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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 18 January 2003
In the Philosopher's Stone, John Williams' main objective was to introduce the key themes for the essential characters and ideas of the film - Harry, Hedwig, Quidditch, and, of course, for Voldemort.
John Williams was clearly aware of Warner Brothers' predicted SEVEN film series: this is film two... things have moved on. As with Jurassic Park III, Williams has relinquished ultimate power over the music - in this case, William Ross has taken up the baton and also slightly adapted the music. However, with a new film, new music is required: Fawkes the Phoenix, the Chamber itself, Spiders, The Flying Car, Colin Creevey... John Williams wrote these new pieces himself.
A careful ear will be able to tell that the music, which is being reiterated from the first film, has matured and has often taken on a new 'edge'. This is for three reasons: Harry has matured, he has new dangers to face, and the music is being conducted by someone else. It adds up.
Particular mention should go to five musical ideas: the theme for Fawkes the Phoenix - this piece begins thin and slightly discordant, but develops into a rich, uplifting piece incorporating Williams' favourite tonic/supertonic key superimposion, as occurs in the main Hogwarts theme.
The Flying Car - even if you didn't know what the title was, the style implied has the images of flying sewn throughout - I get the feeling he's avoiding ET completely here (Fluffy's Harp in PS was VERY similar to some of the opening phrases of ET - although, it is his music!!).
The Spiders are light but creepy - the music differs between the small spiders and Aragog - of course!
Voldemort's theme is noticeable when he is either referred to or implied - certainly Tom Riddle's music has many Voldemort chord sequences.
Finally, the final, ending theme - this time called Reunion of Friends - has a new cheerful beginning - leading into last year's end theme - but then in a cunning twist, the ending is improved - and extended. Quite frankly, the music is the best bit about the ending... how soppy is the ending in the film!!!
You have to buy this CD - not just if you'd to compare it to the first musically, but it has its own charm - you're definitely not buying the first CD for the second time. But if you didn't enjoy the first, it's unlikely you'll enjoy this one - you mad people.
Ben Tavener
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on 14 November 2002
Wow, what more can I say? As an avid John Williams fan I am once again 'spellbound' by the maestro's ability to characterise to perfection. I reckon this album is better than the first and just as the book is darker than the Philosopher's Stone, so too is the music. Totally remeniscant of the incidental music to all the 'William's greats' such as E.T, Indiana Jones, Hook, Star Wars (Tuba solo in 'Cakes for Crabbe & Goyle - gormless or what?). With an album like this you only have to read the track listing on the back (which at 20 tracks is great value for money), and you know what the music is going to sound like and your always right! - dark, magical, playful, textured and exciting - GET THOSE HORNS!!
What was a real surprise was the compilation of new themes on the album. When watching the film it is not surprising that many of the characters are represented by themes designed in the first film so naturally one expects this album to be much the same as the first but no! New treatment of old ideas like Voldemort's 3-note motif is much heavier and colourfully scored as Tom Riddle on this album.New characters get new tunes such as the delightfully pathetic Gilderoy Lockheart.
My favourite bit is the final sequence 'Reunion of friends'which appears in both movies (extended in this picture as Hagrid returns as hero) - Brilliantly emotive scoring and fabulous playing from trumpeters Rod Franks and Maurice Murphy (remember that top Bb at the start of Star Wars?) - Mr Williams the genius!!
If you only buy one orchestral recording this year make sure you buy this one!!!
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on 2 November 2002
I heard this soundtrack on AOL's listening party, and am very impressed. I enjoyed the PS soundtrack and many of the themes reappear in this one. "Hedwig's Theme" is once again apparent throughout, which in my opinion was one of the best pieces on the first album. I have a feeling that those people who criticised Williams for lack of originality will continue to do so this time, if only because the two are quite similar. However, the music IS better - like the film it's a bit darker, a bit scarier and, if possible, sounds even more magical.
The one thing I would say is that, compared with Howard Shore's FOTR soundtrack, this still comes in second best. I don't, though, think it is particularly worthwhile to compare the two as they both have different aims and different audiences. Therefore I think that if you liked the PS soundtrack, or if you weren't sure, then it would be worthwhile buying the COS soundtrack. If you hated the first film's music, then you will almost definitely hate this too.
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on 17 November 2002
The first Harry Potter score (John Williams) was good fun, although it seemed to mix themes from Hook and Star Wars it still had it's own sound. I was really looking forward the follow up score. John Williams has proven he can write great themes and blend them in to film sequels (Star Wars we get to hear them develop (anakin's theme blends into the imperial march)But this score is a lazy copy, the same themes played louder, none of the new music stands out. This is down to the fact that John Williams was no rehired (for whatever reason) to do the score leaving it in the hands of William Ross (Who I have never heard of)
The score is good, but is too close to the orginal to get anything better than 2 stars.
This effects the film, the quiddich match which which was a strong scene in the first film thanks the music falls flat here in chamber of secrets despite improved effects.
A wasted oppertunity.
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on 18 February 2012
Very high quality reproduction of the soundtrack. Occassionally the detail gets a little bit lost but thats just me nit-picking really. Good depth to most bassier moments and high clarity for the "higher" instrumentation. Great value CD ans worth it as a classical piece on its own whether you are a Harry potter fan ( I am not ) or not.
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on 29 December 2012
Despite feeling that John Williams score for the Chamber of Secrets was overly repetitive and stuck to the previous movie material, I think it brings incredible themes to the table, such as Fawkes The Phoenix and Chamber of Secrets. Stone and Azkaban are by far, superior.
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on 5 November 2003
The soundtrack is undoubtedly to the standard of John Williams, an enchanting blend of various themes. However, though good it does not level on standard with the Philophers soundtrack.
The fact that the pieces do not play on the soundtrack in the same order as they appear in the film is an unfortunate neglection which should be considered when producing the third.
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on 24 May 2004
I really liked the additional 20 minutes of new music written for this movie along with the new themes but that's about it. Everything else was just material from the first movie rehashed by William Ross because Johh was not able to score this movie, thank god he could do the 3rd one because as a result it's a fresh new score and is "wayyy" better then this one!.
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on 11 June 2013
This piece of music is wonderfully written and transports you to the books, you can see the characters and live the story through John Williams amazing score.
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on 20 August 2014
What can I say?
If you like Potter then you'll love the soundtrack.
John Williams does the film justice.
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