Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Back to the Well... Damn It...

Alas... can one be proud of the results of actions one is not proud of? I recently revisited an older mix with Sensations; that was, in fact, the third revision of an older disc called The Philosopher. Now, two previous versions of The Philosopher had been lost (although I recently recovered the older edition), so recreating that album wasn't much of a controversial move. On the other hand, not so long ago I found myself revising my Star Wars prequel trilogy mix for the second time. That last was a minor nip and tuck, using the same elements as the revised edition, but smoothing a few things out and adding a piece of unreleased music to the climax. I didn't bother making a discrete entry for that one because the new disc is for all intents and purposes the same as the old one but for a few transitions and minor editorial details.

So... earlier this week I started listening to Lumos Musica!, my Harry Potter mix, and found a few things I wanted to do with it. While my initial intention was to do pretty much the same thing that I did with the Star Wars prequel mix, I found myself going back to the original albums and making new edits of many of the tracks; this meant that I also had to re-create some of the edits I did originally as well. I found myself making a lot of changes I wasn't expecting to be making, thus calling for a new entry rather than merely revising the old one.

One of the most notable changes is that while I was careful to maintain a musical continuity on the revision, the fact of the matter is that the three soundtrack albums for The Philosopher's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban have different amounts of background noise, and many of the transitions, while smooth, were often followed by a sudden dropoff in presence or hiss (this was something that I dealt with on the Star Wars revisions as well). I found this to be a pretty easy situation to deal with once I was aware of it, but I hadn't really paid much attention to it earlier. Of course, after listening to something for a while, you start to pick up on all of the little anamolies, and this was one that irked me. I also tightened certain tracks and expanded others, and restructured it slightly, bringing it a bit closer to the 'timeline' concept of the original Potter mix I had made over two years ago, which followed the structure of a Harry Potter story, opening at Privet Drive, getting us to Hogwarts and following the school year, and then the stories climax. The revision ostensibly did this, but over time I felt that I could convey this idea better with a slight re-order, which has been done. So, to my extreme embarrassment:


Opening and the Arrival of Baby Harry (Year One) 2:21
Aunt Marge's Waltz (Year Three) 2:10
Visit to the Zoo and Letters from Hogwarts (Year One) 2:34
The Flying Car (Year Two) 1:43
Platform 9¾ and the Journey to Hogwarts (Year One) 2:20
Double Trouble and Gryffindor Tower (The Term Begins) (Year Three) 2:30
The Office of the Headmaster (Year Two) 1:32
Mr. Longbottom Flies (Year One) 2:03
Buckbeak's Flight (Year Three) 1:46
The Dueling Club (Year Two) 2:45
Secrets of the Castle (Year Three) 1:28
The Quidditch Match (Year One) 7:08
Snitches, Grims and Dementors (Year Three) 3:04
Cakes for Crabbe and Goyle (Year Two) 0:48
Christmas at Hogwarts (Year One) 0:50
The Snowball Fight (Year Three) 0:55
Follow the Spiders (Year Two) 1:00
A Window to the Past* (Year Three) 3:49
The Chamber of Secrets (Year Two) 3:45
Hagrid the Professor (Year Three) 1:55
The Mirror of Erised and a Change of Season (Year One) 2:15
The Execution and the Whomping Willow (Year Three) 2:28
The Chess Game and the Face of Voldemort (Year One) 4:29
Time and Again (Year Three) 2:29
Dueling the Basilisk (Year Two) 3:20
Expecto Patronum and Farewell (Year Three) 2:05
The Return of Fawkes and Reunion of Friends (Year Two) 4:44
Harry's Wondrous World (Year One) 5:11
Mischief Managed! (Year Three) 2:47
Hedwig's Theme (Year One) 4:57

(Year One)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
(Year Two)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
(Year Three)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Orchestrations by Eddie Karam, John Nuefeld and Conrad Pope

Featuring London Voices (Terry Edwards, director)
Celeste Solos Performed by Randy Kerber
* Recorder Solo Performed by Richard Harvey

(Year One) (Year Three) Orchestra Conducted by John Williams
(Year Two) Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra Conducted by William Ross
(Year Three) Period Instruments by the Dufay Collective

"Double Trouble"
Lyrics by William Shakespeare (from "Macbeth")
Featuring the London Sinfonietta and the London Oratory School Schola

Produced by John Williams
Engineered by Simon Rhodes at Lyndhurst Studios and Abbey Road


  1. Opening and the Arrival of Baby Harry (The Philosopher's Stone) 2:21
    Rather than open with the familiar celeste solo, I decided to begin the album with the French horn over glissandos that begins the first film. This then leads to an edit of "The Arrival of Baby Harry," an iconic moment in the film series as Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) brings the baby to Professors Dumbledore (played by Richard Harris in this and Chamber of Secrets, and Michael Gambon in the subsequent entries in the series following Harris' unfortunate death) and McGonnagal (Maggie Smith) at Privet Drive. While this is essentially the same edit of of this track that I used in the initial revised edition, I was able to get a much cleaner rip of the opening than I did for the previous disc. This means that "Hedwig's Theme" is introduced more gradually as it is in the Philosopher's Stone film score than than on the soundtrack album.

  2. Aunt Marge's Waltz (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 2:10
    This delightful track is one of the musical highlights of the third film, in which the Uncle Vernon's (Richard Griffiths) boorish sister (Pam Ferris) bloats and floats away. As Marge expands, so does the palette of the music, leading to a large orchestral climax. This cue reappears in the film and on the album at the close of the end credits.

  3. Visit to the Zoo and Letters from Hogwarts (The Philosopher's Stone) 2:34
    The bouncy secondary theme for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is heard for the first time as he inadvertently frees a python from its enclosure. This leads to a dramatic reading of the primary "Hedwig's Theme" as Harry begins to get strange letters in the post. This track, and its proximity to the beginning of the album is one of the main reasons why I didn't want to open with either the "Prologue" from Philosopher's Stone or "Lumos!" from Prisoner of Azkaban (the latter opened the original version of this mix), as it would have been an almost verbatim repetition of the thematic material.

  4. The Flying Car (The Chamber of Secrets) 1:43
    Arthur Weasley's (Mark Williams) enchanted Ford Anglia provides Harry and Ron (Rupert Grint) a method of transportation to Hogwarts when they find themselves prevented from boarding the train. The music outlines some of the problems with this prospect; the car itself is unpredictable and difficult for two twelve-year-olds to drive, especailly when attempting to outrun an oncoming train.

  5. Platform 9¾ and the Journey to Hogwarts (The Philosopher's Stone) 2:20
    Bells and woodwinds herald the track which leads to the Hogwarts Express; chimes introduce the mysterioso textures that lead to a full statement of the "Hedwig's Theme" bridge to introduce the students (and the audience) to their first sight of Hogwarts castle. A playful passage is then heard, followed by a stodgy fiddle to introduce the first years to the stern McGonnagal. This edit is very slightly expanded from what appeared on the previous revision.

  6. Double Trouble and the Term Begins (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 2:30
    William Shakespeare's witches' song from Macbeth provided the text for the mischevious primary theme Williams came up with for Prisoner of Azkaban; the vocal version - a different arrangment (with frogs) is conducted by Professor Flitwick (Warwick Davis) in the film - is followed here by a more dramatic rendition heard as the camera pulls back from Harry and his friends fooling around to reveal the Dementors on patrol about the castle. A jovial flute then follows the course of a bird as it flies about the Hogwarts school grounds. This last piece is longer than it appears in the film; it originally scored a sequence with the bird bothering Hagrid (this footage can be seen, with the music, on the deleted scenes section of the DVD).

  7. The Office of the Headmaster (The Chamber of Secrets) 1:32
    This is one of the first major changes to the structure and content of the revision. This track replaces the more formal "Fawkes, the Pheonix" (which I included on my Songs of the Heavens compilation); Harry is sent to see Dumbledore and comes across Fawkes burning up, whereupon Dumbledore explains how this Deux ex machina will come into play later in the story. This begins a short suite of "school year" tracks.

  8. Mr. Longbottom Flies (The Philosopher's Stone) 2:03
    Neville (Matthew Lewis) finds himself unable to control his broom and is brought by Madame Hooch (Zoë Wanamaker) to see Madame Pompfrey (who does not appear in Philosopher's Stone, but would be played by Gemma Jones in Chamber of Secrets) and Harry must challenge Draco (Tom Felton) for Neville's rememberall. This cue is built around the secondary Harry theme, which is most often associated with his flying and Quidditch. This is the first time that Harry ever flies, and he reveals himself to be both a natural Seeker and a person of staunch morality.

  9. Buckbeak's Flight (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 1:46
    From broomsticks to Hippogriffs; Harry's first flight on Buckbeak is scored with this gorgeous track (one of the primary inspirations for my Flight compilation). The music reflects Harry's sense of wonder and discovery (a very different moment in the film than in the book).

  10. The Dueling Club (The Chamber of Secrets) 2:45
    This piece concludes the "school year" thread. The pompous Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), who is represented by a goofy theme reminiscent of "No Ticket" from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, convenes a single meeting of a 'dueling club' and proceeds to get his ass kicked by a dour and impatient Severus Snape (Alan Rickman). The music picks up in tempo as Harry is pitted in a duel against Draco; a dark theme for low brass (similar to the "conspiracy" theme from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, composed the same year) is then heard as Harry is revealed to be a parcelmouth.

  11. Secrets of the Castle (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 1:28
    A quiet, introspective version of "Double Trouble" is heard as Dumbledore assesses the apparent break-in to Hogwarts of Sirius Black (Gary Oldman). This leads to a pretty sequence for strings, bells and woodwinds showing the arrival of autumn (the quotation of "Hedwig's Theme" heard at the end of this track is edited in the film).

  12. The Quidditch Match (The Philosopher's Stone) 7:08
    After a burst of the Hogwarts fanfare, Harry's secondary theme forms the basis for this action-packed track. Voldemort's theme also makes a brief appearance as Harry loses control of his broom. The Hogwarts fanfare returns as it is revealed that Harry has caught the snitch and won the game for Gryffindor; this segues into a theme representing Harry's acceptance that has an alternate setting that represents Harry's family (see tracks 21 and 26). One of the main reasons for returning to this project was because I really wanted to make this track in particular a bit more compact. It is iconic and exciting, to be sure, but I found that many of the constant starts and stops to be annoying, and I resolved that I wanted to tighten the track up significantly. This was a rather complicated prospect, I found, but the new version is a lot more concise. I find it strange that the manner of editing that I did with this track is in a similar style to how Williams used to edit his scores for album presentation.

  13. Snitches, Grims and Dementors (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 3:04
    In one of the busiest cues for Prisoner of Azkaban, fragments derived from "Double Trouble" boldly states danger for Harry as he finds himself after the Snitch in a harsh storm... and surrounded by hungry Dementors. There is also a quotation of the motif which represents the menacing figure of Sirius Black as Harry sees the Grim; this is the only appearance of this material on the album. This track was originally titled "Quidditch, Third Year" on the album; I retitled it because while such a monicker works on an album of a particular score, in a compilation it seems rather redundant.

  14. Cakes for Crabbe and Goyle (The Chamber of Secrets) 0:48
    The secondary Harry theme makes a return in this short but humorous cue written for the scene in which Harry and Ron hoodwink the incredibly gullible duo (Jamie Waylet and Joshua Herdman, respectively).

  15. Christmas at Hogwarts (The Philosopher's Stone) 0:50
    This is a pleasant "wintery" cue which illustrates Harry's joy at his first real Christmas. The original album had an eerie vocal bridge that I've never been fond of; this was excised from all versions of this album. This edition, however, allows the second half of the cue to play out a bit longer as a respite before...

  16. The Snowball Fight (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 0:55
    This joyful piece is heard as Harry, in his invisibility cloak, gives Draco and his lackeys a lesson in manners.

  17. Follow the Spiders (The Chamber of Secrets) 1:00
    This brief track presents the creeping music heard in the second film as Harry and Ron attempt to unravel Hagrid's cryptic instructions. The 'spider' music is a descending and forbidding figure.

  18. A Window to the Past (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 3:49
    This is one of the major themes of Prisoner of Azkaban as Harry gradually becomes more aware of who he is. It is similar to the bridge of the materia primoris from The Witches of Eastwick, and is a more mature reflection of Harry's feelings about his family than the theme heard in the first two films. Parts of this track are heard in different places in the film, mostly when Harry is discussing his family with Professor Lupin (David Thewlis).

  19. The Chamber of Secrets (The Chamber of Secrets) 3:45
    This bold and bloody track is the only "concert recording" heard in the main body of the album. It is heard in the film over the end credits, and is an arrangement of a cue heard when Harry first discovers evidence that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened.

  20. Hagrid the Professor (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 1:55
    Prisoner of Azkaban established a fresh tone with the incorporation of period Medieval instruments in the orchestration. The opening of this track is heard twice in the film, both times as Harry enters the dining hall while the body, another variation on "Double Trouble," is heard on Hagrid's first day teaching Care of Magical Creatures.

  21. The Mirror of Erised and a Change of Season (The Philosopher's Stone) 2:15
    Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised as he explores Hogwarts in his father's invisibility cloak; he sees his parents for the first time. A more emotive variation on the music for Harry's acceptance is turned into a theme for his longing for the family he has never had. The first part of the track was titled "The Library Scene" on the original album.

  22. The Execution and the Whomping Willow (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 4:51
    The revision had a track "Saving Buckbeak and Forward to Time Past," which included music from the tracks on the album with corresponding titles; I have replaced this single track with two separate ones from the climax(es) of this film that expands on that material. This piece opens with the autoharp figure that is loosely related in Prisoner of Azkaban to the Shrieking Shack (not heard on the album, but a quotation closes the film, which was my source). Tension mounts as Harry, Ron and Hermione (Emma Watson) wait apprehensively for Buckbeak's execution. This leads to the percussive "The Whomping Willow" as Harry and Hermione have to deal with the angry tree in a bid to save Ron.

  23. The Chess Game and the Face of Voldemort (The Philosopher's Stone) 4:29
    Ascending unease breaks into orchestral fireworks as Ron conducts a violent chess game with himself, Harry and Hermione as pieces. This has been on every edition of this project, although this version is tightened up a bit. On this edition, however, the track concludes with the menacing presentation of Voldemort's theme as it is revealed that Professor Quirrel (Ian Hart) is actually sharing a head with the evil wizard (voiced by Richard Bremmer).

  24. Time and Again (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 2:29
    A heavenly choir over orchestral surges and brief quotations of "A Window to the Past" in "The Dementors Converge" as an unexpected Expecto Patronum spell saves Harry and Sirius from the foul creatures (the other side of this sequence will be heard in track 26). The snarling brass heard in this track is more harmonically harsh than what is usually associated with the (usually very consonant) Harry Potter soundscape. A ticking clock marks Hermione's use of the time turner to return herself and Harry to before all of this took place; the track concludes with the two of them witnessing the event they originally took to be Buckbeak's death (the other side of this sequence was heard in track 22).

  25. Dueling the Basilisk (The Chamber of Secrets) 3:21
    Fawkes' theme is heard in several heroic settings during this frenetic action cue as Harry, now having uncovered the Chamber of Secrets and the diary of the young Tom Marvolo Riddle (Christian Coulson), must battle a giant serpent to save his life and that of Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright). Consisting of brass and furious brass and desperate choral outbursts, this was one of the cues that I had to work the hardest on replicating the edit from the revised edition.

  26. Expecto Patronum and Farewell (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 2:05
    This track was simply called "Finale" on the soundtrack album, but I went with the more descriptive - and accurate - monicker. "Expecto Patronum" is a choral drone as the "A Window to the Past" theme is heard over it; it is a more serene version of the piece heard in track 24. This is followed by a straightforward rendering of "A Window to the Past" heard as Sirius bids Harry goodbye and goes into hiding. Noticable by its absence is the reprise of the material from "Buckbeak's Flight" (track 9) that is heard in the film as Hermione and Harry ride Buckbeak to save Sirius. This is not on the album and I haven't come across any alternative sources of music for the film, otherwise I would definitely have included that.

  27. The Return of Fawkes and Reunion of Friends (The Chamber of Secrets) 4:44
    Fawkes rescues Harry and Ginny (and Ron and Lockhart) from the Chamber of Secrets (this track was part of "Fawkes is Reborn" on the original album), leading to the film's epilogue in which Hermione and Hagrid reappear and everybody save Draco is satisfied. This warm sequence is based on the music for Hogwarts/family, heard in both settings, leading to a triumphant crescendo.

  28. Harry's Wondrous World (The Philosopher's Stone) 5:11
    As with all previous versions, I put together an end title suite to close off the album. Both Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets open their closing credits with this piece, which essays the primary Hogwarts themes. There are slight differences in arrangment between the two versions, most noticably the end, which William Ross built to a bold conclusion, while Williams allows the cue to taper off. I preferred the latter because it led easily into...

  29. Mischief Managed! (The Prisoner of Azkaban) 2:46
    I sandwiched this convival orchestral arrangement of "Double Trouble" into the end credits of Philosopher's Stone for this album. This is the album version, which is slightly shorter than what appears in the film. I briefly toyed with incorporating the brief sequence cut from the album track into this one, but found that the album version made for a superior listening experience. This part of the track is the only original recordings heard in the end credits of Prisoner of Azkaban. The track opens with a presentation of the secondary theme for Harry as the Weasley twins (James and Oliver Phelps) present him with a Firebolt from Sirius; this is the only time a theme from the first two films other than "Hedwig's Theme" appears in the Prisoner of Azkaban score.

  30. Hedwig's Theme (The Philosopher's Stone) 4:57
    Talk about your regular no-brainers. This concert arrangement of the two primary Harry themes closed out Philosopher's Stone and is a common musical representation of the series as a whole ("Hedwig's Theme" is now so indelibly tied to this franchise that Patrick Doyle adapted it for use in his score for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). And while I have always on the whole enjoyed this piece, particularly in the way that it starts out so subdued and lead to a very powerful conclusion, there is one portion of it - a reprise of the primary theme bridge occuring towards the end of the track - that I've always loathed. I edited this piece out purely as a matter of taste, and I find that the piece is more enjoyable to me after having done so. After the finale, however, I included the quotation of the celeste solo that closes Prisoner of Azkaban end credits, thus ending the album with what you might have expected it to start with.

I was pretty content with the artwork that I created for the revision of this album, and so I retained it, although I did alter the front cover and the crediting very slightly. With all of the changes that I was making, I wasn't certain if I could fit everything I wanted to on the disc; I was pleasantly surprised when I found that I had just enough room for every addition I wanted to make. The test version of the album ran a whopping two seconds shorter than the previous version, but the final edit clocks in at the same length - 81:31 - as the initial Lumos Musica revision. This disc is much more linear and balanced; I built the flow of the narrative into the succession of tracks with several markers, not least of which are the season changes (tracks 11 and 21).

"Nice doggie... cute little pooch...
Maybe I've got a milk bone..."

The test version of this disc was last project I will ever compile on the old computer. A new one was ordered for me by Steve for my birthday, and I am looking forward to having a computer that doesn't crash every couple of minutes when putting together a project like this (one of the first assemblies was completely lost for reasons best known to the computer). I also found that I am almost at the limit of my available hard drive space; I couldn't keep the CD image and the .wav files* that I was using for editing and assembly at the same time. I will be taking the hard drive (which is relatively new in context of this computer and represents quite a lot of space) out of this one and putting it into the new one, copying the CD images and artwork over, then reformatting it.

* All of my mixes are kept in uncompressed format during the editorial process to maintain optimal quality. I will only use compressed sources if there is no other alternative.
Tags: film music, harry potter, john williams, my mixes
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