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4.6 out of 5 stars
31
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 23 August 2005
I decided to buy Prisoner Of Azkaban soundtrack over Chamber Of Secrets and Philosopher's Stone, because I was immediately impressed by the variety of themes and particularly the mediaeval quality to it.
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.
Double Trouble.
Buckbeat's Flight.
A Window To The Past.
Secrets Of The Castle.
Mischief Managed.
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.
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on 25 May 2004
John Williams has outdone himself this time. Of all the three Harry Potter movie soundtracks, I would say that the 'Prisoner of Azkaban' soundtrack is the best of the lot (while the worst is 'Chamber of Secrets'). With new cues and a new recurring theme, this album contains some of the best pieces of music in the Harry Potter trilogy. Finally, a Harry Potter soundtrack worthy of being named a John Williams masterpiece.
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 :
Whee! Jazz!
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.
Finale :
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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on 23 May 2004
I love this soundtrack.From listening to it I really got a feel for how the movie will be.The music is far better than the last two soundtracks to the other Harry Potter films and you can tell that it is more mature as well.My favourite track is 'A Window To The Past', it is beautiful and heart wrenching,it made me cry, it's a very moving piece.I also like 'Buckbeaks Flight' because it actually feels as if you are souring on the back of the hippogriff,I think it will work very well in the film.Another track I like is 'The Patronus Light', which is another moving piece and I'm also very fond of 'Double Trouble', which is very catchy.'The Knight Bus' was a wonderful surprise to listen to because it is very jazzy and will go with the scene in the film very well because it will be fast moving.
You have to buy this soundtrack because it is brilliant.It is very different to the last two Potter soundtracks and from listening to it, makes me want to see the film so much now I just can't wait.
Flutterby*
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on 3 October 2004
The score to Prisoner of Azkaban is totally different than its predecessors. It begins with a little reminder of Harry Potter with a reworking of 'Hedwig's Theme' in 'Lumos!', but any fears that this is going to be another Chamber of Secrets (ie almost nothing new, nothing inspiring, just Philospher's Stone in all but name, but still a good score nonetheless) are immediately dispelled with the next two inventive and inspiring pieces. Aunt Marge's Waltz is a delightful, humourous Rossini-esqe joy to listen too (my favourite track), and 'The Knight Bus' is a wacky jazz number that can't fail to remind me of the purple triple-decker bus careering through the streets of London.
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.
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on 29 November 2005
If you only buy one Harry Potter soundtrack, make it this one. It's in a different league to the previous two, and shows that John Williams definitely hasn't lost his touch - or his sense of humour.
There seems to be a wider variety of musical styles this time around, from dramatic to reflective to just plain fun.
My personal favourite? Aunt Marge's Waltz, of course. You've got to love that discord on the second to last note. It's almost worth buying the album for that track alone, but fortunately you don't have to - it's all good.
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on 5 November 2004
Listening to the other Harry Potters even the most die hard fans of John Williams would have noticed places where he seems to have copied entire staves from Jurrasic Park and his other works. However all of this is new, unique refreshing and fun. It seems that once he was given such an origional film to deal with he has produced his most origional and in my opinion brilliant music. Buy this album to see why John Williams is still the king of film music and still ahead of Hans Zimmer
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VINE VOICEon 21 January 2006
I'm a big fan of John Williams, less so the Harry Potter films. You don't need to know anything about HP to enjoy this, which I think is among JW's best works. Just relax and enjoy the quirky variety of instrumentation and mood. The whole thing has a Christmassy or holiday feel to it, and features maybe JW's best piece ever, A Window to the Past. Brilliant.
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on 7 May 2012
I don't want to pretend this soundtrack is perfect as a few of the later tracks on the album are just a little on the long side but, having said this, the vast majority of the music on offer here is inspired, even for John Williams!

The film marks a breakaway from the slightly wishy-washy tone of the first two and the soundtrack plays a key role in this - just listen to the track 'The Knight Bus' for an example of the new, improved Potter sound - tighter, leaner and more contemporary. 'Window to the Past', 'Buckbeak's Flight' and 'Double Trouble' are my favourites by far together with the choral music that plays during the scenes with the Patronus charm.

I have spent many happy hours listening to this soundtrack. It doesn't get old - it's my favourite of the whole lot!
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on 16 July 2011
I adore John Williams' scores for the Harry Potter films but until recently didn't own this one. I don't know how I lived so long without it - I'm not sure it quite surpasses 'Philosopher's Stone' but it's pretty close! The only piece I had in mind from the film was 'Buckbeak's Flight' but after hearing the whole album, almost all of the songs are instantly recognisable from the film, and many stick in your head (which is an effect I feel a lot of the later composers failed to have - sorry!) Among the highlights there is the haunting 'Window to the Past' and the epic finale 'Mischief Managed!'
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on 24 January 2005
This an album is amazing as it contains so many different styles (e.g. Jazz and Baroque), has used unusual instruments and he crealy hasn't been scared to be experimental and more inventive.
You can crealy tell by this music that Williams had more freedom in creating his music and you can amost tell by the music that he enjoyed composing it as much as we love istening to it.
Some of the music is this film seems to be similar to Danny Elfmans own score (he wrote music for The nightmare before christmas and Sleepy Hollow)like "Double trouble" But you also get your calming and melancholy feel as in the music "window form the past" The solo wind insrument (by the way it's a RECORDER not a flute)in "window into the past" envokes a atmosphere of magic and sadnessness. Williams has used alot of old Baroque instruments to try and capture Hogwarts magic.
Overall this a good imaginative soundtrack that has managed to capture the mysterious and magical world of Harry Potter!!!
BUY IT...NOW!!!!!!
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