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Half-Blood Prince Composer Nicholas Hooper Talks Style and Score in New Interview

HBP Film
Posted by: Edward
July 07, 2009, 10:57 PM

The Los Angeles Times Hero Complex Blog recently spoke with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince soundtrack composer Nicholas Hooper, who spoke about his role and influence in creating the music for the sixth film.  Having worked with film director David Yates on various other projects over the past nineteen years, Mr. Hooper discusses the process of putting his own stamp on the score for the latest film by saying:

"I started by listening to a lot of the John Williams score, particularly from the third movie, “Prisoner of Azkaban,” which I loved and I suppose is closest to what I was trying to do. I used some of his themes, particularly his Hedwig theme. After that, we all decided that it was best if I moved into my own way of composing rather than trying to emulate John Williams, which is impossible. I did a different kind of score for “Half-Blood Prince,” really. It was simpler, the way I write music is simpler."
Mr. Hooper goes on to talk of the kind of feeling he wanted to portray "towards the end of the film, right before Dumbledore is killed."  However, he goes to say that even though the piece "sequence was dropped from the film," he was able to use it for "it had in it the seeds of the germ of the idea that actually follows Dumbledore’s progress throughout the film and comes to quite a musical height at the point where Harry and Dumbledore travel to find Voldemort’s secret Horcrux in the cave. It’s a big moment."

The interview continues with the composer speaking more to the various themes he created for various characters in the film.  One theme being for the character of Draco Malfoy.  Quoteage:
"[The theme] follows him throughout all his visits to the room of requirements. Definitely a Malfoy theme, yeah.  It’s an odd mixture of dark and sad. Well, not sad exactly. It’s moving though. Here’s this poor boy who has been kind of pulled into this. You don’t just feel he’s really evil. So the music couldn’t be about his being evil. It’s not about that. It’s about this kid being pulled out of his depth, really."
Finally, the interview wraps up with the composer speaking of one of his favorite pieces from the film.  He says, "I think my favorite moment was Harry and Dumbledore in the cave because it’s just so big and tough. A couple of people came to listen to it when I was finished and they were in tears after they heard the recording and I thought, “Oh, that’s nice.” I feel like I moved people. I have to say the Harry and Ginny moment is another favorite... They’re in the room of requirements and they’re trying to hide something and they even come across Malfoy’s secret and they don’t know it. Then they kiss. It’s a lovely, beautiful moment in the film. It comes out of an earlier moment when Harry sees Ginny at the beginning of the film. It’s not music that reoccurs throughout the film. It’s just one special melody in the middle."

As readers will recall, a host of bonus material will be available on the CD version of the soundtrack including "a free digital download of the entire soundtrack in 5.1 Surround Sound, along with bonus exclusive content."  The Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince soundtrack will be released on July 14th and is currently available for pre-order over in our own Cauldron Shop and iTunes.

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2573 Points

Can’t wait to hear it all!

Posted by ErinM {Roar} on July 07, 2009, 11:03 PM report to moderator
3703 Points

I’m definitely looking forward to hearing the score for HBP :) I wonder if he’s coming back for DH. I do hope John Williams is though…

Posted by Christine on July 07, 2009, 11:04 PM report to moderator
182 Points

I personally like John Williams better. I thought the 3rd soundtrack was phenomenal, and he did create the now universal “Hedwig Theme” that we all know and love. After the third soundtrack I loved “Harry in the Winter” and “The Death of Cedric” in the following soundtrack, shortly only followed by one song, “Possession” in the 5th. I’ve heard all the songs in the 6th soundtrack, and I have to say, that Hopper did improve, the chorus in the music in brilliant! I have to agree with Christine though, I hope John Williams comes back for the 7th and 8th movie, just because I believe the soundtrack has to be epic, and you can always count on John Williams. Hahaha

Posted by Britski on July 07, 2009, 11:23 PM report to moderator
3048 Points

I cannot wait to hear what he created for this soundtrack in full; based on what I have heard so far, this soundtrack is going to prove emotional, moving, and powerful, a vibrant display through the power of sound of the rich array of encounters, situations, and events that unfold as the story progresses.

Posted by Kirk on July 07, 2009, 11:35 PM report to moderator
271 Points

looking forward to it. liked the one piece “Friends and Love” my mum was excited about the violins. this piece actually sounds like something i would hear at faire…light with an old soul

Posted by Amy Darlene on July 07, 2009, 11:47 PM report to moderator

please tell me john williams will return for the last movie…all the other soundtracks have been disappointing. i listened to some of those 30 second clips from the half blood prince and it didn’t sound very interesting…john williams just really knows how to capture the mood of the movies into his music.

Posted by noxiousCaitSith on July 07, 2009, 11:57 PM report to moderator
80450 Points

Sounds interesting…

Posted by Won_Two on July 08, 2009, 01:16 AM report to moderator
81 Points

I have a feeling Hooper will do a great job. The music from the trailer alone sounds epic!

Posted by ljgljhghb on July 08, 2009, 01:47 AM report to moderator

Ok, I’ve become really confused as to what date this is released. Everywhere on the internet, including this article says the 14 of July, but when I called a few CD shops they told me it was coming out this Friday, the 10 of July. This is in Australia and I can’t find anything to back this up apart from the people I called. Does anyone know the real answer? I really need to know because if it really comes out this Friday I will be so happy.

Posted by toykeeper on July 08, 2009, 01:57 AM report to moderator
130 Points

Toykeeper, that’s probably when they are coming into the shops. There is no embargo, so they can sell them as soon as they have them pretty much. :]

I personally find John Williams approaches scores a little too over the top and intrusively, rather than influencing emotions he shoves them down your throat. I preferred Order of the Phoenix, so definitely looking forwards to Half-blood Prince.

Posted by Clabwag. on July 08, 2009, 02:07 AM report to moderator
135 Points

I was wondering about the phoenix song at the end. the way jo describes it in the book is beautiful. i really hope they at least take a stab at it, john williams should have been hired just for that =D

Posted by splinch on July 08, 2009, 06:28 AM report to moderator
150 Points

I personally don’t think Williams has ever shoved musical emotions down our throats with these films. The thing that I appreciate most about him is that he always has a melody going. Hooper, on the other hand, LOVES those low rumblings and tinkly chimes, which are horribly annoying. His music has little sense of direction; it just wavers. Hooper’s scores fit the films well enough when they’re accompanied by images, but they are boring outside the film. I hate the saying that “the best scores are the ones you don’t notice”…it’s nonsense. The best are the ones you can remember when you leave the theatre.

Posted by starlesswinter on July 08, 2009, 06:49 AM report to moderator
4452 Points

cant wait 2 buy the soundtrack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! there are 13 showings of HBP on their first day in Vue cinemas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1839 Points

I am very excited about this soundtrack! Loved Mr. Hooper’s remarks about the various pieces. I’ll be buying the CD right after I see the movie! (It’s my personal policy to not purchase a soundtrack until I see the film it belongs to – weird perhaps, but it works for me!).

Posted by Lillylove on July 08, 2009, 08:53 AM report to moderator

I love the bits of the soundtrack that I’ve heard. In Noctem, particularly, is gorgeous, so I’m quite disappointed to read that the choir/montage scene was dropped from the film. Oh well, I’m sure they know better than I do about what works as far as pacing…one more week! Woo-hoo!

Posted by Mountain Violet on July 08, 2009, 11:15 AM report to moderator
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