Music From the Harry Potter Films

Composer: John Williams and Patrick Doyle
Silva Screen
RRP: £14.99
Available 10 April 2006

Featuring music from all four Harry Potter films so far released - Philosopher's Stone, Chamber Of Secrets, Prisoner Of Azkaban and Goblet Of Fire - this compilation is performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra...

Music From the Harry Potter Films is another collection of highlights from a popular movie franchise - other collections from Silva Screen include Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, and the Carry On films.

As I've said in the past when reviewing similar collections, this is really only going to be purchased by those who have only a passing interest in movie soundtracks. Anyone who is a John Williams fan will have already purchased the full soundtracks. What this collection does is introduce some of each film's score to a wider audience. Maybe you loved all of the music to the Potter films, but can't afford to purchase all of the soundtracks - especially when you suspect that in essence they will all be fairly similar because of the subject content (you can pretty much guess that more than one track per album will be a variation of the main theme). To 99% of the population this is a valid point and for that reason alone I'd advise purchasing this collection if you just want to hear a sample of some of the best tracks in the Potter movies.

Personally, being such a John Williams fan (his music has been a part of my life since I first bought the Raiders of the Lost Ark album in the early '80s), this album would have only whetted my appetite for the full albums (if I didn't already own them).

I loved Patrick Doyle's score for Carlito's Way and was surprised when I first learned that he was going to be scoring one of the Harry Potter movies (Goblet of Fire) - I'd originally thought that John Williams would score them all. In total, seven of the fifteen tracks reproduced here are from Goblet of Fire. This is a shame because Doyle's music, as beautiful as it is, is just not a patch on Williams's work. It would have been much better if a fair representation of all the movies had been reproduced here.

The tracks to the first two Harry Potter movies I know inside out. Because of this I could spot the odd out of tune instrument here and there and slightly different timings. And, like I mentioned in my review of The Indiana Jones Trilogy, because the mix is obviously different you hear other sections of the orchestra louder than in the versions released on the original film soundtracks. This is interesting as you can appreciate some of the other instruments that you had not really heard on the original mixes.

As compilations go, this album is well above average. This is a great introduction to the Harry Potter soundtracks and, if you don't already own the originals, this is a great place to get started.

Darren Rea

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