Title - 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince' - OST
Artist - Nicholas Hooper
I don't think you could go about this CD looking for a theme as memorable as "Hedwig's Theme". John Williams truly set the scene for Harry Potter when he composed that ubiquitous melody, and I dare say that it would not be matched throughout all 8 Harry Potter films. So what is there on the original score to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince?
Where John Williams (and to some extent Patrick Doyle) amazed with bombastic arrangements and compositions that soared and dived to the excitement of Harry Potter music fans, Nicholas Hooper, in his score for Half-Blood Prince has matched with subtlety and melancholy.
I think it suits the tone and mood of the film perfectly. It took some time getting into this score for this 6th Harry Potter film - because it simply was not immediately engaging. But after watching the movie, and relieving the emotion I first had when I finished reading the book (immense sadness punctured by tiny rays of hope), it occurred to me that Nicholas Hooper was not going for "hook" and "hummability" - what's the point when the best melody has already been created! He went after ambience and atmosphere. This makes the score feel so different to all the previous 5 scores. The score might not recreate scenes for some (for me it does) but it makes you relive the experience.
While I am extremely pleased for the existence of "Hedwig's Theme" (it represents all things Harry Potter to me), I can't help but see that if Harry Potter's world had music, it would be the type contained in this score. Not outrageously showy, not blockbuster-ish, not magnificent. Tracks like "Ron's Victory" don't do the trick for me. I get transported to Harry Potter's world when I listen to "Harry & Hermione", "Dumbledore's Farewell", "Opening", "In Noctem" and "The Friends". These pieces are lush, heartfelt and enchanting. In particular "The Killing of Dumbledore" - such a significant moment in the entire HP series - the crescendo of strings and atmospheric background is excellent composition.
I applaud Nicholas Hooper for coming up with something new and faithful for the Harry Potter films. The score is clearly tinged with Celtic, baroque, jazz flavours over an ambient soundscape. I have to say us Harry Potter fans are truly blessed with such a remarkable collection of music from genius composers to remind us of this magical world long after the books have been read and reread, and the films watched and rewatched. [LF]