Music Review: Nicholas Hooper, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack"
by R.J. Carter
Published: August 1, 2007
Nicholas Hooper assumes the scoring duties for "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", the fifth installment in the film adaptations of J.K. Rowling's series of wildly successful novels. Like the various conductors who have come before him, Hooper brings his own unique vision to the musical accompaniment that bolsters the continuing saga of "The Boy Who Lived."
Unfortunately, the production of this disc doesn't do Hooper any favors. Most notably is the order of the tracks, which don't remotely resemble the chronology of the film from which they were taken. One assumes that placing "Fireworks" right up front, with it's clanging electric guitars, was done so that the listener would know right away that this was definitely not John Williams behind the baton. And while the rock sound adds to the idea of the story that Harry had reached a turbulent adolescence, the actual track occurs near the end of the film, and giving it the lead track only creates confusion.
Of course, you can't do a Harry Potter soundtrack without incorporating the recognizable Williams themes into your work somewhere, and the ubiquitously recognizable "Hedwig's Theme" does come to the fore, albeit faintly, now and again. The places where we got to hear purely Hooper's vision comes with tracks like "Professor Umbridge", which delivers a bright, cheery, lively track to counterpoint her particularly bubbly brand of malevolence. Likewise, Hooper's slow build in "Possession" precisely mirrors the intensifying of the events of the scene as Voldemort takes over Harry.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
- Professor Umbridge
- Another Story
- Dementors in the Underpass
- Dumbledore's Army
- The Hall of Prophecies
- The Room of Requirement
- The Kiss
- A Journey to Hogwarts
- The Sirius Deception
- Death of Sirius
- Umbridge Spoils a Beautiful Morning
- Darkness Takes Over
- The Ministry of Magic
- The Sacking of Trelawny
- Flight of the Order of the Phoenix
- Loved Ones and Leaving
But many of the tracks suffer from volume issues. Quite often the music becomes so soft as to be inaudible, making the listener want to check the disc to see if it had actually finished. Increasing the volume to pick up these soft refrains only results in an ear-splitting, speaker-quaking burst of music shortly thereafter.
If you're a completist collector of Potterana, then you'll be picking this album up regardless, and probably won't even break open the seal. If, however, you want to enjoy the music of Harry Potter, you may find that you're best served by returning to the first soundtrack.