The last John Williams soundtrack that we visit for #Johnuary is Harry Potter. Williams had previously collaborated with director Chris Columbus on Home Alone and he made another great soundtrack here. Very iconic and with some unique scores compared to his past work.
Williams read J.K. Rowling’s book in preparation for this much hyped project, and he apparently enjoyed it very much. He wasn’t normally in the habit of reading extra material like that but I think because of the hype of the movie he felt that it would help him.
I’ll focus on the first movie here as it introduced a lot of the main themes. Williams also went on to score the next two Potter films. This first soundtrack was nominated for an Oscar for best score but lost to Howard Shore’s incredible Lord of the Rings soundtrack.
It’s a long soundtrack, coming in at 73 minutes. There are two main themes. ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ and a Hogwart’s theme which, are actually quite similar. Hedwig’s Theme is the main theme that is associated with the Potter films and it opens ‘Prologue’ and ‘Hedwig’s Theme’.
Here’s the Prologue.
And here’s Hedwig’s Theme.
The second theme, the Hogwart’s theme can be heard at 1:50 into ‘Journey to Hogwarts’.
The Quidditch theme or flying theme is best heard in ‘Mr Longbottom Flies’ or ‘The Quidditch Match’.
Harry also has his own theme which can be heard in various places including ‘Harry’s Wondrous World’.
Voldemort naturally also has his own theme which can be heard very subtley throughout the whole soundtrack but perhaps most obviously in ‘The Face of Voldemort’.
Here is the full Harry Potter playlist.
I think the Harry Potter soundtrack is a very good example of John Williams’ ability to create a whole new style of score for a unique film concept but also draw from his extensive back catalogue for inspiration in places too. It feels like he is a man in his element. I wouldn’t say it’s the best all round score of his but it’s solid, and soars in all the right places.