I have to say, that since purchasing it from Amazon, I have just not stopped playing it. It is so enjoyable and relaxing to listen to.
The first tune returns to Hedwig's Theme which is the opening tune for the film, it promises much excitement and does not disappoint. The great thing about this soundtrack is that it is cleverly written to suit the scene of the film it is referring to. You can visualise the theme in your mind.
The tracks I particularly adore are:
Hedwig's Theme Lumos.
Aunt Marge's Waltz.
The Knight Bus.
Apparition On The Train.
A Window To The Past.
Secrets Of The Castle.
DOUBLE TROUBLE is a fantastic mediaeval number with choir, which incorporates harpsichord, organ and probably a few obsolete instruments to create an authentic and melodic piece. The words are taken from Shakespeare's Macbeth. This is a great piece for your selection of Halloween music.
AUNT MARGE'S WALTZ A great piece of music, full of grandeur and humour, which perfectly fits with the scene of Aunt Marge floating into the sky in the film. There are parts of this tune that are reminiscent of Saint-Saens.
THE KNIGHT BUS Is a clever mix of classical instruments and modern jazz to create a busy and confused piece. There is plenty of use of brass, creating the sound of a car horn, and screeching of tires which fits with the Knight Bus as it takes its mad journey through the streets of London. I particularly like the bit with the clever use of accordian, that is meant to depict the part where the Knight Bus has squeeze in to get through 2 buses. It makes you feel kind of weird and dreamlike.
APPARITION ON THE TRAIN Well this is damn spooky and haunting to say the least. When you listen to this, you feel that you are surely faced with death or worse! But it doesn't make you feel depressed, its just extremely powerful. There is a lot of strings in this one. Even if you hadn't watched POA film you would know that this piece is meant to reflect some impending horror, and it surely relays this to full effect.
BUCKBEAT'S FLIGHT Absolutely amazing, I think this piece has to be my very favourite on the whole album. It is truly majestic and powerful. I am close to tears when I listen to this. This is so fitting for the scene of Harry Potter flying on Buckbeat its incredible. I turn it up loud in the car, and when no-one is looking I spread my arms out and pretend I am also flying. It sounds crazy but try it, it will make you feel truly out of this world.
A WINDOW TO THE PAST My other favourite. The haunting and melancholy flute/whistle makes you feel several emotions at once. Sadness, sentiment,nostalgia, happiness and hope. This is used in the scene where Harry talks with Lupin about his parents and his past. It is also one of my favourite scenes in the movie, and you play the scene again and again in your mind with this piece. The flute is then joined by the most beautiful strings to create a soaring and powerful melody which tugs upon your heartstrings, truly wonderful.
SECRETS OF THE CASTLE Starts with a very mystical and magical twinkling of glockenspiel and harp and then changes to this beautiful little pause which is the most sentimental and romantic little piece of music I've ever heard. This part is played in the film where a little leaf from the Whomping Willow floats down the to ground, it is just lovely.
MISCHIEF MANAGED This one is a medley of all the themes, and revisits each one, with the interlocking tunes as well. So its a good one if you want to listen to each theme again without breaks in between.
I would like to comment on all of them, but there isn't time, so I've selected my very favourites. If you are considering buying a Harry Potter Soundtrack, then start with this one, it is absolutely superb.
The whole score is clearly John Williams enjoying himself when, like the new director Alfonso Cuaron, he is given the freedom to play around in Harry's world, and he does it with aplomb, mixing jazz with medieval, suspense with humour, poignacy with action. Something Wicked This Way Comes is a wickedly clever turn on lyrics taken from Shakespeare's Macbeth and putting them to music that sounds like a distant relation to Hedwig's Theme, and yet different enough to make it stand out. This is followed with a short, soaring piece, 'Buckbeak's Flight' and then a slow, reverent track, 'A Window to the Past' that easily represents the loss Harry feels at never knowing his parents. The score continues to twist and turn in various directions and every track brings something new and enjoyable, but the leit-motif of Something Wicked This Way Comes is smartly and subtly used as a guiding line throughout, unlike the obvious repetitiveness present in prior Harry Potter scores.
With Prisoner of Azkaban John Williams has produced a wonderful score, which like the film itself, is easily the best of the series so far. It is a shame that, if the rumours are true, he won't be scoring Goblet of Fire, but whoever takes his place has a lot to live up too, but then if they get anywhere near to the quality and originality of this they will have done a good job.
Also, the usage of medieval musical instruments such as the harpsichord and flute in some tracks and the usage of jazz beats in a couple of tracks have managed to tie in old and new musical elements. This is perfect for a Harry Potter soundtrack because in a way, the Harry Potter world is a mixture of elements from the medieval and the modern world.
You just can't tell how happy I was when I heard classical and baroque elements in the soundtrack. Other than that, this soundtrack has Williams' signature musical cues inserted everywhere.
Anyways, on to the detailed review!
Aunt Marge's Waltz :
Very nicely composed piece of music. The rhythm is typical of a classical waltz and it is refreshing to hear classical music cues in a soundtrack made for a film set in the 21st century.
The Knight Bus :
Double Trouble :
The first piece of vocal track makes its appearance on a Harry Potter soundtrack. Very beautiful sung by a boys' choir and it captures the spirit of the Harry Potter books. The main recurring theme for this movie is also introduced in this track.
Buckbeak's Flight :
When I first listened to this track, it reminded me of music fit for a sweeping epic. Very majestic. Buckbeak's Theme is a lot well-composed than Fawkes' Theme in the previous movie. One can almost imagine the wind rushing past ears and the grand scenery below.
A Window To The Past :
Very Scottish-like. Very reminiscent to the ROTK soundtrack although this track is a lot sadder. The flute used has managed to achieve the sad/melancholy effect that Harry begins to find out more about his parents.
On the second thought, it occured to me that this cue is EXTREMELY similar to 'Across the Stars' from the 'Star Wars: Episode II'. Honestly! I realised that John Williams recycled some music from his earlier works into this album too.
The Portrait Gallery :
I'm beginning to really love this soundtrack. John Williams has introduced baroque-esque music in the beginning of this track. I'm assuming that Sir Cadogan will have a small part in this movie because the music really suits him.
Very nice combination of the harpsichord, flute and a full orchestra. This track possessed a unique Shakespearean epic quality to it. It's something that you'll expect to hear at the end of a great epic.
Mischief Managed :
This track is a wonderful medley of old and new themes in the Harry Potter films. It starts off with Hedwig's Theme followed quickly by the 'Flying Car' sequence music in CoS. Then, it sweeps in to the full orchestra version of 'Double Trouble' followed by a flute, a harpsichord and a violin (beautiful!) playing this theme.
Slowly, it quietens down to the theme where the harpsichord and the flute plays a pumped-up version of 'A Window To The Past'. Finally, it escalates into a full orchestra backing up the theme.
Then, Harry's theme cuts in, filled by loud bass drums, and sweeps into the Buckbeak theme. Once again, it is very epic-like. As it nears the ending, the 'Double Trouble' chorus makes its appearance again, as do 'The Knight Bus' and 'Aunt Marge's Waltz'.
Like all other Harry Potter soundtracks, this album ends with Hedwig's Theme.
A good buy, this album is.
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