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4.0 out of 5 stars
Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix OST
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2008
I'll be honest with you: I still believe that it would have been very interesting, compositionally, to hear what John Williams would have done had he had the opportunity to score all of the Harry Potter films. The fact remains that Patrick Doyle's score for The Goblet of Fire and Nicholas Hooper's work on The Order of the Phoenix are both excellent in their own right.

The theme used in "Professor Umbridge" reflects her character's fluffy and pompous nature, but it always hints at something being not quite right, which is clearly the case with Umbridge herself. "Another Story" begins with the obligatory snatch of Williams' `Hedwig's Theme' played over the title of the film, before it's replaced by a broken piano solo which mimics Harry's confused and isolated position at the start of the movie.

Both "Dumbledore's Army" and "The Room of Requirement" play over montage sequences showing the Hogwarts students' progress as they learn to defend themselves against the dangers that they are to come, and constitute the most buoyant and chipper themes in the score, although the latter has its dark moments. The conflict within Harry's soul is showcased in "Possession" as the low, sad strings of despair compete for dominance with the stronger theme of Harry's happier memories that eventually overrides it.

A tender new theme that plays over the conversations that Harry and Sirius share is included in "A Journey to Hogwarts", which ends with a jumpy tune as Harry and friends discover that Hagrid has returned. "The Sirius Deception" and "The Flight of the Order of the Phoenix" are stand out tracks for me purely because they represent the two scenes in the film involving flying, and regardless of how many times I've heard it, the music still makes my hair stand on end!

"Death of Sirius" features the music that accompanies the battle in the climax of the film, and whereas Patrick Doyle opted for excesses of brass in action scenes, Hooper prefers to go for up-and-down strings and carefully used percussion. Chorus sounds as Harry and his friends first rally together to face the Death-eaters, and also when the Order of the Phoenix arrive to save the day.

The only thing missing on this CD is Luna Lovegood's theme: there is a hint of it in "Loved Ones and Leaving", but not nearly enough. And perhaps a `Credits' track to make it a 60-minute CD, but overall I was pleasantly surprised by this soundtrack and now agree that inviting different composers to score the various films encourages a greater variety of sounds and a more dynamic mix of music.

*This review was previously a lot longer. When I realised that it was too long (and that another reviewer had imitated my style, which I in turn had imitated from Doug Adams of 'The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films'-fame) I changed it, making it shorter and more to the point.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 December 2007
This is, for me, perhaps the best HP soundtrack released to date! Different in feel yet with familiar themes running through it (i.e. Hedwig's Theme) this soundtrack mirrors Harry's journey into darker territory and towards adulthood.

The Order of the Phoenix is a darker story in the Harry Potter series and the music reflects that. Whilst Hooper weaves Hedwig's Theme into the tapestry of his soundtrack, he introduces new colour and depth through a range of subtle devices and new themes. The palette is broad and varied and produces interesting results.

However, whilst this soundtrack mirrors the darkness of the story set to it, there is also some fun and a little romance to be found. The album begins with `Fireworks' which showcases the rebellious and mischievous nature of the Weasley twins. Though this music appears much later in the film and is certainly not the first piece of music in the movie it opens the album on a joyous, happy and riotous note.

The lightness of touch in `Professor Umbridge' and `Umbridge Spoils a Beautiful Morning' is ironic considering the damage the character causes to others and the particularly vile and sadistic nature of her personality.

From what should be the first track of the score but is in fact the third - `Another Story' - we are forewarned of the darkness awaiting Harry and the wizarding community. Opening with Hedwig's Theme, it quickly descends into a troubling and haunting refrain. Followed by `Dementors in the Underpass' we are given clear signals that all is not well in the wizarding world and that danger is certainly approaching. Low chanting and menacing tones are broken only by the heavenly Patronus music on which this piece ends.

`Dumbledore's Army' begins softly and hints at Harry's feelings of doubt before breaking into rising swells of hope. Belief has been renewed and new bonds of friendship are being made. This is the establishment of a mini, youth OOTP.

`Hall of Prophecy' is deeply ominous. There is an uneasy feeling and the music ratchets up the tension. Hedwig's Theme can be heard in the background - transformed into a menacing backdrop to building anxiety and dread. Just listening you can imagine Death Eaters apparating all around and closing in for the kill. The piece builds to a fast moving climax, suggestive of the excitement of the chase through the Ministry.

The sinister strains of the Possession theme appear throughout the score and serve to highlight the insidious nature of Voldemort's rise to power and influence. `Possession' is ominous and creates a foreboding sense of menace.

`The Room of Requirement' is playful and the light, rather whimsical percussion alludes to the cat-and-mouse game of hide-and-seek that Dumbledore's Army play with Filch, Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad who are on their trail.

`The Kiss' hints at the trepidation of two adolescents embarking on a tender moment and the magic associated with a first kiss.

`A Journey to Hogwarts' begins with echoes of Hedwig's Theme but is darker and suggestive of the change that is sweeping over the wizarding community, the waves of doubt and the fact that Harry will not feel as at home in school as he has previously. The odd looks people have been giving him and scurrilous reports in the Prophet are getting to him. However this piece breaks into more hopeful tones, suggestive of the fact that Harry's struggle against the vicious rumours circulating about him will be successful.

`Sirius Deception' begins low and dark in tone before breaking into joyful `flight' music as the core members of Dumbledore's Army race to London to save Harry's godfather. However `Death of Sirius' follows. A sinister piece with low chanting in places, it is very atmospheric, with a feeling of great tension, building to excited and faster moving music to mirror Sirius's final duel before finishing with a slow, mournful and moving climax.

A real sense of portentous peril is to be felt in `Darkness Takes Over'. This piece highlights the insidious nature of the rise of evil and is troubling, dark and full of menace.

`The Ministry of Magic' begins rather playfully before descending into slightly darker tones - though not without some sense of hope. This hints at the Ministry's own descent into darkness and webs of intrigue, artifice and self-deception - but also that there are still those who will be working on the side of good.

`The Sacking of Trelawney' evokes great sympathy for a character who in both books and on film is mildly comic. The sense of pathos is wonderful, highlighting that this is a woman who is being removed not only from her job but also her home.

Suggestive of the excitement of flying on brooms and Harry's joy at returning to the magical world he belongs in is `Flight of the Order of the Phoenix'. Though heard towards the beginning of the film it is placed as the penultimate track on the album.

`Loved Ones and Leaving' is poignant but with hopeful tones. The music gradually rises and swells, hinting at brighter times ahead - or at least the hope that such times may come again.

Whilst it was undoubtedly a strange decision to arrange the tracks out of the order they are heard on film as it is annoying (and most people want to hear the soundtrack in the right chronological order) it doesn't take away from the overall brilliance of the score or the beauty of the composition. As I said at the opening, this is perhaps the best HP soundtrack produced so far! I love it!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2007
I listened to the CD before seeing the film and I felt that there was a lack of continuity with the music. It was not until I saw the film I realised what was wrong with the CD. All the tracks are in the wrong order!!! When I listen to a soundtrack I like it to flow with the film. This is not the case. I would like to know what posseded them to do this as it completely ruins the CD. I had to rearrange the playlist on windows media player.
The music is very good but I felt that there could have been more of a development with the themes. I especially like the Umbridge theme, it is very quaint and comical and fits the Umbridge persona.
Personally I realy liked the goblet of fire soundtrack by Patrick Doyal and was a little dissapointed the music Nicholas Hooper produced for this film. I feel it did not completely capture the darkness of the magical world.
I gave it 3 stars mainly because of the arrangment of the music on the CD but I would have given it 4 1/2 stars for the music
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on 20 August 2009
This is a wonderful score to an excellent film. At the first hearing I wasn't sure I liked it but I now believe that was because I felt very strongly about the characters in the film, Umbridge being the main character of hatred, but putting that aside this soundtrack just grows in intensity on further listening ... and have I listened to it of late! It is surely a wonderful piece of music and I would love to see it performed, perhaps as a Potter inspired night at the Proms one of these years.
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on 29 June 2012
I bought this album after the Deathly Hallow Part 2 and was much happier with it. The album has a good range of music from the film, my only criticism is that the pieces are not in order on the album so you don't feel you are progressing through it as if you are watching the film. I love the first 3 pieces especially. Overall a very good buy. Thoroughly recommended for all Potter fans.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2007
...this is an absolute rip off. Nearly thirty quid for a box with a bit of plastic on it, and a flimsy booklet that isn't even twenty pages. And not a single extra track insight. Go and buy the average, better value for money, soundtrack instead. The music is great, but there is nothing special about this whatsoever.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Nicholas Hooper has selectively combined William's classics, Doyle's dark themes and thrown in a good measure of his own creativity which takes the Potter music in a fresh new direction.

Hoopers music has a more modern feel to it (especially in "Fireworks" with the electric guitar)and generally has a very bouncy, active "magical" feel surrounding it.

Hooper has struck a balance between showing progression through the series as a whole and entering film-specific music which explores the themes of tyranny, possession and trickery.

A grand piece of work.
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on 22 April 2013
Such a beautiful soundtrack with a combination of humour and darkness. Every single track is exciting to listen to and enjoy! A must have for any Harry Potter fan!
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on 11 June 2013
Nicholas Hooper uses the John Williams themes throughout the score which is so reminiscent of the Harry Potter story, wonderful
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2007
I have also refrained from seeing the film for time being, but this CD has barely left my player. It is far more melodic than Doyle's soundtrack for number four, as his themes were never fully explored, and at the most only came twice across the CD. Don't get me wrong, I do LOVE the previous Potter soundtracks, the Prisoner of Azkaban and HP1 beating this to first place by a mile because of its atmosphere and sparkle, but I admit listening to this and thinking it extremely refreshing to hear some wonderful themes that aren't born from Hedwig's Theme or Harry's Wonderous World....
Had there been a thorough exploration of the themes, this could have been a GREAT soundtrack. As it is, it is just GOOD. Unfortunately, Hooper has the same problem with the Potter 6 soundtrack. Some very lovely tunes, but little to support them.
(If the editing works, this should be given 3 stars, not 5.)
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