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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 by Alexandre Desplat


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I'll have to listen to this score again, and of course in the context of the film. I listened to some select tracks again and still feel a bit of disappointment. I guess I expected something a bit different, even from the clips I heard. I'm sure it'll grow on me a bit more, and I do really want to hear those 6 unreleased tracks when they come out...

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Yeah, joelparnis, I agree totally on that. I know it seems silly but to me that is the most memorable track on the OST! lol. I really mean that in a good way though. It was fun and original.

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and MMUK has given a five star rating (but Broxton's five star ratings have the credibility of ditch water sometimes).

Broxton emphasized that he loves Desplat's work, and that he firmly believes Desplat is an emerging composer to keep an eye on. He wears that fact on his sleeve proudly.

I do agree with Broxton more than I disagree with him ('Goblet of Fire' is definitely not a 5 star score).

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It's amazing how a simple idea can be so radically different in the hands of someone with greater skill.

It's one of the things I love about composers in the vein of Desplat or Herrmann. They take basic constructs and build amazing work around them.

Could you elaborate, please. Point out to me these basic constructs so perhaps I can also appreciate this music more after figuring out these structures. As it is I am not thoroughly enjoying this music as I find it hard to catch even one basic central musical idea that would somehow ground the whole score for me.

What we mean is that take that repeating 16th note alternating string figure. Zimmer uses something like that as the main idea. The central focus is that line. Desplat uses it more as a vehicle to support his melodic ideas. As the track unfolds, you will hear he moves into further harmonic directions (using 7th chords alternating between I-IV degrees) until the track climaxes with that expository thematic gesture. Desplat returns to the unadorned string figure at its conclusion for balance and a sense of closure. He not only thinks in terms of underscoring the scene but also the architecture of the music itself. This is what differentiates him from seriously most of the composers working in Hollywood currently. They think only in reaction to what's happening visually (I honestly blame DAWs for this as barely anyone spots the film, takes timings then SHUTS OFF THEIR MONITOR and writes music away from the picture the way every composer did 20 years ago). Desplat works with MOTU DP but he must at some point divorce himself from the distractions of the visuals and exist in the domain of pure music, where that is the central focus.

I don't think it's the tools in most cases. Desplat just thinks and operates the way classic film composers did. He writes music, not aural wallpaper. He uses expansive harmonies but contrasts them with simple motivic ideas or minimalist cellular approach and builds his music from there (but not "layering" it as so many do).

The other thing I love about Desplat is that he's not afraid to write for exposed instruments. Unlike a MV string line which is doubled to hell with electronics, winds, brass, the kitchen sink (often but not always), Desplat's string line is so clear you can hear the rosin on the bows practically. For me, I like that sound. I love John Powell's HTTYD but parts of it really frustrate me because my ears get tired from all the density- there's barely any textural contrast. Desplat's approach never wears on my ears. There's balance.

Hope this explains it.

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I may be the only one here who actually, so far anyway, likes Goblet of Fire's score more than this one. At least that score had some memorable themes, even though the style was different than Williams.

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I'm noticing a lot of people crediting Conrad Pope for the score's purported similarity to Williams' sound. Obviously, Pope does very fine work, but is there any evidence to suggest that Desplat's sketches are less detailed than Williams'? How do we know that Desplat isn't just doing a good job of writing within that style? Why does that credit have to go to the orchestrator?

I can only speak for myself, but my credit to Pope was entirely tongue-in-cheek.

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I may be the only one here who actually, so far anyway, likes Goblet of Fire's score more than this one. At least that score had some memorable themes, even though the style was different than Williams.

Well I haven't heard Desplat's score, other than the samples available, and I'll wait until it becomes available in stores but I'm one of the few here who thinks Doyle did a very good job.

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The other thing I love about Desplat is that he's not afraid to write for exposed instruments. Unlike a MV string line which is doubled to hell with electronics, winds, brass, the kitchen sink (often but not always), Desplat's string line is so clear you can hear the rosin on the bows practically. For me, I like that sound. I love John Powell's HTTYD but parts of it really frustrate me because my ears get tired from all the density- there's barely any textural contrast. Desplat's approach never wears on my ears. There's balance.

We're very alike in this regard. I LOVE the physics of the instruments, if you will. And this is a purely metaphorical statement, but I love it when a piece is so detailed and focused that you can almost hear the dust jumping off the strings of a piano when the keys are struck. :lol:

Ironically it was part of the reason I got into Hans Zimmer back in the 90s. His synth music had such a new and different texture than what we were used to. Fast forward, and now that everyone is doing it to death and nothing else, yawn.

Desplat and Giacchino seem to have a lot of appreciation for this "dust on the piano strings", "rosin on the bows" aspect of writing music....sometimes just letting the physics of instruments do some of the work for them.

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This score works well in the film I'm sure, but on its own? Doesn't hold together for me. Moments in the score which should be amazing set pieces don't gather the necessary steam and after listening, absolutely nothing lingered.

My Desplat collection is unlikely to start here, unfortunately.

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Glad someone else agrees with me, richuk, heh. My opinion may change after the movie but somehow I doubt it. There are only a few times when I hear a score before seeing the film that afterwards it changed my mind due to use in the film or unreleased music (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and How To Train Your Dragon are the most recent examples for me). So far to me the positive response is a bit overrated. I really wish I liked it more, really. We shall see.

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Hermione's parents is one track i'm not quite getting fully where it sits in the story, guess i will have to wait and see.

Based on the comments by those who saw the viewing in Chicago (in July, I believe), the scene with Hermione's parents is one of the first few scenes of the film. It has also been said that the scene was brief, so the track could span multiple scenes or be used to score a conversation about Hermione's parents rather than the scene they are seen in.

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Fiery Angel, just wanted to let you know that you reflected my thoughts exactly with the first track of the album. Was listening to it earlier this evening and admired how that basic ostinato was crafted into something that built tension and was actually interesting to listen to.

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Before the movies I always imagined Harry Potter sounding something more like "Lovegood" than say...."Hedwig's Theme." It's really strange, I love the Lovegood track for that reason. Back when James Horner was rumored to score SS, I always thought maybe that's something we could get. And then John Williams put his own amazing soundscape to it, and my brain changed.

It just sounds more British (I guess it's the quirkiness of it) than John Williams' refined Romantic sensibilities.

For those looking for themes, I can easily identify the theme that permeates Lovegood, it's in a bunch of tracks. It's the dominant theme of the album. But it's so radically developed and changed throughout you have to listen a couple of times to the album to pick up on all its appearances. There's also the propulsive Deatheater's/bad guy theme, heard in Snape to Malfoy Manor.

There's a lot of other things that you can remember, but can't necessarily hum to, so while there's a richness of ideas that recur through the album, it's not melodramatic to the degree of boom I can hum this in my sleep. I'd liken it very much to Quantum of Solace. A very intelligent score, rich, but yet not hummable. But if you hear it, you know it and remember it instantly. The treatment of Hedwig's theme is much like the treatment of the 007 theme in Quantum of Solace. Restrained but effective.

If you're looking for easy melodies, look elsewhere.

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The other thing I love about Desplat is that he's not afraid to write for exposed instruments. Unlike a MV string line which is doubled to hell with electronics, winds, brass, the kitchen sink (often but not always), Desplat's string line is so clear you can hear the rosin on the bows practically. For me, I like that sound. I love John Powell's HTTYD but parts of it really frustrate me because my ears get tired from all the density- there's barely any textural contrast. Desplat's approach never wears on my ears. There's balance.

We're very alike in this regard. I LOVE the physics of the instruments, if you will. And this is a purely metaphorical statement, but I love it when a piece is so detailed and focused that you can almost hear the dust jumping off the strings of a piano when the keys are struck. :lol:

Yeah - there are even times at which Desplat writes a solo line that is more extended and exposed than what Williams might write. Williams writes plenty of solos, but they tend to come off as mini concertos, very developed and centered around the solo instrument. Desplat's use of solo instruments, particularly woodwinds, feels a bit more abrupt and daring. We'll be in the middle of an action track, and then all of the sudden we'll get a flagrant clarinet figure. It's extremely antithetical to today's "wall of sound" approach. So, kudos to Desplat for that.

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I have heard after the 7th film part 2 release they are going to release an expanded Harry Potter Soundtrack for all 7 films is this true? I usually buy the soundtrack before watching the movie, but if what I said is true then I just wait until after the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II releases.

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I know...but I don't know. And if I knew, I wouldn't tell you. But I did tell you, a while ago, but it vanished, so now you can't know...unless it's buried in your memory. And if it is, then I have to kill you.

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Here's a few notes:

1)This score is the epitome of mediocrity

2)To me it's the second worse score in the HP series after Half Blood Prince

3)Williams in full generic "Jango's Escape" mode can write better action cues than Sky Battle

4)Desplat has written much better music than this, even Twilight New Moon is better

5)Destroying the Locket is the only cue I like

6)Contrary to presumed popular belief I didn't want Desplat to use Williams themes, but he sure has hell could have come up with something decent...except he didn't

I have heard after the 7th film part 2 release they are going to release an expanded Harry Potter Soundtrack for all 7 films is this true?

I don't know, where have you "heard" this?

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This score works well in the film I'm sure, but on its own? Doesn't hold together for me. Moments in the score which should be amazing set pieces don't gather the necessary steam and after listening, absolutely nothing lingered.

My Desplat collection is unlikely to start here, unfortunately.

Just to clarify this for me: all this talk is still based on those 30 second previews, and not the entire soundtrack, right? Otherwise I may have missed something ...

If you want to hear my two cents (and I doubt you do), I find these samples very promising, but I hate hate hate those string patterns like in tracks 1 and 2. It just sounds cheap to me.

Now, if this thing only had a couple of interesting themes, coupled with the texture these samples provide, we may have a winner.

But I'm still not convinced, based on the little preview, that Desplat is up to the key scenes in part 2.

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Well, then ... you know, I think both OOtP and HBP are two of the worst blockbuster scores written in the past decade, and my expectations are not high, but even I wouldn't judge a 75 minute release based on a total of 10 minutes of samples.

EDIT: Er, forget I said that ...

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Just to clarify this for me: all this talk is still based on those 30 second previews, and not the entire soundtrack, right? Otherwise I may have missed something ...

You certainly missed the illegal download party down at megaupload's...

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1)This score is the epitome of mediocrity

Yeah, Desplat shockingly refused to write a big romantic Hollywood score and now you're fucked.... ;)

I only heard the tracks on youtube and it sure is rather detached and not easily digestible as even Doyle's score is. There are, on the other hand, some interesting things going on musically and it seems a good score to invest some listening time in.

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4)Desplat has written much better music than this, even Twilight Eclipse is better

That'd be New Moon. ;)

In any case, it's kind of satisfying to see so many negative opinions. I haven't listened to it yet, but it seems like my impressions from the sound clips were right.

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Yeah, Desplat shockingly refused to write a big romantic Hollywood score and now you're fucked.... ;)

I'm not a Desplat hater. I have a bunch of his stuff and I can get into it. But he doesn't seem to be suited for this type of score

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In any case, it's kind of satisfying to see so many negative opinions. I haven't listened to it yet, but it seems like my impressions from the sound clips were right.

It's pari/pari, i would guess. It is obviously not fulfilling the high expectations which for the most part seemed idiotic, anyway. The main problem seems to be that there is a lot of rather quiet european writing on the album which doesn't sit too well with fans of the Disney-ified Williams writing for the first films.

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Yeah, Desplat shockingly refused to write a big romantic Hollywood score and now you're fucked.... ;)

I'm not a Desplat hater. I have a bunch of his stuff. But he doesn't seem to be suited for this type of score

I hear you, but it will work in the film and WB seems to love it, so he must doing something right. I think that this type  of score may help to let the film seem more sophisticated. It certainly sounds more classy than Hoopers stuff.

I don;t think Williams is Disney-ified, he's just William's I hate most Disney scores(Menken)

Call it what you will, it's cutesy, old-fashioned stuff and as such it only can work within Columbus' vision. I presume even Williams would write much more starkly music for this by now.

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I think people, and of course the director, want to make something out of Harry Potter that it was never meant to be.

With all the gloom and doom going on, how could they handle it? I just wait for the concentration camp analogy which certainly pops up in the last movie...

On a positive note, tonight i saw GOBLET OF FIRE and found Doyle's score rather good. Some scenes are too loud, for sure, but it was all in good spirit and the HARRY IN WINTER stuff is on par with the romantic Williams stuff from POA. Given the bad rep it gets, i was pleasantly surprised.

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I was actually always curious as to why they never thought of asking David Arnold to do any of the Potter films. He certainly has an impressive list of films he composed, and has a good range. But the thing I always wanted to hear in Deathly Hallows was exciting action tracks. People say Part 1 won't have much action, but it does. If Williams wasn't able to do Potter, I always thought of Arnold as a good 2nd choice. Hell, isn't he even British? lol.

That's kind of why I'm even more excited now to hear David Arnold's score for the new Narnia film this year. It'd probably give us perhaps a decent idea of what he could have done on a Potter film. Hell, I read in the other thread he is even going to use the theme from the other Narnia films, too. So I bet he would have also respected Williams work if he was brought on here. Interesting.

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HARRY IN WINTER stuff is on par with the romantic Williams stuff from POA.

;) And people say "Harry's Wondrous World" is sappy...

...which it is...

...but this is way sappier, and without the delicious Williams-ness.

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Two things I have to say:

1) Desplat's score captivates me.

2) that there doesn't seem to be ANY kind of musical identity for ANY character is dissapointing beyond words.

I was actually always curious as to why they never thought of asking David Arnold to do any of the Potter films. He certainly has an impressive list of films he composed, and has a good range. But the thing I always wanted to hear in Deathly Hallows was exciting action tracks. People say Part 1 won't have much action, but it does. If Williams wasn't able to do Potter, I always thought of Arnold as a good 2nd choice. Hell, isn't he even British? lol.

David Arnold would be truly terrible.

Not only does his action stuff sound pretty much all the same, I also don't need electronics in this score.

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I've been listening to the score, but I couldn't listen to it completely so far. I lost interest after "Sky Battle" for some reason. I need to sit and listen to it in a complete form, I know. It's just that right now I don't feel like doing so...

However, I must say that I have never been that interested in the Potter franchise. I read until "Phoenix" and I lost interest after that. Same with the movies: I watched until POA (long before I knew Williams was the composer or who he was) and I found them very boring to say the least. And that's suprising, considering I really enjoy reading fantasy-themed books. But I never really connected with the Potter franchise, I don't know exactly why...

However, I have to admit that I don't like they're trying to make the series something so "serious" and "dark" and all that emo-modern thing. I mean, Voldemort beating up Harry?? What the hell!? And it's curious to see they're trying to make the films so "mature" (pfff) while keeping the PG-13 rating.

And this doesn't affect the scores only. Apart from Columbus' films, they all feel different. Different director, diffent cinematography, different music... You get my point. These should be films that are part of the same universe, and therefore you have to keep a certain similar stylistic elements. This means more than to keep the same actors.

I mean, look at the first three Star Wars films. Or the LOTR films. They all look and feel like they are part of the same world and the same period of years, right? And now look at HP... Granted, you can change the tone from one film to another (ANH to ESB, ESB to ROTJ) but at least keep the goddamn cinematography similar, for God's sake!

But I know... After all, I always thought that although JK checks the scripts, she doesn't really care about the rest. Maybe she cares about the actors, but I have never seen her talking about the cinematography, the sound effects or the music... Maybe she isn't asked, but she could say stuff on her own. I don't know, really. And I don't care.

Anyway, that's my disorganised opinion.

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HARRY IN WINTER stuff is on par with the romantic Williams stuff from POA.

;) And people say "Harry's Wondrous World" is sappy...

...which it is...

...but this is way sappier, and without the delicious Williams-ness.

Oh please, the Doyle tune runs circles around the sappy family theme from HPPS. Thank god that thing was abandoned by Part III.

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The score sounds ok, even nice at times but nothing more than mediocre. That means completely apart from continuity this Potter score is a mediocre effort and on its own pretty dissapointing even compared to for example Hoppers Order of the Phoenix score. No sweeping and memorable themes and no real recognizable structure.

It seems it's just a mish mash of small underdeveloped motives.

Then there is the (usual) huge dissapointment in continuity. I'm not talking just about Williams themes. Why not use Doyle's Harry in Winter or even Hoopers "Flight of the Order of the Phoenix". As a composer you can't just completely ignore all the themes of a SIX movie franchise ( 50sec of the main theme is close to nothing).

For me that's an arrogant and creatively extremely poor decision, whichevers fault it was.

Is it just me or dont you think that the motif (it is no theme) this score is built around is really underwhelming.

I like some of the more Williams influenced tracks like Polyjuice Potion or Sky Battle. Also the Lovegood track is lovely and Snape to Malfoy's Manor has a nice dark power.

To be honest, i didnt know Alexandre Desplat before this score. So i can't compare his previous efforts but considered the chance this Potter movie provided for him, it is extremely dissapointing that he didnt deliver something more worthy in the end.

This is lightyears behind all Williams scores and on par with Hoopers Order of the Phoenix. As Potter music it is in front of Doyle's GoF but as music without connection to the film it even ends below GoF.

Alexandre Desplat definetly isnt the hope for near future score masterpieces. Maybe he will be 20 years from now but this Potter proves the opposite for the near future.

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Oh please, the Doyle tune runs circles around the sappy family theme from HPPS. Thank god that thing was abandoned by Part III.

;) That thing is the very definition of cheese. Actually, it's not even cheese. It's cheese product.

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I don't think anyone should measure this score by its level of accurate continuity, there was little chance for that in the first place.

I detest Hooper's transparent and bland music, so saying Deathly Hallows ranks below him basically sounds as wrong to me as anything. Desplat's score actually uses the entire orchestra, and not only in just generic ways, but also in some interesting fashion.

After Hooper's amateurish slugfest, I enjoy that "European" restrained style.

I would consider Deathly Hallows a true winner if Desplat had actually written any sort of theme that lasts more than a few notes.

That he, once again, completely ignores the films before, is the only thing that holds me back from giving this a 5/5 rating (that and the generic action stuff).

And if you draw material from previous films, then go to Williams, or if you must, Doyle, but not Hooper for heaven's sake!

"Flight of the Order of the Phoenix" would just drag the score down to a lower level, not to mention that this was never used as any sort of thematic material by Hooper himself.

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After reading all these negative posts and listening to the samples on the official site I'm really looking forward to hearing this even more because that means it's probably better than I even expected.

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Everyone stop judging that score until you've seen it with the film. Desplat's work always had this perfect subtle touch to things, its never too loud or too low, its just perfect. Granted I'll agree that most of his music doesn't stand on its own but this is about the film after all. I also find some of the mood pieces to be very beautiful just from the 30 sec preview, I can't wait to hear what he's got!

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Everyone stop judging that score until you've seen it with the film. Desplat's work always had this perfect subtle touch to things, its never too loud or too low, its just perfect. Granted I'll agree that most of his music doesn't stand on its own but this is about the film after all.

Substitute "Desplat" with "Hooper", and it's the same toss that was said by Hooper-lovers two years ago.

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It's funny how much this has divided people. I like the score, it is a good mature piece of writing that captures the tone of the novel for the most part with some absolute stand out cues. Desplat uses his orchestra to gorgeous effect and to all those who are saying this is mediocre at best... Well, enjoy never being happy with anything but Williams it seems, and as we get further into the next decade his scores will become fewer and fewer.

Just because a score doesn't have a loud and out there theme does not make it mediocre. Putting this score, which has some beautifully subtle and intricate work, among the ranks of HBP and OotP implies deafness more than anything else. You clearly are not actually listening properly to the music. You will never hear a 'When Ginny kissed Harry' in a Desplat score, his writing has far more going on than that, and if you can't hear it... well, your loss.

Maybe it's because I enjoy desplat's work in general, but he is a smart writer who's scores do more than fill the background of a film with sound, they build atmosphere and carry emotional weight through each note without being intrusive in anyway. Go watch Benjamin button, or the Queen to feel his music at work. I'm almost certain this score will work beautifully with images on a screen. And I can't wait to feel the music as I watch DH for the first time.

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Everyone stop judging that score until you've seen it with the film. Desplat's work always had this perfect subtle touch to things, its never too loud or too low, its just perfect. Granted I'll agree that most of his music doesn't stand on its own but this is about the film after all.

Substitute "Desplat" with "Hooper", and it's the same toss that was said by Hooper-lovers two years ago.

I enjoyed Hooper's work on potter and the order of phoenix. It was melodic and far better than doyle work. Hooper's work on the 6th harry potter did disappoint but I'm going to blame that one on the film makers for wanting him to sound like Trailer music/ Zimmer when he clearly shown he can do well.

I also don't understand why everyone wants Williams to be back? the harry potter series have moved from the magical kid years to teen whinny drama times. Didn't William's say all he had to say about that with the last two Starwars? I think the maestro is looking for projects with that magical touch. Honestly I always wondered why he never went out and composed a ballet. Its very clear who he is trying to Rival with all the harry potter and Home alone and all of Spielberg's kid films. I'll let everyone guess that one.

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After a couple of listens, the following thoughts have become clear to me:

Thematically speaking, the score is not obvious. Most of the cues work subtly in their development and there's scarcely even one "big" thematic statement or repeated choice of instrumentation. Considering how the nature of this film is shaping up from reports - that the characters are on the run, unsure of each other and without the familiarity of Hogwarts and their friends - this seems an appropriate choice.

The thing that stands out to me most is Desplat's skill at instrumentation and colour. It all seems quite deliberate; I don't get the impression that much of the material is "interchangeable", orchestration-wise. I think this is an important skill, as many contemporary composers give the impression that they sit down at a piano and work out a passage or a theme without hearing any particular instrumentation in their head. Automatically this creates a sense of genericness. I wouldn't say much of this music is generic, except for maybe a few passages of the heavy action music that does sound a little Williams-on-autopilot-y. Certainly not on the level of "generic brooding" which I experience with Hooper's scores.

Interestingly, even after listening to the whole OST, my favourite moment in everything I've heard is that gorgeous clarinet melody at around 56 seconds in "Polyjuice Potion". I quite like this theme and notice that it pops up here and there in some unexpected ways. I was incredibly impressed when I realised an altered version of it is the basis of the "Harry and Ginny" track. Speaking of "Harry and Ginny", I find this one hauntingly beautiful. For some reason it really reminds me of James Hannigan's music for the OotP and HBP games, specifically "Wandering Night". Yeah they're not really that similar... they both have piano.... whatever.

I think, for me, this is a listening experience that will be rewarding over time, as more and more of the subtleties are "unlocked" so to speak and I understand more what's happening. Also, watching the film for the first time will undoubtedly have an impact.

So... It's good. But I'm not sure how much I like it yet.

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