*Read John Williams’ biography here
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
This film, released in 2004, is the third in the Harry Potter series (following Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). The movie is based on the book of the same name by author JK Rowling and is directed by Alfonso Cuaron. The series stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in the leads with supporting roles by many well-known actors including Gary Oldman, Michael Gambon, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman.
This installment follows Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts where he is told that an escaped prisoner from Azkaban, Sirius Black, who they believe to be one of evil Lord Voldemort’s followers, is wanting to kill him.
The score was nominated for an Academy Award and a Grammy but failed to win (losing to Finding Neverland and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King respectively).
The music in this movie isn’t quite as light as the previous two, but this is also a darker movie than the earlier ones. Williams included medieval influences in the music and the lyrics of one theme, “Double Trouble” (performed by the children’s choir in the Great Hall early in the movie) , are from a ritual performed by the Weird Sisters in Act 4, Scene 1 of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
This was the third and last Harry Potter score to be composed by Williams, although many of his themes live on in the rest of the Harry Potter movies. In particular, the famous “Hedwig’s Theme” (below) which is the dominant theme of the movies and is easily identified as the main theme for Harry Potter. Even though it is called “Hedwig’s Theme” it doesn’t specifically represent Hedwig, rather the wider concept of magic and the wizarding world.
I love the Potter books and movies so this is one I have seen many times. And Hedwig’s theme is one of my top favourite of John Williams’ themes and I think he’s successfully written a theme that sounds quite magical. I also like the way the theme is tweaked slightly for each iteration (it is used in all the Harry Potter movies and the spinoff Fantastic Beasts movies).
Is Hedwig’s Theme as magical to you?