On September 3rd, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra gave a spectacular performance of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ In Concert in its hometown at the De Doelen.
After last year’s phenomenal success of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™ in Concert, fans were absolutely delighted to see their wizarding pupil return to Rotterdam. On screen cars fly, spiders talk, and Harry Potter discovers his ability to speak parseltongue. The music, played live by the orchestra under the direction of conductor Justin Freer, is synchronized to the movie.
Justin Freer was the principal conductor for The Lord of the Rings trilogy and is a guest conductor for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
As soon as I entered the De Doelen (a venue where I regularly attend classical concerts), the smell of popcorn reminded me of a movie theatre. What also stood out was the overwhelming number of children and young adults in attendance.
According to a Dutch newspaper, performances such as this one are one of the best ways to attract a new and younger audience to classical concert halls. This ambitious project turned out to be the absolute musical and visual experience for all ages. Everyone in attendance was awed by scenes such as the one when Harry tries to catch the golden snitch during a Quidditch game or when he fights the great Basilisk.
The movie’s score was composed by the famous American film composer, conductor, and pianist John Williams. Once you’ve listened to a lot of music by John Williams, you become familiar with his style. Harry Potter has it all: beautiful songs played by a great symphonic orchestra, powerful French horns, as well as dark, light, and fairy-like melodies.
One of the songs that stood out the most was Harry’s Wondrous World because it because it represents Harry Potter and the magical world he belongs to. There were three other songs that I particularly enjoyed. The first is Fawkes the Phoenix (Fawkes is the pet and defender of professor Dumbledore.) The melody starts off calmly and delicately, but is quickly followed by staccato notes on the violin. It has a great driving rhythm, which perfectly portrays the phoenix soaring in the sky.
The ambiance changed drastically during the Dueling the Basilisk. The soundtrack conveys the right emotion for the right scene, whether it’s the fight between Harry and the Basilik or Harry’s escape Hogwart’s caves. The percussion plays a huge role in this song. You can hear the chasing in the fast notes, played by the violins, marimba, and xylophone. There is also steady beat played by the bass drum. This momentum leads to the crucial scene when Harry plunges his sword into the Basilisk and wins the dramatic duel.
The last song, Reunion of Friends, almost brought me to tears. Harry and his best friend Ron are reunited at Hogwarts with Hermione and Hagrid. The violins play a very sweet melody that resembles John William’s Star Wars soundtrack. You can also hear hints of Harry’s Wondrous World.
I highly recommend attending this concert to any Harry Potter and music fan. I would want to thank the wonderful, hard-working orchestra for bringing to life all the emotions and magic of the Harry Potter story. I look forward to hearing more at the next Harry Potter in Concert.