To follow in the footsteps of John Williams can be no easy task since comparisons will inevitably be made. However on "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (the 4th book & film in the series) composer Patrick Doyle has stepped up to that challenge. While staying with the main established principles, he has successfully developed the story into some new directions. Though still essentially a fantasy story for children retaining the magic school setting, the films have become that little bit darker and more mature as the children have grown and progressed. Patrick Doyle retains the full symphonic scoring, with some great orchestration and solos for various sections of the orchestra maintaining the magical and fantastical texture, and heightening the emotional roller-coaster of the dramatic narrative. Doyle's music is not as obviously thematic as Williams' though there are brief references to the latter's "Hedwig's Theme", and Doyle employs a recurring rising figure which is used to make bold dramatic statements and also woven into the orchestral texture of some tracks. Some of the individual tracks take the franchise briefly in surprising directions and some seem to emphasise the British setting with a new authenticity.
Frank Dies and The Dark Mark ably set the dark tone for the rest of the film by reminding us that evil deeds are being plotted and Voldemort is still at large. Quidditch World Cup seems to bring Irish folk music and rugby chants together, and the Celtic folk connection returns with the vocal line in Underwater Secrets following a magical Tango rhythm. Rita Skeeter is one of those humorous Potter tracks which bring light relief to the main thrust of the story, which is carried by the dramatic or action-oriented tracks of The Goblet of Fire, Sirius Fire, Harry Sees Dragons and Golden Egg. There is a more extended period where the mood is more relaxed encompossing Neville's Waltz, Harry in Winter and Potter Waltz which all bring a welcome and well-crafted change of pace. The main story resumes with the increasingly intense thriller music of The Dark Lake and The Maze, with Voldemort being the longest track which rounds off the main story. The Death of Cedric and Another Year Ends brings the soundtrack to a more thoughtful conclusion, while Hogwart's Hymn retains that touch of school pomp hinted at earlier with Foreign Visitors Arrive and Hogwart's March for traditional Brass Band.
Doyle's music from this fourth Harry Potter film is well-represented on the soundtrack CD. See these links for further information: Amazon.co.uk in the UK, or Amazon.com in the US (listing only 21 tracks rather than the 24 in the UK version which includes 3 songs by Jarvis Cocker). A good collection of sheet music from the film is also available from The Music Room. See also our article about the Music of Harry Potter.