“The Harry Potter score for two pianos? How cute!” This was a recurring sentence among those who showed interest in the present recording project. “Cute”, you say? Is it really the appropriate term for such music, or is it because the main actors are children and/or adolescents?
J.K. Rowling’s monumental opus magnum, written between 1999 and 2007, aims to first conquer the young audience; but instead, its screen adaptation has to be taken a lot more seriously, even if the actors are younger people, since it features a visual and therefore more tangible aspect which cannot be possibly part of a book based on the reader’s mere imagination.
John Williams’s scores for the three first episodes are based upon his usual method using leitmotivs according to the main movie characters and situations. Apart from the themes depicting people and living creatures (Hedwig, Voldemort, Dobby, Gilderoy, Fluffy, etc.), Williams added a series of side motives (the Quidditch match, the broom theme Nimbus 2000, Hogwarts’s fanfare, etc.).
These three first films, released between 2001 and 2004 (the two first ones were directed by Chris Columbus and the third one by rising star director Alfonso Cuarrón), were scored by John Williams, the most distinguished composer worldwide. Besides being the author of four Olympic hymns (Los Angeles, Seoul, Atlanta and Salt Lake City), he now own 5 Oscars (he was nominated 49 times!), 4 Golden Globes, 7 BAFTA Awards and 21 Grammy Awards. In 2000 he entered the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004, which makes him the most awarded individual in the history of the motion picture since Walt Disney.
Regarding Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, released in 2001, Williams followed his usual way by adapting the best musical elements from the original score into a 4-mouvement suite, to which this time he added a 9-piece “children’s suite” as a supplement to a ballet-like orchestral suite being performed without the visual background. This suite has a pedagogic purpose and introduces a certain number of solo instruments which are usually more rarely emphasized within the orchestral mass: the brass quintet (“Hogwarts Forever”), the bassoon (“The Sorcerer’s Stone”), the harp (“Fluffy and his Harp”), etc. Only ten out of fourteen of these little pieces are presented in this two-piano-album, since the remaining ones are only abridged versions of already preexisting orchestral sequences. Despite the suite’s aim to attract the younger audience, Williams does not hide his predilection for harmonic dissonances. “Cute” music? Hardly…
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) was also compiled into a 4-mouvement-suite for full orchestra. Themes attached to Dobby, the House Elf, and Gilderoy Lockhart, are here presented in their symphonic version, without following the chronological order of the motion picture. “Cute” music, again? Certainly not.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) features “crazy” music, a subtle mix of different styles: free jazz, classical, contemporary music, mixing ethnical instruments with the traditional orchestra and a chorus. The use of special percussion instruments (police and train whistles, toms, cow bells, congas, vibraphone, xylophone, marimba, and even a harmonium) adds to this explosive and eccentric atmosphere. >Cute< music? No way!
Lühl's CD features transciptions for two pianos taken from the three first movies. Below you can watch some of Lühl's video recordings in a chronological film order:
HARRY POTTER I
Diagon Alley (coming soon)
Harry's Wondrous World (coming soon)
HARRY POTTER II
Dolby the House Elf
Fawkes the Phoenix
Gilderoy Lockhart's Theme (coming soon)
The Chamber of Secrets (coming soon)
HARRY POTTER III
Medley for piano & flute (coming soon)