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Chamber of Secrets
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.