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4.4 out of 5 stars27
4.4 out of 5 stars
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2011
I should begin by saying my expectations were not that high for DHP2 based on Desplat's efforts for DHP1. Whilst it worked well within the film, I felt the score was somewhat lacking on CD. I was therefore pleasantly surprised at the vast improvement of DHP2.

The main new theme which opens the album is Lily's Theme, which contains some haunting female vocals and sounds absolutely wonderful. This theme is reprised several times. One of the criticisms of DHP1 was that Desplat is not the best writer of action music - a point which I agree with based on his previous work for The Golden Compass, which I just didn't feel was effective. That said, in DHP2, this contains the best action writing I have heard from Desplat. Most of the action tracks sound brilliant. I particularly liked the theme in "Statues" with the orchestra, percussion and choir slowly in the first half of the track. Additionally, a lot of the less action based tracks are also of high quality and maintained my interest throughout. The only real disappointment was the rather tame finale track "A New Beginning". It is very anti-climatic, with some sombre strings and no real reference to any previous theme. It did leave me feeling slightly cold. I would have loved a great version of Hedwig's Theme to close the album, or even an end credits suite.

On a production note, Desplat always chooses to have a very dry mix with little reverb present. In my opinion, whilst this might work well in some films, the lack of reverb in DHP2 reduces the sense of scale and makes the orchestra sound smaller than it actually is. It's a shame because his writing and orchestrations are of very high quality, and a bit of reverb would actually give a sense of physical depth in the music that would push it to a new level. On a similar note, there are many tracks where a choir is present, however it is so quiet in the mix that it is barely noticeable. The whole CD seems to be fairly quiet though - you will have to turn the volume up loud to get it to a satisfactory level.

The Harry Potter film franchise has suffered from a lack of consistency in terms of composers, with each bringing their own unique musical style to the table. Apart from Williams' iconic Hedwig's theme, most of the other themes that were written by subsequent composers have fallen by the wayside. I personally think this was a shame, because there were some absolute beauties (for example "Harry In Winter" from Doyle's Goblet of Fire) that could have been incorporated into the later films. Like in the previous films, there are statements of Hedwig's theme in several tracks, however they are all "darker" variations which is fitting for the tone of the film. I have also read that Hooper's theme for Dumbledore from Half Blood Prince is present within the film and is very effective - however when I did not notice this on the CD which is unfortunate.

The CD runs in at 68 minutes, and I thought this was a decent length. As with any score release, there will always be music missing that you might have preferred, but I thought the balance of action tracks and slower emotive tracks was just right.

Overall, I think that DHP2 is a vast improvement over DHP1. Desplat's action writing has definitely improved, and the tone for the more emotional tracks is first class. I do believe that it would have benefited from having more reverb though. I genuinely think those who thought DHP1 was lacking would consider DHP2 to be a vast improvement. Whether it will be enough to satisfy the fans who loved John William's scores for the first three films is open to debate, and even Patrick Doyle's brilliant effort for Goblet of Fire. What is present in this soundtrack however, is sufficient darkness, decent action writing, and a more "magical" element that I think is fitting for the final film. I do believe the score will be more effective in the film than on CD, but that said, despite some of the flaws, it does make for great standalone listen, and those sceptical about the suitability of Desplat for DHP2 should give it a chance - I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2011
I have always envied the ability of some (though not all) composers to embody not only the feel of the script, but the textural layers of the story. Alexandre Desplat has, in my opinion, completely accomplished this. Quite simply, he has created a beautiful soundtrack which embodies all those soundtracks for Harry Potter which have gone before, and yet, if you listen to his previous soundtrack compositions, is still clearly his own.

Fundamentally, I adore it. Thank you Alexandre for making the final soundtrack of the Harry Potter films simply the best.
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on 15 September 2011
This is a disappointment, though as others have said the score for part 2 is far better than for part 1. Alexandre Desplat's cinema work has often been good, and it's usually sufficiently genre-idiomatic; e.g. the score for The Golden Compass was very different in scope from that for The Queen. OK, so he's a good, self-effacing professional film composer who usually tries to write to the drama rather than for his own (ego's) benefit. And there are many good moments in DH2, including echoes of the previous Potter composers' contributions: for example Nicholas Hooper's Gorecki-like invocations of dark mood, coupled with Desplat's more obvious melodic gift, can be really effective, and there are also echoes of Patrick Doyle's strong pulse, as well as of John Williams's clever orchestrations and melodic quirkiness. The Lily theme and its repeated use - in the Snape memory sequence and the Ressurection Stone sequence - is very effective. So why is the work for Deathly Hallows, in the end, disappointing? Chiefly because too much of it isn't like the Lily theme, but seems like reach-me-down: the slow repeated big drum strokes may raise tension, but they may also confirm that the composer can't think of something more original to do the same job. Of course film composers are pressed for time, and maybe the film-makers are to blame for working with their usual assumptions about jobbing film-music composers who can do miracles in a few weeks. Not this time - which is a shame. The final part of the adventure needed something more consistently original.
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This soundtrack is not bad - it is generally very good. BUT, like the last few by Nicholas Hooper, it just isn't quite powerful or substantial enough. The track lengths are fairly good - including a few which don't seem to have been in the movie - but it's a mixed bag and doesn't always satisfy on its own as it does on screen.

The best compliment that I can give to Alexandre Desplat is that his music in this soundtrack is better than that in Part 1. He manages to hit a few striking notes - particularly with Lily and Snape's themes and the Battle theme - but these beautiful musical moments are too few and far between.

A telling sign that Alexandre Desplat's work really isn't meaty or powerful enough for the most epic or emotional moments is the very heavy use of John Williams' compositions throughout the film - Harry's unveiling to his friends; Snape's banishment from Hogwarts; and the final shot of the trio, amongst numerous others. Of course, this is never a cause of complaint. Hedwig's Theme is used to amazing, rousing effect. Every single time it played in the film, I got goosebumps and shivers down my spine.

Nicholas Hooper's Lily theme also makes a welcome appearance in the film during Snape's memories. Oddly, this moment is missing from the 'Snape & Lily' track, as are a few of the Hedwig's Theme moments. The biggest injustice is that the entire track from the Epilogue is missing - I know it was John Williams' music from the first film but this is meant to be a soundtrack of the MOVIE and it is a glaring omission.

This soundtrack is certainly good, hence the 4 stars, but I still lament the fact that John Williams was not available to score the movie. I can only dream of what moments such as the battle, the revelation of certain deaths, Harry's reunion with his parents (which was particularly lacking any musical punch), and the finale of the movie, would have been like if he had been on board.

Even so, this soundtrack is essentially a testament to Harry Potter's story and to the contribution of every composer involved throughout the series. Alexandre Desplat can count himself among those privileged few and certainly makes a healthy contribution but it is John Williams - as with many other great movies - that we will always remember most.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2012
The last two Harry Potters were a lot different to the previous films, and hence the soundtrack is invariably different. There is nothing bad about this soundtrack, it sets the tone of the film well and is technically brilliant by Alexandre Desplat, however apart from the first track there isn't anything that really gets me excited. There isn't much connection to any previous soundtracks, and I found listening to this soundtrack that it is very listenable but doesn't quite cut it with me compared to previous Harry Potter soundtracks.
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on 24 September 2011
I had only seen the first 3 Harry Potter films before I saw Deathly Hallows Part 2, and was amazed at the intense depth of this final film. I also felt the music superbly echoed each of the rapidly changing scenes, and enjoyed it so much that I bought this CD straight away. It is brilliant and each track takes me back immediately to all the action, sadness and joy. I much prefer the quieter tunes and the run from Snape's Demise through to Harry Surrenders is a joy, along with Lily's Theme which is just not long enough. Alexandre Desplat and anyone who had input are to be sincerley congratulated on this triumph of a film score. I love it and play it very often. My only complaint is that some of the tunes are not long enough, and although the running time is given, the first and last five seconds or so are virtually inaudible, and on a very short track such as Lily's Theme, this is a precious loss. I also think Snape's character is fantastic and it was soooooooo sad when he died; the music for this was just right, as is "Severus and Lily", which was haunting. I just love this music.
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on 14 June 2015
I'd first heard the works of Alexandre Desplat when I bought the soundtrack to Twilight: New Moon so was quite interested in his music for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows films. Despite not being overly fussed on the music from the Deathly Hallows part 1, I love this film's scoring. There is a good mix of fast paced tracks and slower, more emotional songs. I originally bought this soundtrack because I was starting to collect the soundtracks and I liked the songs "Statues" and "Courtyard Apocalypse". After listening to the soundtrack, I've found that "Lily's theme", "Resurrection Stone", "Severus and Lily" and "A New Beginning" are great songs too! Granted there are a couple of tracks I'm not so keen on but that's always the way with albums and music in general!
Overall, Alexandre Desplat has done a marvellous job and I hope he continues to produce such great music.
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on 17 April 2013
Probably the Harry Potter soundtrack I find to be the least easy to listen to - although this is no reflection on the skill of the composer. Alexandre Desplat has created a powerful and effective accompaniment to the action of the film, but it is the darkest of all the films and unrelieved by the lighter touches of humour and sheer magic of some of the earlier offerings. No place here for the sparkle of Hedwig's Theme, the soaring sense of freedom in Buckbeak's Flight, the charm of the upbeat Potter Waltz or the brilliant musical comedy of Professor Umbridge or Aunt Marge's Waltz. Instead there are some powerful, dramatic and occasionally triumphant pieces - my favourites being Dragon Flight and Battlefield. The composer makes subtle use of the original Harry Potter theme. A satisfying conclusion to my Harry Potter music collection.
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on 26 September 2013
Although my favourite soundtracks will always lie with John Williams, Desplat does (mostly) a good job at matching music to scenes. The opening track 'Lily's Theme' is beautifully haunting, and 'Underworld' and 'Battlefield' show a great control over orchestration which is a fantastic companion to the onscreen action. I must also draw attention to that wonderful flute solo in 'Severus and Lily,' and the last track really does give you a sense of conclusion. However I knock off a star due to 'Statues' and 'Courtyard Apocalypse,' which stick out like a sore thumb in this soundtrack. Repeated chords with a popular feel do not do justice to the onscreen action, and it's disappointing to see Desplat temporarily losing his (usually very good) sense of creativity. Overall though, a must-have soundtrack.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2011
As a huge fan of books & films from the very beginning, I can't deny that I was sad, when this very last soundtrack was published, because it ment the end of what was a very long journey...
And this very last soundtrack doesn't disappoint. Alexandre Desplat shows us everything he can, and he can do a lot.
Main Theme of this last Harry Potter film is the haunting "Lily's Theme" introduced in the first track. A quiet piece, not really what you expect of what seems to be first of all an action packed finale. But Desplat shows us here, what the film really is all about. It is more or less the story of Snape and Lily. Of course you got the loud and bombastic pieces, but it all comes back to this very quiet theme.
It may be not the best of all 8 soundtracks (my favorite ones are still number 3 and 7.1) but it is enjoyable listening to.
Why only 4 stars?
Well, just because it is not as good as Desplats first Harry Potter Soundtrack but fits perfectly to the film and is a worthy ending for the series. If you are a fan of the film, buy it, if you are just looking for a good soundtrack without caring that much about the films, think about it.
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