Ever since I really started to listen to film scores separate from their originating films, I've wanted to pick up one of the Harry Potter scores, but for some reason I never did. Why, I cannot say. The music has always worked well within the films: two of them have been nominated for Oscars and three of them have been scored by one of the greatest film composers to ever write a note, John Williams. Well, now I have the opportunity to give a listen to the music from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix a few days prior to the opening of the film. This is the fifth film, the fifth score album, and the third composer. After Williams scored the first three (with help from William Ross on The Chamber of Secrets), he left the franchise with Patrick Doyle taking the reigns for Goblet of Fire. Now he is gone and Nicholas Hooper has delivered a memorable score for the fifth film of the franchise.
I have never read a Harry Potter novel, and I am not a Potter-head. I also was not a big fan of the last film, but if there is one thing that has been consistent throughout the series, it is the music. Each score has perfectly captured the tone of the film. Not every movie has an appropriate score, but all who have touched the music for this series has done a great job at bringing just the right touch to the composition.
Something that I have liked about all of the music is the way that it can simultaneously evoke impending dread and magical wonder. It cannot be an easy thing to accomplish. There is a lot of darkness in the films, atmosphere of dread with evil and the unknown lurking around every corner. But that is always tempered by the wonder that comes with the idea of magic and the skills that the kids are growing. The further into the series we get, there is an increasing amount of danger closing in around our heroes. Nicholas Hooper's work continues that trend in a score that strikes me as being more straight forward than what I remember from the earlier outings, but it is nonetheless effective. Even without seeing the movie, the music has an impact and works well as a standalone album.