Friday, September 29, 2017 2:45pm
Fifteen years ago Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™ enchanted our screens and now it’s returning, for the first time ever, with the music of a live symphony orchestra on 4 November, 7.30pm, Adelaide Entertainment Centre Arena. Momentous scenes from the film play on a giant screen in high-definition while John Williams’s unforgettable score is performed by the ASO. Experience the magic with the first installment of the Harry Potter™ Film Concert Series.
John Williams’ score to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has cemented itself as a great icon of 21st century film music, his signature sound playing a key role in bringing J. K. Rowling’s wizarding world to life.
Here are Conductor Nicholas Buc’s “top 5 magical moments” from this wonderful score:
1. “Letters from Hogwarts”
As Harry begins to receive mysterious letters in the mail, his Uncle Vernon becomes increasingly irritated, ripping the letters up, burning them and even drilling the letterbox shut. Happily content that there is “no post on Sundays”, Vernon soon learns that his efforts are no match for a bunch of determined owls. Williams’ now famous Hedwig’s Theme, a gossamer light melody first played by celeste, accompanies the magical moment when the letters find a new way to arrive - via the chimney. Swirling strings underscore the action as hundreds upon hundreds of letters engulf the living room and hallways of the Dursley family home, the orchestra building to a glorious statement of the theme and convincing us that magic is indeed real.
2. “Platform 9 3/4 and the Hogwarts Express”
Williams underscores Harry’s first moments at King’s Cross station with bouncing horns and woodwinds, the music both comedic and whimsical as we are introduced to the Weasleys. As Harry musters up the courage to make a run at the “disappearing wall”, the music conveys trepidation, anticipation and then gathers strength with a final sigh of relief as he makes it through. The icing on the cake is the glorious reveal of the Hogwarts Express, one of the greatest moments in the score and a horn players delight.
3. “Arrival at Hogwarts”
For the first glimpse of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Williams gives us a powerful rendition of Hedwig’s Theme, this time accompanied by a wordless female chorus. The music is as dark and gothic as it is beautiful and magnificent - a perfect duality of tone that sends shivers down your spine.
4. “Quidditch Match”
This is the longest single piece of music in the film and Williams catches every twist and turn of the magical sporting event with utmost precision. The moment when Harry finally catches the snitch is about as exhilarating as anything he has ever written and has the entire audience holding their breath.
5. “Fluffy’s Harp”
This solo piece for harp is a wonderful moment in the score. It’s diegetic nature (meaning the sound appears to come from within the film) only serves to make it one of the most unique pieces composed by Williams. With its angular harmony and odd progressions, it is both quirky and beautiful, the perfect accompaniment to a magical spell that would surely send any three-headed dog to sleep.