Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wizard Week: Composer Alexandre Desplat Talks 'Deathly Hallows Part 2'

Recently one of my favorite Harry Potter fan sites, Mugglenet, shared an interview with Alexandre Desplat who was the composer for Deathly Hallows Part 1 and is continuing to do so for Deathly Hallows Part 2.  I’m glad he’s finishing the second half, because I thought his score was fantastic the first time around.  When asked what he thought about Part 1’s score, he said, “It was great. I think the essence of what it portrayed—the sense of loneliness and a loss of childhood—were very strong, and I think it was a great first part.”

For this next movie, he says that he will be using snippets of scores from previous Potter films as well, especially the iconic “Hedwig’s Theme” composed by John Williams in Sorcerer’s Stone.  “Now we're back in Hogwarts where the battle takes place, and all the friends are there so it made sense to have [“Hedwig’s Theme”] there.  Also, at the end of the film when we say goodbye to these three kids who are becoming adults and are looking towards a new life, the John William's theme is present.  It's one of the most wonderful themes ever written for films, so it's a delight to work with it.”

Agreed!  John Williams is a brilliant composer!  His work for the first three films was quite genius in my opinion.  But Desplat didn’t just reuse Williams’ music.  He composed quite a lot of it on his own.  His favorite piece of music for Deathly Hallows Part 2 is entitled “Lily’s Theme”—which is of course, named after Harry’s mother.  Desplat said, “Yes, I think Lily's theme, which opens the film, might be the one I like the most because it has the kindness and mysteriousness that we need to feel when the movie starts even though everything isn't explained yet about how Lily influenced Harry and other characters' destinies in the film, so it’s the theme that I think I like the most and cherish a lot.”  

So what’s the theme like?  “I think the goal was to find something as gentle, as sweet, and as kind as a lullaby with a guilty touch to it. It's a very simple melody that anyone can hum, child or adult, and we found this incredible singer, Mai, who has a very pure voice, almost like liquid gold. So it will haunt the film and Harry all along the last episode.”

He continues, “Death is very present in the Harry Potter story from the beginning because it starts with an orphan who lost his parents, and, actually, the theme of death is very present in this episode, since Lily, Harry's mother, is the lead character of this episode.  We start the film with hearing Lily's theme, which will kind of ghost the film all along and be the music thread that will take us from the beginning to the end of the film.  So that's one element of death, the people that you miss, the people that you long for, the sorrow, and the question about death and the resurrection stone and how you cope with the death of the people you love.  That's very present in the themes that are used and you see it when you see the film and hear the soundtrack that I've tried to be very sensitive and emotional on these matters.”

The soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is now on sale wherever music is sold.  Currently, Amazon is selling the MP3 download for just $6.99!

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