Theme, honoring his deeds and heroism. Here Williams refrains from using the obvious Hogwarts Theme that such a scholarly and formal situation might beg for but instead focuses entirely on the emotional content and meaning of the scene as rising, poignant and lyrical string phrases grow as Neville is awarded enough points for the Gryffindors to win the House Cup and as the headmaster with a clap of his hand changes the decorations of the Great Hall the noble string harmonies swell, trumpet led joyous reading of Harry’s Wondrous World Theme bursting forth glowing, heroic and noble, celebrating the triumph of Gryffindors but most of all of our hero, Harry’s Secondary motif accompanying the look of happiness and joy as the boy exchanges glance with smiling Hagrid, bringing the cue to a content and happy conclusion.
52. Leaving Hogwarts (9M2)- 2:14 (OST track 18 Leaving Hogwarts. HP JWSC CD 2 track 19)
Tentative harp and warm strings open the final cue as Harry is on the train platform on Hogwarts station saying goodbye to Hagrid. As the two say emotional farewell Family Theme plays full of inherent nostalgia and yearning as the half-giant presents Harry with a gift, a family album with a picture the baby Harry with his parents, the music expressing deepest affection, woodwinds giving away to poignant strings and flutes eventually take the lead, singing a gently humorous version of Hedwig’s Theme with airy strings accompanying them as Hagrid gives some advice for dealing with Dursleys if they give trouble during the summer. After the pair says goodbye and Harry walks to the train door, Hermione remarks how strange it feels to leave, to which he replies gently that he is not truly leaving, Harry’s/Family Theme rising to a final heartwarming, noble and wistful statement on the whole orchestra, the music saying that part of him will now forever stay in this wondrous world, magically sparkling Hedwig’s Theme promising that Harry will return some day and drawing this score to an emotional close.
53. End Credits Pt. 1 - 5:26 (OST track 2 Harry’s Wondrous World. HP JWSC CD 2 track 20 Harry's Wondrous World (Extended Version))
For End Credits Williams composed one of his prototypical suites which draws together most of the positive central themes of the film, providing lengthy development and unique variation on the material. Making appearances through the suite are Hedwig’s Theme, Harry’s Wondrous World Theme, Harry’s Secondary Motif, Harry’s/Family Theme, The Quidditch Fanfare and Hogwarts Theme. This piece also forms the finale of the Children’s Suite so I will analyze it in further detail below.
54. End Credits Pt. 2 – Hedwig’s Theme (with Inserts) – 5:10 (OST track 19 Hedwig’s Theme. HP JWSC CD 2 track 21 Hedwig's Theme)
The second part of the credits sequence is the concert arrangement of Hedwig’s Theme in which Williams provides the most complete and fully formed version of this musical motif but weds it with the Flying Theme (Nimbus 2000) to form an extended suite of material.
The music opens with a formal introduction of Hedwig’s Theme, both A and B phrases of the melody repeated, orchestrations familiar from the score itself, celestra, woodwinds and strings all propelling the thematic idea to flight but the renditions soon expand to encompass the full orchestra. The Flying Theme grows out of Hedwig’s Theme, its A Phrase first bubbling on woodwinds and brass, shortly after performed on celesta and strings, again performed in waltz time by the full ensemble and quickly climbing to the dangerous and thrilling B Phrase of the theme, surging ever higher and higher on strings and exhilarating brass.
After quieting down for a moment the music gathers speed anew and comes to a dazzling finale with some energetic and inventive variations on Hedwig’s Theme, electrifying brass phrases and glorious full ensemble crescendo, sustained string figures finally bursting to brassy finishing chords and bring the magical score of Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone to a breathtaking and satisfying conclusion.
An interesting detail about this piece is that it contains a unique finale for Hedwig’s Theme, material which did infact make its debut already in the first teaser trailer but appears nowhere in the score proper. Since apparently the tapes of the original teaser trailer music are lost this is the only available recording of this singular finale section to Hedwig’s Theme.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Children’s Suite for Orchestra
As mentioned at the start of the analysis Williams created 8 musical miniatures that each represent one or more of the thematic ideas from the score and orchestrated them for a unique mixtures of instruments and created the 9th piece, Harry’s Wondrous World, to round out the suite and draw various thematic threads together. This analysis relates only to the versions of the miniatures recorded at the sessions and does not delve into the later changes made to the music for the concert suite published by Hal Leonard corporation.
Here is a brief analysis of the Children’s Suite with commentary on the themes and how do these pieces relate to the soundtrack album since Williams included some pieces of the suite on the OST CD. And since November 2018 the entirety of the suite in the form it was recorded at the original recording sessions has been made available as part of the La-la Land Records' Harry Potter: The John Williams Soundtrack Collection.
I Hedwig’s Flight – 2:12 (OST track 1 Prologue. HP JWSC CD 3 track 1 Prologue)
Originally titled in sheet music as Hedwig’s Theme (Children’s Suite). A solo celesta, woodwinds and string section exhibit their magical flying prowess in this development of both Hedwig’s Theme and A Phrase of the Flying Theme with the nimble and quick celesta solos taking center stage. Williams describes the piece in following words: Hedwig, the beautiful owl who magically and mysteriously delivers mail to Harry Potter at Hogwarts School, is musically portrayed in the first miniature by the celesta, a luminous little instrument which is capable of producing pearly, crystalline tones at dazzling speeds.
This piece is included on the OST album but retitled Prologue for some reason and it opens the soundtrack, working as a kind of overture, introducing Hedwig’s Theme in formal fashion at the start of the album.
II Hogwarts Forever – 1:53 (OST track 9 Hogwarts Forever! and The Moving Stairs 0:00-1:53. HP JWSC CD 3 track 2 Hogwarts Forever)
French horn section is spotlighted in this movement, composer developing Hogwarts’ good natured scholarly theme further, the slightly humorous but noble and dignified sounds of the horns ideally suited for such a task, lending an air of refinement to the proceedings. As Williams says: No other instrument seems so perfectly suited to capturing the scholarly atmosphere of Hogwarts than the noble and stately french horn.
As mentioned in the analysis of the score itself the composer paired this piece with music from the 4M5 The Moving Stairs on the OST album.
III Voldemort – 2:18 (HP JWSC CD 3 track 3 Voldemort)
In this movement Williams introduces to the listener a trio of bassoons which perform the “evil” themes of the score, The Philosopher’s Stone motif and the two musical ideas associated with Voldemort. Again he weds the material seamlessly together and explores new avenues with the melodies, counterpoints and combinations, the earthy timbres of the bassoon quite ideally suited for this character study, giving the music a bit less threatning edge yet retaining somewhat gloomy disposition of the themes intact.
IV Nimbus 2000 – 2:25 (HP JWSC CD 3 track 4 Nimbus 2000)
The woodwind section, oboes, clarinets, flutes and bassoons, offers a dexterous, quick and sprightly reading of the Flying Theme material in this miniature, Williams associating their agility and skill with Harry’s magical broomstick and flying exploits as he often does in the film. There is a delightful sense of glee and mischievousness in the music as the composer colours and decorates the melodic line as the theme is passed quickly from one instrument to the next, leaping deftly about the ensemble.
V Fluffy and his Harp – 2:41 (OST track 14 Fluffy’s Harp. HP JWSC CD 3 track 5 Fluffy's Harp)
The magical and ethereal harp solo which sent Fluffy, the three headed dog, to sleep in the film is coupled here with contrabassoon’s deep and drowsy sounds, the duo of instruments painting a vivid and humorous picture of snoring canine under the spell of music. The harp material is exactly the same as on the source music track from the film but the contrabassoon line has been written in, flitting in and out of the main melody to comical effect.
This piece ended up on the soundtrack album, Williams obviously feeling that the contrabassoon part would better contrast with the harp and bring the scene musically to life as a fully formed piece in its own right.
VI Quidditch – 1:48 (HP JWSC CD 3 track 6 Quidditch) Quidditch Fanfare and Hogwarts Theme alternate through the entire brass section in this fast paced and celebratory portrait of the wizards’ favourite sport. Athletic bright brass exchange phrases of the themes full of pomp and circumstance here, a depiction of the excitement and splendour of the Quidditch match, each brass instrument group passing the the ideas through them and finishing in a triumphant trumpet flourish.
VII Family Portrait – 3:23 (HP JWSC CD 3 track 7 Family Portrait)
Gentle, autumnal and wistful sounds of solo clarinet accompanied by the sonorous singing of the celli forms a lovely meditation on both the sweeping lyricism of Harry Wondrous World Theme and yearning innocence of Harry’s/Family Theme showing both sides of Harry Potter’s world and personality in warm and nostalgic tones. Not only does this suite show the close connection of the two ideas, almost like two phrases of the same but also embellishes both ideas, the solo clarinet taking new and unique paths through the melodic ideas. The movement also highlights the instrumental combination of clarinet and celli, exhibiting Williams’ skill in combining sounds that complement each other truly well.
VIII Diagon Alley – 2:52 (OST track 5 Diagon Alley and The Gringotts Vault 0:00-1:15. HP JWSC CD 3 track 8 Diagon Alley)
The orchestrations of this festive march theme for the Diagon Alley consist of strings, assorted percussion and recorders performing the musical depiction of the unique atmosphere of the wizards' shopping center with quirky glee. Violin is cast in the role of a witch’s fiddle, scratching its way through a sparkling string and percussion landscape accompanied by recorders, the melody of the theme both curious, playful and slightly Baroque/faux Medieval. Once again every instrumental grouping is allowed a moment to shine.
This music ended partially on the OST album (0:00-1:15) as Williams curiously replaced the original film cue of the theme, which ran at much faster pace, with the opening of the miniature, editing it together with the film cue as it is mentioned in the analysis above. Almost half of the piece is left unheard on the album, including further development of the thematic idea, a glittering percussion interlude and the wickedly humorous finale for strings and recorders.
IX Harry’s Wondrous World - 5:06 (OST track 2 Harry’s Wondrous World. HP JWSC CD 3 track 9 Harry's Wonderous World)
In this grand finale Williams allows many of the previously heard themes to shine in full orchestra guise, bringing finally the entire ensemble together to celebrate Harry’s Wondrous World.
A sweeping string quote of Hedwig’s Theme (B Phrase) opens the music in wistful manner, Harry’s Wondrous World melody following in the same style, brass and woodwinds performing the Harry’s Secondary Motif which usually follows the theme. A new extension of the Wondrous World Theme interspersed with subtle flute quotes of Hedwig’s Theme passes through the orchestra, lyrical, positive and joyous, burnished, triumphant brass colours rising again to the Harry’s Secondary motif in celebratory crescendo.
Then a new musical idea, descending flute figures, takes hold as Harry’s/Family Theme on strings is presented, the melody expanding and dancing in the orchestra in the grandest reading of the material in the score until the triumphant and thrilling Quidditch Fanfares burst through the string colours on splendid brass, quickly transitioning to Hogwarts Theme, reminiscent of the orchestrations of the Quidditch match in the film.
And to draw the piece of a close Williams brings the Wondrous World Theme back on full orchestra accompanied by Harry’s Secondary Motif, sweeping and joyous, climbing to a gradual crescendo after which the gently lilting strains of Harry’s Secondary Motif, passed through the woodwinds finally takes us to a calm finish with feeling of accomplishment.
The Children’s Suite is another example of Williams’ ability to see wider musical and artistic possibilities in film music. He obviously understands that in film there is a chance for true musical creativity despite what nay-sayers and critics might claim and has often spoken of the wide global reach the film medium. The music will be heard by millions and as part of the phenomenon carries a large responsibility to be the best it can be. The Children’s Suite transports this music into the concert hall where new generations of young movie and concert going audience will experience the symphony orchestra perhaps for the first time since they are interested to hear the music from the well loved movie based on a universally adored novel. In part Williams’ music helps to keep the modern audience interested in classical orchestral tradition and at the same time winning over great number of new fans. This of course is a part of Williams continuing avid promotion of film music as a serious art form which could be said to be the unspoken agenda he has worked on ever since he was chosen as the conductor of Boston Pops Orchestra and continues strong today.
The score of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is in all a magnificent feat of film scoring but also of art and artistry, one that I hope my analysis has illuminated to the readers. It has been truly fascinating to take an intense and careful look at the music which has only increased my respect for it and again it is my hope that this essay would do so for others as well.
I would like to express my thanks to the fine people of JWFan who have contributed to this analysis either directly or indirectly with their discussion. Special thanks to Jason LeBlanc (@Jay), GoodMusician and Datameister and all the people in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Philosopher's Stone) thread on the JWFan.com messageboard. As always for your meticulous work in parsing this music has been an invaluable aid. Thank you.
 Williams adds musical magic to 'Harry Potter' By Andy Seiler USA TODAY 11/13/2001 http://www.usatoday....hn-williams.htm
 Scoring log would indicate that the music for the teaser trailer was recorded on the 18th of November 2000.
 Again scoring log indicates the date 11th of June 2001 for the recording session for the full length trailer.
 Williams adds musical magic to 'Harry Potter' By Andy Seiler USA TODAY 11/13/2001
 http://en.wikipedia....The_Nutcracker: Tchaikovsky's Sources and Influences. In Tchaikovsky’s time celesta was a new invention and the story goes that the instrument was actually brought from France in secrecy to the premiere of the ballet so its novelty would remain a surprise to the audience and no other composer could use it before him.
 John Williams, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone – Children’s Suite for Orchestra, (Hal Leonard Corporation®).
 Andy Seiler, Williams adds musical magic to 'Harry Potter', USA TODAY 11/13/2001.
 Frank Lehman, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets - Thematic Analysis (2003)
 Frank Lehman, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets - Thematic Analysis (2003)
 Frank Lehman, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets - Thematic Analysis (2003)
 Frank Lehman, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets - Thematic Analysis (2003)
 This connection seems to be in Williams’ mind so strong that the motif gains a secondary purpose as a general villain and mystery theme. It will infact become the theme’s primary usage in the sequel film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
 Frank Lehman, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets - Thematic Analysis (2003)
 Frank Lehman, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets - Thematic Analysis (2003): ...in a minor scale, melodically, it climbs thusly: 5-#4-1-3-#4-5-b6…etc.; rhythmically, it has a similar structure to the second theme in its construction by dotted eighth to sixteenth note figures; and harmonically, its pretty simple, little more than i all the way through, with a bass line shifting between i and V.
 This musical idea makes a brief return in the second film so it certainly in his interpretation was meant to be a recurring theme of its own.
 Bill Wrobel mentions in his analysis Harry Potter Music by John Williams (found at http://www.filmscorerundowns.net/williams/harrypotter.pdf) that the instrumentation consists of mandolin, accordion and 2 percussion instruments. Unfortunately no sheet music for this piece has been made available.
 John Williams, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone – Children’s Suite for Orchestra, (Hal Leonard Corporation®).
 John Williams, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone – Children’s Suite for Orchestra, (Hal Leonard Corporation®).
Wow, great responses everyone, thank you so much. I love this discussion. It certainly is a very hard questions to answer, as Shore really nailed every section of the film independently and made them all connect to each other perfectly as well. I think at this point we have multi-paragraph explanations for why each section is so great except for one: The music in Bree, and the journey from there to Rivendell. You've got the ominous tones as the hobbits sit in the Prancing Pony, not knowing what to do, and the introduction of Aragorn's Theme as he watches them. THe most powerful yet choral Nazgul music as they enter Bree, and the brilliant "into the wild" cue, in both theatrical and extended edition forms. The entire Weathertop sequence, including the dropped music for the Shadow World Frodo sees when he puts on the ring, our first long-form appearance of the Isengard Theme. Then Arwen's Theme as she shows up, followed by the multiple versions of the "Flight To The Ford" sequence. What do people think of that section?
I voted the journey down Anduin and the arrival at Parth Galen/Amon Hen. And with the journey down Anduin, I enclose the farewell to Lorien there as well, since that is the beginning of that journey. Lyrical/ thematic/ dramatic/ cinematic music doesn't get better than "Farewell To Lorien". I love the driving, pure travelogue music after that, when the Fellowship theme kicks in with the drums, and the deep string accentuations, and especially the yearning, melancholic horn/trumpet line after that. "The Argonath" may very well be the best and most original choral music in Fellowship (next to Khazad-Dum), followed by the awe-inspiring, unique and poignant History Of The Ring theme. I've always adored the little intro to the History theme that Shore oddly enough only used in Fellowship, so we have that; plus, the scene between Frodo and Boromir is scored in a great way, with lots of thematic subtext, followed by yet again a unique History theme statement and the seduction theme. There is a lot of diversity there, and I think it's the most outright enjoyable portion of the score because it's kind of the build-up to the finale, and there are no specific emotions connected to it other than enjoyment. I have to be in the mood for "Lothlorien" or "Khazad-Dum", but I can listen to "The Great River" anytime, anywhere. Of course Fellowship was a linear movie, and it gave Shore the opportunity to create some really long suites of sort, if you take Moria or Rivendell or Hobbiton as examples - those are all in their own soundscapes. And Two Towers and Return of the King still have that, it's just broken up. And I think that's helps the narrative arc and the diversity of the score a lot. Oh, and one more thing: if I could change two things in the score of ROTK, I'd put the original score back over the fall of Barad-Dur (instead of that horrible edit), and I'd use the short Fellowship statement over "The End", the one from the Rarities, that Shore originally wrote.
That is one of my favourite parts of the score. The ethereal world Shore creates there is beautifully unique. Funnily enough initially it was my least favourite and I did not like the Eastern qualities in association with the Elves but at some point I fell in love with the mysticism and singular feel of the Lothlorien material.
Not sure why that is, but I have a stronger emotional reaction from the new score than I ever had from the LOTR trilogy. Maybe because I really warmed up to some of Howard Shore's music over the years (I really enjoy most of his works he composed ever since) and maybe because I find the album to be the best presentation of any score in this series. Not so much in terms of content (what it includes/doesn't include), but rather how well it flows from track to track and is over in no time. Rare for a 2+ hour work. Karol
I don't hate the song. It's strangely produced and the vocals are far cry from standards set by other films, but there is something about its folksy quality that makes it somewhat appropriate for this film. In other words: I get the intention, it's just the awkward execution that leaves much to be desired. Karol
This depends on are we literal minded with the usage of any and all the themes or do we choose to see this kind of thematic use as expanding the original subtextual meaning of the motif. Others choose to believe it was all a wicked PJ plot as he loved the theme so much he wanted to use it for those scenes in RotK and others consider this just a new fitting application of the thematic material, which Shore came up with and considered to be apt. LotR scores are special for their thematic density, meaning that there is an individual motif for so many small aspects of the story alongside with the larger ideas. In such a musical structure these small ideas are so specific leitmotifs for these individual things, places, characters or emotions that it feels a bit odd for them to suddenly gain a new meaning. Good examples are the Ringwraith theme and the Gondor Reborn theme at the end of the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. On the other hand to my mind the use of Nature's Reclamation as a symbol of Good and the inherent rightness of Middle Earth itself, which is carried through the Rohirrim into battle against the Evil in RotK, is a very poignant and beautiful thematic subtext, one which I can certainly accept. I guess the gist of this all is that I can certainly buy a use of theme if it has some kind of acceptable logic or connection to the action at hand in the film.
How is it easy to tell? The orchestration is 99% the same, and the same orchestra that performed LotR also performed the Hobbit. How does listening to the symphony make tracking easy to spot? It's not like the symphony recording was used in the film. The Rivendell scene is most certainly tracked. And even if it isn't, it's an exact copy.