I’ll be leaving shortly for a midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, but before I go I wanted to post this.
One of my favorite tracks from the CD of Alexandre Desplat’s score for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is “Ron’s Speech.” You can listen to it here:
When the “Ron and Hermione in the Chamber of Secrets” scene was leaked on YouTube, I’ll admit I couldn’t resist watching it. I noticed that “Ron’s Speech” is the basis for the musical theme which accompanies their long-awaited kiss. Listen to it at this link, but only if you want to be spoiled.
You won’t hear the complete theme, but a shorter variation of it. The tempo and rhythm have been altered, but it is definitely based on “Ron’s Speech.” Desplat does what John Williams was famous for writing in his highly-acclaimed Star Wars scores. He is using a shorter variant of a complete theme as a leitmotif. (This German musical term refers to a recurring melody, chord progression, or chord which is associated with a particular person, place, or idea in an opera, or in this case, a film score. You will encounter this term if you study the music of the German Romantic period composer Richard Wagner, who was the undisputed master of the sublime use of leitmotifs in his music dramas.) I have listened to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 soundtrack CD, and I didn’t hear many other new examples of this theme, but I will be listening for it at the cinema tonight. There is one example of it on the CD that I’ll mention later in this blog post, which was so subtle that I missed it the first time I heard it. The music for the Ron and Hermione kissing scene wasn’t on the new DH2 CD, so I am wondering what other musical surprises are in store for us tonight. If you haven’t listened to the new soundtrack CD yet, I can honestly say I was very impressed with it. Desplat does use variations of John Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme” most effectively throughout the score, as well as bringing back some of the more memorable themes he composed for DH1. Of the new melodies Desplat introduces, Lily’s Theme is one of the most haunting. Listen for it during Severus’ death scene (“Snape’s Demise” on the CD) and at other key moments in which Lily’s love plays an important role, such as during the “Resurrection Stone” scene. In this audio example, you will hear the theme introduced by a lone female vocalist, followed by a texturally fuller presentation of the theme by the string section. The female vocal rendition reminds me of plainchant, specifically the chants composed by the German saint and mystic, St. Hildegard von Bingen, a great female composer of the Medieval Period.
Listen for a pianissimo variant of “Hedwig’s Theme” and and a vocalization of “Lily’s Theme” during the track called “Snape’s Demise.”
This track is “Harry’s Sacrifice.” You will hear the “heroic” thematic material that Desplat introduced at the very beginning Deathly Hallows Part One and fragments of “Hedwig’s Theme,” which in my opinion ought to be renamed “Harry’s Theme” because that is how it has functioned throughout the entire film series. What stunned me the most about it is that during this track you hear a very subtle and sorrowful rendition of the Ron/Hermione love theme at the beginning and again, starting around 1:13. Pure genius!
Another one of my favorite tracks on the new CD is “Dragon Flight” in which you can hear a bold statement of “Hedwig’s Theme” made by the trumpet section, which is followed by a absolutely triumphal presentation of Lily’s Theme by the violins. This one gave me the chills!
I may have more to say about the score after I have seen the film. Now I’m off to the Midnight screening!