Album Remarks & Appraisals:
The score for Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is composed by Golden Globe award winning and Academy Award nominated film composer,Alexandre Desplat. Desplat follows John Williams, Patrick Doyle and Nicholas Hooper in composing music for the Harry Potter series. Williams composed the first three films, Doyle scored the fourth film, while Hooper worked on the soundtracks for the fifth and sixth films.Desplat stated that he would compose until September 2010, with the soundtrack being released on 16 November 2010, three days before the film's release date. A 4-disc Limited Edition Collector's Box Set was also released on 21 December 2010.
"And so it comes to an end. The final chapter of the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series is nigh. The seventh and penultimate film adaptation of the series of novels signals the film franchise's imminent 10th year in existence, and with it comes the inevitable and insatiable hunger for pure unadulterated fantasy and adventure. For a series approaching its eighth iteration, Harry Potter has shown remarkable endurance in an ever-changing and unremittingly demanding industry. One staggering measure of its success is the fact that over the course of the first six films, the gross revenue has amounted to approximately $5million, a figure that is over four times the total budget for the six films. Such financial returns are the result of a synergy of numerous people and circumstances. The immense popularity of the novels is a good start, but purely in terms of film, the way in which the themes and tone of the series has developed ensures audiences never grow weary of the magical adventures.
From the optimistic and upbeat tonality of the first films, the series has taken a gradual turn into darkness. As the audience has grown up with the characters themselves, they understandably demand a more complex narrative that is of a more mature nature when compared to the earlier films. With this evolution the score has similarly been transformed, out of necessity. ALEXANDRE DESPLAT's efforts heard in part 1 of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS continue the descent into darkness.
As with any score in the series, that of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS has been the recipient of continuous and fervent anticipation from the insatiable legions of score fans and film fans alike. The fact that director David Yates, being so impressed with the score immediately hired Desplat for work on the second part only heightens the already stratospheric expectations. Such pressure is only heightened when one realizes that the series began with John Williams and a collection of instantly recognizable themes. To the dismay of countless fans, the heights achieved by Williams in the first three films were never quite reached in the subsequent offerings. However, one indication that this score may be a return to form is the presence of Conrad Pope as the score's orchestrator, as he was for the opening three films.
One fear that arises once a franchise takes the inevitable 'dark turn', is that the score will suffer as a result of this significant change. Often scores are justifiably labeled as generic and lacking in imagination once the mature themes take hold. The opening of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS makes no apparent effort to quell such fears, as demonstrated in "Oblivate". While pleasing to the ear and fitting with the tone, the repeating string ostinato brings the likes of Zimmer's "Batman" theme to mind, rather than that of Harry Potter. The following track, "Snape to Malfoy Manor" begins in a similar fashion, with the pulsing strings acting as the driving force, a force that later returns in the latter stages of "Death Eaters".
Throughout THE DEATHLY HALLOWS it becomes difficult to establish exactly what Desplat intended the film's main theme to be. Traces of a rising and inspirational theme can be heard in the previously mentioned "Oblivate" while a more traditional theme graces the opening moments of "Polyjuice Potion".
While the opening tracks display Desplat's obvious proficiency, it is in "Sky Battle" that Desplat really lets loose with a constantly shifting action piece. One of the standout pieces of the score, "Sky Battle" offers a statement of intent during its first forty seconds as the bold brass triumphantly enters the fray, before the cacophony of strings and brass begins moments later. The piece truly lives up to its name as it rarely lets up in its variety of tone and pace.
While the search for a true theme for the film continues, Desplat still manages to find ways to evoke the emotions that are required. It is true to say that the score struggles to establish its own identity, but it cannot be said that Desplat ever becomes entirely predictable. "Harry and Ginny" puts the breaks on the intensity as the softness of the piano and strings emphasize the more emotional side of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. This change seems to be instantly forgotten in "The Will" as the triumphant brass begins to stir once more, but this is quickly subdued as the tone returns to a more somber one as the most memorable of all of the series' themes creeps in.
A much-needed foray into one of the film's rare themes can be heard in "Dobby". The brass echoes the suspenseful progression before the driving strings return. This theme returns in "The Locket" as the tension ramps up in the closing seconds. The suspense created in "Dobby" is quickly opposed by the mischievous tone of "Ministry of Magic", another example of the stronger themes to be heard in the score. "Fireplaces Escape" ramps up the pace of the score in its opening and closing moments. The tumultuous and jarring strings and brass combination only momentarily lets up in the middle of the piece.
Desplat manages to provide THE DEATHLY HALLOWS with a prominent duality in its personality and does so in particularly impressive fashion in "Ron Leaves". The subtle duel between somber strings and defiantly triumphant brass works well to evoke a simultaneous sense of loss and optimism. This duality continues in "Destroying The Locket". The atmosphere in this track begins with the sense of adventure of adventure but this tone is quickly subdued by omnipresent unease before the dissonant and climactic close.
"Ron's Speech", a light and easy listening experience, is a foreshadowing of the events to come, acting as a final moment of optimism before the film descends into its conclusion, ending with the inevitable cliffhanger leading into part 2. "Captured and Tortured" begins the final approach towards the end with a strong reliance on percussion, before a subdued and suspenseful end that paves the way for "Rescuing Hermione". The mere mention of the word "Rescue" evokes images of heroism and similar feelings within the music. However the piece never reaches heroic heights, rather it maintains constant tension in its strong variation. As part 1 leads into part 2, the propulsive strings heard earlier in the score make a return to accompany the characters descent into their ultimate fate in "The Elder Wand".
Long-time fans of the Harry Potter films and in particular the scores no doubt be disheartened by the news that Desplat does little to hark back to Williams' memorable themes heard in the genesis of the saga. This does not render THE DEATHLY HALLOWS redundant however. Desplat clearly intended to stamp his own identity on the score, and does so, often expertly. However, he unfortunately does not manage to give the film the standout theme it so clearly craves and surely deserves. For fans of Desplat, THE DEATHLY HALLOWS is strongly recommended, but for others it may serve as a reminder that replacing Williams is often a feat that remains unaccomplished." - TrackSounds
"When most people think of score, they think of the epic, full orchestral versions that work to drive the emotion and pace of a film. Over the years, scores have been expanded on, electrified, and stripped down, but HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 delivers a score that echoes the more classic, aforementioned style with booming percussion, full strings, and triumphant horns.
As we come to the close of the series, the story has slowly, but surely, gotten increasingly darker as the looming threat of retaliation against Harry's very existence grows near. The song titles alone show that there is not much in THE DEATHLY HALLOWS outside of struggle, strife and, as the film's title suggests, death.
The tone of this seventh installment is one of foreboding, which never dissipates. The tag line on the posters for THE DEATHLY HALLOWS states: "No where is safe" - a simple statement that could not be truer. Composer Alexandre Desplat (FANTASTIC MR. FOX, TWILIGHT: NEW MOON) has created a score that is the emotional embodiment of everything we see on screen and, more impressive, probably felt while reading the book. Even in its softest and most understated moments, each piece links to the next to create the soundscape of Harry's world and what it has become in its darkest hour.
Each track succeeds in creating the feeling of the scene or character it represents. The slightly off, possibly sinister, motives behind "Bathilda Bagshot" are present in every off-putting note while the strings almost sing out in agony in "Captured and Tortured." Although the overall tone of the film and the score is tumultuous, we get a few moments of levity on tracks such as "Lovegood," which is a bit brighter, much like Mr. Lovegood himself, as the wind instruments take the forefront.
Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) truly came into his own in THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, and he gets two tracks to his name to prove it. The audience see, and hear, his growth from rash frustration in "Ron Leaves" to understanding of his role in his relationships with Hermonie (Emma Watson) and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) in "Ron's Speech."
The series has never shied away from death, and Desplat does well to take one of the more emotional moments in THE DEATHLY HALLOWS on "Farewell to Dobby," creating a beautiful piece that is certainly sad and mournful, but at the same time, almost hopeful. I felt this piece perfectly embodied not just the spirit of what keeps this trio moving forward despite all the obstacles standing in their way, but stayed true to Dobby's character as well.
Desplat is without question a brilliant composer and he delivers a score that not only helps to drive the action, but also round out the more melancholy moments of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. Within the film, the score works to give you goose bumps in both the adrenaline charged scenes and the quiet emotional ones. But the soundtrack is an opus (almost 30 tracks in total) and I found it lost a bit of the magic (pardon the pun) outside of the film. The score is accomplished and layered, but on its own, it starts to drag. I admit - I tend to grow tired of any score that attempts to include every moment within the film on the accompanying soundtrack. Minute long clips here and there are certainly important in the film, but a more succinct version may translate better to the soundtrack itself.
Potter fans and music fans alike should enjoy the soundtrack, but fewer tracks would have allowed certain pieces to stand out more instead of getting diluted by the group." - GordanAndTheWhale
Audio Mixers: Sam O'Kell; Peter Cobbin.
Liner Note Authors: David Yates ; Alexandre Desplat.
Recording information: Abbey Road Studios.
The seventh and penultimate entry into the internationally successful Harry Potter franchise is also one of the series' darkest, and composer Alexander Desplat (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Queen, The Painted Veil) infuses the young wizard's world with the appropriate amount of gravitas. It's been a decade since John Williams set the tone for the films, and his original theme exists only in the shadows of Harry Potter & Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1. Desplat's score is both subtle and huge, lending quiet emotional depth ("Harry & Ginny"), playful wickedness ("Death Eaters"), and tense, robust action ("The Oblivation") with masterful precision. Film series that employ this many different composers (and directors, for that matter) rarely find cohesion, and this first installment of Deathly Hallows does nothing in the way to tarnish that achievement. ~ James Christopher Monger
Submitted on 11/20/10 by Gavin Dixon
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