Review: The Hallé’sThe Magical Music of Harry Potter

Saturday 23rd February 2019 at Leeds Town Hall.

Ah, the swell of big, bold movie melodies, am I right? For me, the very best thing about adventure and fantasy films is the grand scores soaring above the action. Even if you’re not so sensitive to music in movies, there’s little to not enjoy about big events like this one. For The Magical Music Of Harry Potter, spirited Conductor Stephen Bell leads the stupendous Hallé in rousing renditions of arrangements from the Potter movies, which are of course based on the J.K.Rowling juggernaut series.

Sarah Day-Smith presents with great energy, giving us insights into each composer’s intentions and approaches to the music we have all come to associate with the world of Hogwarts and wizards. It’s lovely to learn little facts which make things suddenly so obvious – of course Gilderoy Lockhart’s music is a pompous number which manipulates the music so synonymous with the Harry Potter franchise: Hedwig’s Theme. 

Other highlights include the brilliant sequencing of Professor Umbridge’s jaunty sounds with the nobility of Dumbledore’s army cutting through as well as the dark glory of Obliviate and the emotive Lily’s Theme. Various other magical medleys abound and it all feels very…Hogwarts. And looking around the orchestra, the commitment to the event is evident with members dressed as Dumbledore, Lucius Malfoy, a Dementor, Professor Trelawney, a Moaning Myrtle and of course, a fair few Potters and other assorted students of magic!

The concert provides a sweeping journey across each and every Potter movie. From John Williams and Christopher Columbus’ work on The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber Of Secrets, over to Williams and Alfonso Cuaran’s work on Prisoner of Azkaban. After a short interval, we are soon back to enjoy the works of Patrick Doyle, Mike Newell, Nicholas Hooper, David Yates and Alexandre Desplat across the final four works: The Goblet Of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows.

Enjoying live music is always a worthy way to spend time, but there’s an extra special element to a concert like this, which takes one of the most influential elements of grand movies and lets those sounds ring out in all their glory – something particularly impressive in spaces like Leeds Town Hall, a venue grand enough to house such material fittingly.

The Hallé will take The Magical Music Of Harry Potter to more venues and you should catch it if you can – more information and tickets can be found here.

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