BWW Album Review: THE MUSIC OF HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD
Excitement has enveloped the internationally acclaimed stage production, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, since its London opening in July 2016. The show is now playing on Broadway and will soon have productions opening in Melbourne, San Francisco and Hamburg - the latter marking its first non-English production.
Last month, it was announced that an album would be released showcasing the music of the show, created by the multi-award-winning British musician, composer and producer Imogen Heap, who has already earned a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Play for her work on Cursed Child.
For anyone who has been lucky enough to see the hit production, they will know just how incredible the orchestrations throughout the play are. It's so easy to get swept along with the magic of J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany's amazing original story, and the music is the glue that ties it all together.
Heap's creations are presented as four contemporary musical suites, as per the four-act show. The music runs in order from start to finish, and is packed full of magical goodness and drama in equal measure.
The music encapsulates the story as it twists and turns, and is immensely powerful in its storytelling. As opposed to being individual numbers, the 100-plus musical moments in the show have been interwoven to create a stunning suite. Whether you have seen Cursed Child or not, you will be able to appreciate the genius of Heap's work.
She sets the scene from the outset during "Platform 9 ¾" with a rhythmic train-like underscore which returns during "Anything From The Trolley, Dears?". Along with the musical orchestrations, there are also soft chanting vocals that appear in many of the tracks; no lyrics, just melodic musical notes.
There are many numbers that showcase a particular instrument or family of instruments. The piano with an electronica setting features nicely in "Welcome to Hogwarts", "Wizarding World" and "The Owlery", whereas the strings section shine during "Wand Dance" and "St Oswalds" with an almost oriental feel. The harp during "Dumbledore" is especially stunning to listen to.
There is plenty of light and shade throughout the recording, with the music very respectful to the scene action. Heap knows whether to take a back seat with musical simplicity such as during "Lily and James", or to take pride of place throughout the rich "Dragons!", or in "Dementors", which has an incredible beat.
In the spirit of the show's motto "Keep The Secrets", I don't want to give too much away. The recording can be enjoyed having seen the show or simply as a stunning piece of music. Heap has surpassed herself on this production, which will no doubt run for a very long time.