Featuring a colorful and inspiring score by Nicholas Hooper, the soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix takes the movie-goer to the next level of magical enchantment right along with Harry and his friends.
For its fifth cinematic installment, the Harry Potter
franchise gets a new composer as England's Nicholas Hooper (a usual collaborator of new director David Yates) succeeds Patrick Doyle and John Williams. The screeching electric guitar that suddenly irrupts on the very first track, "Fireworks," lets the listener know that all is not quiet on the Hogwarts front. The kiddies are growing up, evil is spreading: which is worse?! But actually this modern sonic touch is deceiving: Hooper works within an old-school format and mostly sticks to tried-and-true effects. His score is best when it goes for tension and unease, particularly in its use of low, rumbling tones: A choir starts by humming in a menacing manner in "Dementors in the Underpass"; the sound at the beginning of "The Death of Sirius" feels as if it's being belched out from some deep, dark, scary place, creating an effective atmosphere of dread. Elsewhere, the beginning of "Possession" feels as if it belongs in a J-horror movie, and then the track becomes deceptively calm before the storm hits again. Keen listeners will recognize Williams' "Hedwig's Theme" in "Another Story," but mostly Hooper is his own man. Just like the overall series, which gets darker and darker as it goes along, this CD makes for a rather brooding listening experience--the pizzicato violins on "Umbridge Spoils a Beautiful Morning" provide one of the few jaunty touches. --Elisabeth Vincentelli