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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Vocals Performed by:
The London Voices

The London Oratory School Schola

Orchestrated by:
Conrad Pope
Eddie Karam
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Atlantic Records
(May 25th, 2004)
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Regular U.S. release.
Nominated for an Academy Award and a Grammy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you, like most film music collectors, marvel at the ingenuity with which John Williams explores each of his mind-bogglingly complex ideas for individual concepts within his fantasy scores.

Avoid it... if you are a strong believer in issues relating to the thematic continuity of any franchise, for the maestro largely tackled this score as though it were a series of self-contained vignettes with surprisingly little regard for his previous identities.
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WRITTEN 5/24/04, REVISED 8/29/11
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: (John Williams) After a year devoid of J. K. Rowling's beloved witches and wizards on the big screen, Warner Brothers provided the third installment of the Harry Potter franchise in 2004 at an uncharacteristic summertime release date. While continuing the trend of the series of (then only five) books towards a darker, more serious conflict of good versus evil, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban also introduces a great number of characters that would prove pivotal in future installments. Potter's parents and their relationships with friends and enemies in their own years at Hogwarts finally begin to take shape and help explain allegiances that will be both tested and redefined in the years to come. There have been many strong arguments stating that this third book is, despite the absence of Lord Voldemort, the most intriguing story of the series, the best integrated clash of the lighter fare of the earlier entries with the action soon to dominate the concept. Composer John Williams returned once again (along with a continuing cast and crew mourning the sad loss of actor Richard Harris) after receiving the assistance of conductor William Ross in completing the arrangements on his Chamber of Secrets score in 2002 due to the maestro's hectic schedule. For the first time in nearly a decade, Williams had taken a year off, allowing 2003 to break his vast streak of consecutive years with an Academy Award nomination. Partially because of this break, partially because of the haunting Christmas carol-like music that Williams provided for the film's trailer, and partially because of the magic that is always possible in the non-muggle world of Harry Potter, Williams' score for Prisoner of Azkaban was as highly anticipated as any in 2004. No matter your opinion of how well these scores hold up over time, there is a consensus about the generally high quality of Williams' writing, the importance of the carryover of his style, and recognition of how identifiable the composer had made his delightful plethora of themes thus far. Had he continued in the franchise past Prisoner of Azkaban, he may have had more themes on his hands for the Harry Potter universe than he created for the Star Wars one. Unfortunately, due to shifting directors in the franchise and the composer's semi-retirement in the late 2000's, and despite empty speculation about his interest in returning to score one or both of the Deathly Hallows scores, Prisoner of Azkaban turned out to be his final venture in this concept.

With so many new characters and ideas revealed in Prisoner of Azkaban, it's no surprise that three major new themes are introduced by Williams, as well as several smaller motifs that may have been given further development in future films had the composer continued in the franchise. Interestingly, not one of these themes is attached to any of the substantial new characters in this entry. Don't expect, for instance, a major showing of thematic force for Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, or even the dementors. Instead, listeners receive some colorful treatment for characters in individual scenes, as well as more nebulous, atmospheric themes that encompass the wintry atmosphere of the film as a whole. The choral Christmas song for "Double Trouble" is a great example of this flavor, as is the ethereal motif for Potter's patronus and a familial theme in the cue "A Window to the Past" that arguably serves as the primary identity for Prisoner of Azkaban. As with many Williams scores, the amount of personality injected into every specialty cue requires a track-by-track analysis of the album to get a comfortable feel for how the score will likely appeal to the listener. As such, the opening cue is really the only substantive connection to the previous scores on the album, the "A" phrase of Hedwig's theme (lacking the full statement of the "B" phrase for Hogwarts as had been heard over the titles in the previous two scores and Patrick Doyle's follow-up for Goblet of Fire) tinkering about with celesta without much fanfare. The waltz for Aunt Marge is the first of several cues that prove that Williams was still at his peak; in this cue, he provides a very classically structured piece for the pompous nature of Potter's aunt, with so much old-fashioned tempo and instrumentation as to make for pure comedy. Depending on your opinion about wild, crazy jazz, the "Knight Bus" cue could either be a guilty pleasure or a major irritation. Its zany, carnivalesque attitude is admirable, but irritating nevertheless. Both the cues "Apparition on the Train" and "Monster Books and Boggarts!" play as closely to Williams' standard horror/action underscore as possible, producing plenty of interesting dissonant tones for the dementors while not progressing the thematic direction of the franchise. The "Double Trouble" song is Williams' dark counterpart to his Home Alone carols, with McBeth-inspired lyrics and an accelerated pace tilting the song just far enough off center as to maintain the frightening realization that this Christmas season at Hogwarts is even more ominous than ones past. Its melody and Medieval tone is reprised on celesta and harp in "Secrets of the Castle" and in the fluffy, weightless cue, "Portrait Gallery."

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Average: 3.95 Stars
***** 3,753 5 Stars
**** 2,360 4 Stars
*** 1,549 3 Stars
** 583 2 Stars
* 490 1 Stars
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FVSR Reviews Harry Potter III
Brendan Cochran - March 1, 2016, at 5:23 p.m.
1 comment  (464 views)
Did you watch the film?
Vincent - June 30, 2015, at 8:32 a.m.
1 comment  (652 views)
music in maurauders map scene
nat - August 5, 2013, at 3:31 p.m.
1 comment  (787 views)
Complete Score
Drew C. - July 15, 2012, at 9:32 a.m.
1 comment  (1206 views)
The poster is within the insert is incredibly creepy.
Richard Kleiner - July 14, 2011, at 8:59 p.m.
1 comment  (1392 views)
lack of proper musical historical context outside lets these reviews down
richard knights - December 4, 2010, at 1:43 a.m.
1 comment  (1362 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 68:36
• 1. Lumos! (Hedwig's Theme) (1:38)
• 2. Aunt Marge's Waltz (2:15)
• 3. The Knight Bus (2:52)
• 4. Apparition on the Train (2:15)
• 5. Double Trouble (1:37)
• 6. Buckbeak's Flight (2:08)
• 7. A Window to the Past (3:54)
• 8. The Whomping Willow and the Snowball Fight (2:22)
• 9. Secrets of the Castle (2:32)
• 10. The Portrait Gallery (2:05)
• 11. Hagrid the Professor (1:59)
• 12. Monster Books and Boggarts! (2:26)
• 13. Quidditch, Third Year (3:47)
• 14. Lupin's Transformation and Chasing Scabbers (3:01)
• 15. The Patronus Light (1:12)
• 16. The Werewolf Scene (4:25)
• 17. Saving Buckbeak (6:39)
• 18. Forward to Time Past (2:33)
• 19. The Dementor's Converge (3:12)
• 20. Finale (3:24)
• 21. Mischief Managed! (12:10)

Notes Icon
The insert includes a note from the director about the score and film, as well as a fold-out poster. The CD is enhanced with wallpapers, a screensaver, stills from the film, a video game demo, and a Warner Brothers contest entry.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are Copyright © 2004, Atlantic Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 5/24/04 and last updated 8/29/11.
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